Tara Wetzel was crawling on her hands and knees through mud and under sprinklers when she was zapped with one electrical shock after another — up to 10,000 volts at a time.
“You learn as a kid that water and electricity don’t mix,” said Wetzel, 27, a licensed cosmetologist. “It was kind of terrifying.”
But the stinging “Electroshock Therapy” wasn’t the worst part of the 10-mile Tough Mudder obstacle course Wetzel paid $180 to experience last December on a ranch near Sarasota. No, the worst part, she said, was jumping into the “Arctic Enema,” a pool of green-colored ice water.
“They literally had an 18-wheeler there full of fresh ice,” Wetzel said.
All she got for finishing was a tacky orange headband and a beer. But, the grueling experience was so exhilarating that Wetzel was planning to do it all again — along with about 4,200 other gluttons for punishment and fitness adrenaline junkies — at South Florida’s first Tough Mudder, which is taking place this weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Tough Mudder is a leader in the growing obstacle course racing craze, spreading around the nation and the world.
“It’s probably the fastest growing outdoor sport in the country, and Florida is the epicenter due to the weather,” said Garfield Griffiths, a Fort Lauderdale-based Brit who founded Mud Mingle for singles and The Challenge, a five-mile test of brains, brawn and endurance.
Last weekend, about 10,000 participants slogged 9.3 miles of rugged terrain in mud-caked sneakers that felt more like cement blocks. They climbed towering walls, crawled under barbed wire in thick mud and negotiated some 20 other military-grade obstacles in the Florida Super Spartan at Oleta River State Park in North Miami.