Epic Obstacles Test Strength, Grit of Tough Mudders

Ten miles of rolling hills, electric barbed wire, participants from all over the East Coast, lots of mud, and a cold beer at the finish line – now that’s a Tough Mudder.  

The green and typically manicured, Plantation Horse Fields in Chester County, PA were transformed into the muddy event over this past weekend.

While Tough Mudders take place all over the country, this is the tenth consecutive year that the Brooklyn based company has successfully put on the event in Pennsylvania. 


The entire course features a 12-mile loop, with various obstacles at every half mile point. The event is known for its unique and highly challenging obstacles, some with names like ‘Quagmire’ and ‘Electroshock Therapy.’

This year even canines got into the action. For the first time, the event featured the Ruff Mudder, an obstacle course for dogs and the Toughest Mudder, a 12-hour obstacle course that challenged daring participants to run as many five-mile laps as they could during a 12-hour period beginning at 8 pm.

Only the bravest and strongest faced the demands of the overnight challenges.  But there were re-fueling tents, and competitors could quit whenever they wanted. The three who completed the most laps within the 12-hour period won and now qualify for a national championship later in the year. 

“Philadelphia [Chester County] has always been a popular venue for us. So we’re thrilled to now offer the Toughest Mudder for the most fearless of participants,” said Tough Mudder organizer Rabia Qari.


Participants are given training schedules when they initially sign up for the event to help prepare competitors for the rigorous demands of the course. Typically, athletes compete in pre-formed teams with varying fitness levels, ages, and creative names, including the “Chester County Bandidos,” “Mud Queens,” and “Fit 4 Corona.”

Tough Mudder’s mission statement stresses the importance of mental strength, stamina, but most importantly, teamwork.

“When everyone’s out there, it doesn’t matter who’s on what team. It’s all about helping out and making sure each participant finishes the course,” Avery Walker, Plantation Field representative and past competitor, said.


Spectators less interested in the more physically strenuous events enjoyed the action-packed base area, with musical entertainment, local food trucks and individual Mudder-esque stationary obstacles.

If mud, exercise and beer interest you… start training for next year’s eleventh annual Tough Mudder at the Plantation Field Horse Trials.

Photography by Lisa Thomas, Plantation Horse Field Trials

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About the Contributor

Ashley Miller

Ashley Miller

Ashley Miller is a rising junior in the University of Vermont Honors College. She is the senior sports editor of her school newspaper, a journalist at The Hinesburg Record (Burlington, VT), and a writer for the National Hemp Association.