Challenge Yourself at an Obstacle Course Race
Test your athleticism and mental toughness while going the distance.
With all the time you spend minding your patients' well-being, it's all too easy to overlook your own condition. But how do you maintain enthusiasm for another midweek spin on the treadmill? One way is to work toward a goal, such as preparing to test your endurance on one of a burgeoning array of organized obstacle courses.
They're more varied than traditional marathons, so even nonrunners can participate. Go it alone or, even better, take on a challenge as a team with your partners. You'll encourage one another to stay in tiptop form and foster a closer sense of teamwork.
Depending on where you live and what type of challenge strikes your fancy, here are some of the most popular options:
Billed as the world's largest obstacle race series, Warrior Dash holds events year-round in dozens of U.S. states and Canada. Over a course stretching a little over 3 miles, expect to encounter boot camp-style obstacles ranging from Muddy Mayhem and Hard Rain to the Great Warrior Wall. For a more far-flung adventure, go global and sign up for an event in Europe, Asia or Australia. For more information, go to warriordash.com
Looking to push yourself to the limit? Tough Mudder calls itself "probably the toughest event on the planet." It's a 10- to 12-mile test of strength, teamwork and mental focus, designed by British Special Forces. You'll find hills, water challenges and, of course, mud. Dozens of events are held each year in the U.S. and around the world. Curious? Take the "Are You Tough Enough?" online quiz. Learn more about it at toughmudder.com
"We're here to rip you from your comfort zone," proclaims this event that channels the rugged endurance of ancient Spartan warriors. Promising "pure primitive craziness that you'll never forget," the Spartan Race offers four different levels of courses, beginning with the 3-plus-mile challenge and escalating to more extreme conditions. Events are held throughout North America and England. Visit spartanrace.com for more information.
This 5k, 20-plus-obstacle challenge combines endurance, fitness and toughness, with a fun party vibe that includes a 100-foot water slide. Celebrate your achievement in a festival-like atmosphere with live rock music, and wash away the taste of mud with tempting food and drinks. Events are held around the United States. Learn more about it at ruggedmaniac.com
Teamwork is at the heart of this "family-focused obstacle course and mud run" for participants of all ages. Organizers define family as anyone you care about, so round up your office partners and test your togetherness and endurance. Being in shape is a plus, but all skill and fitness levels may join. Events are held primarily in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. More information is available at thesurvivalrace.com
The next step is yours. Most of the obstacle events have a charitable component supporting military personnel, disease research or other causes, so you'll help shape up the world and yourself at the same time.