Competitors of all shapes, sizes and outfits took to the fields of Hugo to participate in the Tough Mudder last weekend after the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
During the event’s fifth year in Hugo, the event drew over 7,000 participants with 5,500 participating in the Saturday heats and 1,500 competing in the Sunday heats. The course provides two options for participants with a classic 10-mile course featuring 25 unique obstacles for runners to navigate through and a condensed 5K loop with just over 3 miles of course and 13 obstacles.
This year, the Tough Mudder also featured a new kids course for ages 5 to 12 with its Mighty Mudder for ages 8 to 12, and its Mini Mudder for ages 5 to 7. This was the Tough Mudder’s fifth event in its fifth different state since the COVID-19 pandemic and staff and runners alike were excited for its return.
“It’s been nice to be back at live events for sure,” said Tough Mudder event producer A.J. Monette. “Hugo is a good partner to work with, they are always supportive of what we are doing here so it's good to work with them.”
Tough Mudder participant Russ Russell said, “It was good to do this after having a year off with COVID. It was good to get back and have things feel normal again.”
The event was run by 30 staff members and the rest of the work was filled by volunteers. The Tough Mudder gives volunteers an incentive by providing a 60% discount on sign up fees for those who volunteer a half day at the event and a full discount for those who volunteer a full day. Runners took full advantage of this opportunity providing much needed help for the event to run smoothly, and a chance to challenge themselves on the course.
“COVID made me want to do something to get back in shape,” said event volunteer Steve White, who drove from Omaha, Nebraska with his wife for the event. “I just love doing the races and I haven’t gotten muddy since I was a kid, so it’s an opportunity to get back and have some fun getting muddy.”
After two years passed since the last Tough Mudder was held in Minnesota, its return brought out the creativity and uniqueness within competitors. From homemade T-shirts to full costumes, competitors embraced their fashion choices at this year’s event. Two competitors dressed as Batman and Robin from the famous D.C. comic inspired film series and drew lots of attention on the course and in the Mudder Village.
“We like costumes, so when an opportunity presents itself we do it,” said Russell. “If you can wear a costume, why not wear a costume,” said Tough Mudder contestant and Russell’s friend Shana Lovdahl.
As contestants and spectators brought the energy and excitement to the city of Hugo, the Tough Mudder staff were focused on providing a successful and safe return for all participants in the race.
“We are just making sure that all of our participants are having a good time and that all of our partners are having a good time as well,” said Monette. “At the end of the day it’s all about getting everyone through the course successfully and safely and making sure they stick around in the village afterward and enjoy the beer, the food and the atmosphere.”