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The toughest obstacle challenges in the UK

The toughest obstacle challenges in the UK

We spend our lives trying to make things easier for ourselves. That’s why dishwashers were invented. It's why such a thing as a Segway even exists. But is crazier than a Segway?

Obstacle races. That’s what. 

It's Iron Man time but if straight running, swmming and cycling isn't exciting enough for you and you want to push further, higher, under and over - an obstacle race might be what you need to make your life enjoyably harder.

We’ve already taken a look at the most hardcore obstacle courses on the planet, but if you don’t want to spend a fortune just getting there, here are the top challenges in the UK:

Best for burning your money (and calories):

Tough Mudder;

X Runner;

Nuclear Races;

Spartan Races;

Total Warrior; and

MH Survival.

These are the big deal, in your face, market leaders in the field of obstacle races, all promising the biggest, baddest most intimidating obstacles: fire, ice, electric shocks, tunnels and jumps. None of them are cheap but they’re popular and promise a lot of bang for your buck. Consider them an event rather than simply a race.

Best for mud:

Bog Commander; and

Mud Runner.

Mud is where it all started. The original obstacle and a very adaptable obstacle one at that, you can wade through it, slip on it, crawl in it, you just can’t run in it. If you want mud in places you didn’t know you could get mud then try these mud-tactic races through muddy bogs, up muddy hills and in muddy rivers, streams, swamps, bogs. It will probably take longer to wash off all the mud than the actual race. 

Or try Hell Runner for a little less mud and more running but there’s still the infamous “bog of doom” to survive.

Best for surviving the zombie apocalypse:

Zombie Evacuation

Because you never know when you might need zombie evasion techniques in your skill locker.

Best if you have a death wish:

Tough Guy

What better way to impress your friends than being able to tell them you actually died competing in a race (notice I didn’t say ‘completing’).  Toughguy actually makes you sign a death-waiver. It’s one of the toughest (as the name suggests) and has been tough since 1987.

Best for Owls:

The Mighty Deer Stalker

The Mighty Deerstalker, in Scotland, an obstacle race in the dark, where things really do go bump in the night (head torch recommended).

Best for being a Hero:

The Commando Challenge

The Commando Challenge is held on the Royal Marines obstacle course in Devon. The one and only time “civvies” get to test themselves on the same obstacles as Her Majesty’s finest fighting forces.  As probably the genesis for all the crazy obstacle races out there this is truly a unique opportunity to see if you can cut it with the best.

Best if your favourite obstacles are steps:

Vertical Rush

Lots of steps. Vertical Rush has nothing but steps - 932 steps, climbing 42 floors in Tower 42 in the City of London. Just don’t look down.

Best if you have lots of friends:

The Major Series

Life is tough. Obstacle races make it tougher. If you want to redress the balance and quite probably increase the fun then get your friends involved, sign them up for a race and compete as a team for less pain but more gain.  The Major series, run by British Military Fitness encourages teamwork.

Obstacle races are a global phenomenon – there are too many to mention in one article.

For all your obstacle race needs check out these websites:

Mud and Adventure

Go Outdoors



the author

Ben Walder

Ben is a keen cyclist, road and mountain biking, runner, skier and even enjoyed a brief flirtation with boxing. He’s cycled John O Groats to Lands End, London to Paris in 24 hours, 5 countries in 3 days and ticked off some legendary climbs from the Tour de France. When he’s not dragging his mates out on cycling adventures across Europe he’s being dragged around by his 2 young daughters to karate, ballet, gymnastics, tennis and swimming..