Is Tough Mudder 5km A Decent Intro To OCR?

Tough Mudder 5km London East

After finishing the Tough Mudder 5km on Saturday 24th March, Alicia joked about how much real life was reflected in the event as we walked back to the station… you know, like all the obstacles in your way, how you deal with them and more importantly the support from others around you…

What Is Tough Mudder 5km?

It’s simple. 3 Miles. 10 Obstacles. All over the 5km distance. Tough Mudder describe it as:

“A new breed of fun run that turns running into a team sport. All the teamwork-focused, epic-obstacle-crammed, and muddy fun-filled awesomeness of Tough Mudderpacked into a fearless 5K distance, without the ice or electricity.”

Now, at the beginning of every Tough Mudder you all stand on the start line and recite this pledge:

Tough Mudder 5km Mudder Pledge

The Mudder Pledge

I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.

I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.

I do not whine – kids whine.

I help my fellow mudders complete the course.

I overcome all fears.

…before my wave got to the stage of pledging though, I realised how many people running with me were Tough Mudder “virgins” …and don’t get me wrong, I was one too just 6 months ago but the experience I had at the previous event blew every race I’d ever done out of the water when it comes to team work and camaraderie. But sadly, for my wave anyway, it felt like everyone made an empty pledge having forgotten their camaraderie at home. And that my friends, was the biggest lesson I learnt today:

Being in a wave full of Tough Mudder virgins is a sign that camaraderie will might be lacking.

On the final obstacle before the finish line – The Pyramid Scheme – I had to BEG people to help myself and my two (girl) friends to tackle it. Eventually, there were two stand out guys who made a real effort to help us and as many people as they could before they crossed the finish line themselves. It’s that team spirit that makes Tough Mudder the event that it is. And I have no doubts whatsoever that it’s a given when it comes to the bigger events.

On a slightly lighter note though, I learnt a few more things from “running” this event.

Two hot cross buns and a coffee isn’t enough for a pre-race breakfast.

By the time I got to the start line I was hungry again. A Trek bar (handed out at the finish line) has never tasted so good in my life. Nor has a cold cider.

When they say there will be no mud or water, that doesn’t mean you won’t get dirty.

So don’t do like me and wear your favourite long sleeved white top. I’m currently scouring the internet for methods to get mud out of clothes. I have a few I’ve been recommended so I promise if one works really well I will share with you incase you make such a stupid mistake as I did.

Because let’s be realistic here… it’s pretty much always raining. Check. And unless the event is in a car park, the floor will be made of dirt. Check. So dirt and rain naturally make mud. And Tough Mudder naturally means doing some uncomfortable things like crawling under barbed wire, which is actually one of my favourite obstacles.

Tough Mudder 5km Clean and Jerk

You might wanna take a GoPro or have a friend on the sidelines willing to take your snaps.

If you’re lucky enough to own a GoPro or to have a willing friend then do it. The 5km route is small enough for friends not to have to travel too far to catch you on most of the obstacles. Last time I took my GoPro though it was brand new so I didn’t know how to use it very well but I still managed to get some decent stills from it. I’d suggest wearing it on your head rather than your chest as there are many a time that your chest will be in, on, or under mud! Tough Mudder trialled a new system for the photos at this event whereby you wore a sticker on your chest and that sticker I presume had a code on it which should be picked up by the technology and identify you. It seems that didn’t work so well and there are plenty of people who have yet to find any photos of themselves. And the photos are a huge part of a Tough Mudder event; the events aren’t cheap so it’s nice not to have to shell out for pictures at the end. Personally, I only saw, and therefore posed for, two photographers on the whole course… maybe there were more but let’s hope they sort the photo situation out for next time.

Overall though, I had a great time at the event mostly down to the two girls, Alicia and Chi-Chi, that I got to run with. We kept each other motivated and basically put the world to rights in that short distance. We spread the love when it was needed (big up to the girls running as sumo wrestlers!) and we finished strong and happy! …having not run in as long as I can remember, I certainly felt the effects of the event for a couple of days after.

The 5km event is back in London (Clapham) in October… they have a late night version on the Friday (not for me, I wanna make sure I don’t step on worms lol) and then daytime as per usual on both days. I’m thinking this might be a fun team event for some early birthday celebrations for myself!

Have you taken on a Tough Mudder yet?! …let me know which events you’ll be at ‘cos I might see you there!

Elle 🙂



  1. Virjinia
    April 9, 2018 / 18:05

    On man, a late night Tough Mudder? That sounds slightly terrifying. Yeah I’d like to do one but I feel that I may end up in a crowd of people that’s not too willing to help. It’s been the main reason why I’ve passed on events like these. Great job for going with your girls! 🙂

    • Elle
      April 18, 2018 / 21:07

      haha! no doubt they have plenty of lights! I would be apprehensive about a late night one in the forest but I don’t think they do those lol

      I can absolutely say that the camaraderie is without a doubt there on the bigger events though so start with the half 😉 5 miles! You won’t regret it!

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