The muddiest, toughest obstacle races in the Twin Cities

photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac

I am not what you would call a runner. The only way to convince me to get my legs moving is if I’m being chased by a bear.

It turns out, though, that there is one other way to persuade a non-runner to run: It’s if you completely distract them from the fact that they are running by hurling them into mud and making them climb over obstacles. Throw in that twist and running seems like the easy part. So for all those non-runners out there and of course, the proper runners too who love pounding the pavement, here are some of the best obstacle course races coming up in the summer months ahead. And yes, by the end of these races you will be caked with mud, though they assure me that, apparently, that’s the fun part.

The Great Amazing Race

courtesy of the Great Amazing Race

Sunday, July 8 at Kenwood Park

This obstacle race is the perfect course to ease you into the obstacle race world. Completely family friendly, this race is designed after one of my personal favorite T.V. shows The Amazing Race. In this race, teams of two compete against other teams of similar ages and abilities and race to complete both mental and physical challenges along the course. You can walk, jog, or run the course but you should be prepared to get a bit wet and muddy. The whole course should take around one hour and feel free to bring along the kiddos as the race is open for ages 4 to 84.

Rugged Maniac

photo courtesy of Rugged Maniac

Saturday, September 15 at Wild Mountain

With 25 obstacles including leaping over fire, army crawling through mud, sliding down a giant water slide, and hoisting yourself over slippery walls, you’re guaranteed to take away some amazing memories from the Rugged Maniac. This race is all about gathering a group of your craziest friends, wearing ridiculous matching outfits, and then having an unforgettable time dragging your friends through the mud. Quite literally. You have to be at least 12 years old to compete but this race is for everyone: from couch potatoes to hardcore athletes. If an obstacle looks too challenging or you’re afraid you might injure yourself, you can skip the obstacle and move on to the next. But if you want to challenge yourself, they suggest to do a bit of training beforehand so you can complete the whole course. And bring extra clean shoes and clothes or the car ride home is going to be extremely uncomfortable.

Tough Mudder

photo courtesy of Tough Mudder

Saturday, July 14 & Sunday, July 15 at Wild Wings Oneka

So you’re definitely going to want to train for this one. The Tough Mudder is well, tough. A 10 mile course with 20 obstacles that include swinging from rings 30 feet up in the air, dragging yourself through ridges of mud, carrying a huge log of lumber over walls and up hills, not to mention running through electrified cables. Sounds… fun? If you are up to the challenge I congratulate you and wish you the best of luck as I will be sitting this one out.

MudMan Race

photo courtesy of MudMan Race

Saturday, July 21 at Powder Ridge Ski Area

The Mudman Race holds two races: a 2K and a 5K mud run. Kids as young as 7 are able to race and both races welcome all abilities and skill levels. While the 2K is geared more towards the younger crowd both the 2K and 5K have fun and challenging obstacles. However, due to popular demand, the obstacles for this year’s race are being kept secret so you’ll just have to sign up to see what you’re in for. But to give you some idea, past obstacles have included an inflatable obstacle course, giant cargo net, and running through foam.

Warrior Dash

photo courtesy of Warrior Dash

Saturday, June 30 at Caribou Gun Club

With this race you will test all the elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. This 5K race has 12 challenging obstacles for you to conquer. You’ll be crawling through mud (Earth), traversing swinging platforms (Air), leaping over rows of fire (Fire), and even swimming to floating docks (Water). Just to name a few. The Warrior Dash is open to all skill levels and kids no younger than 10 years can also participate. You’re able to bypass any obstacle you feel is too difficult but I think you’ll want to challenge yourself as all these obstacles look like too much fun. Plus, at the end of the race, you can sit back and reward yourself with a complimentary beer provided for racers.

Read next: Why you should run on Summit Avenue