Tough Mudder Obstacle Race: Get Out of your Comfort Zone

Two years ago, Charis Woo, 26, completed her first Tough Mudder race together with her friends… and she found herself completely exhausted by the end of it.

An international series of endurance obstacle races, Tough Mudder events have obstacles that are designed to challenge both physical and mental strength to the limit, and at the same time to encourage teamwork and camaraderie. The standard race is 10 to 12 miles (18 to 20km) long, with about 20 to 25 obstacles standing between the starting and the finishing line.

Tough Mudder Obstacle Races are different to anything else you may have experienced. [Photo from]

Tough Mudder Obstacle Races are different to anything else you may have experienced.
[Photo from]

Said Woo, a School Co-Curricular Activities Executive, “This had been my first time doing such a race. My toenail came off after the first 5km and I was totally exhausted when I finished, mainly because I do not do long running. But my friends and I worked as a team and together we managed to finish the race.”

The Mad Dudes is a platform for endurance lovers and adrenaline junkies

But even though she was tired, Woo found herself completely hooked onto Tough Mudder – to the extent that she is now a volunteer with The Mad Dudes, also known as TMDSports, a platform for endurance lovers and adrenaline junkies to discover new, exhilarating and challenging sports experiences that are different to the run-of-the-mill sporting events in Singapore.

Woo explained, “In Singapore there are many marathons and road races, but not many obstacle challenges. I like the teamwork and the obstacles at Tough Mudder events. Also, during such overseas races (at Tough Mudder events), there is plenty of land, so you get to sightsee and run at the same time in between obstacles.”

She added, “Obstacles such as flying in the air or jumping off a diving bag, are also quite new to Singaporeans.”

Local running race are very mainstream

TMDSports was co-founded by fellow adrenaline junkie Kelvyn Choo, 32, and his friend Addy Ong.

TMDSports feel that local running races are too mainstream. [Photo from]

TMDSports feel that local running races are too mainstream.
[Photo from]

Said Choo, “We feel that local road running races and other sports events here in Singapore are starting to become very normal. So we wanted something that challenges the mind and body and pushes a lot of boundaries. Tough Mudder is something that we have done before, and we feel that it ticks all the boxes. So we want to bring the Tough Mudder culture to Singapore and hopefully more people will be able to experience it for themselves.”

Why partner with Tough Mudder? Explained Choo, “Tough Mudder puts camaraderie together in a challenging obstacle race environment. Other races also have weights and you have to carry and drag things, but in Tough Mudder you have to drag yourself on the ground a lot – a lot of races don’t normally have this and we feel that it is more challenging.”

He added, “The race also takes place in winter so you have to battle the cold – that makes it into a very mental thing. The route involves many elements of personal fears too, such as heights, underwater, claustrophobia and electric wires – which many other obstacle races do not have.”

But the main difference between Tough Mudder and many other obstacle races though, according to Choo, is that Tough Mudder is un-timed. As such, strangers tend to help each other to complete the obstacles and hope to get as many people through the course as possible.

Choo explained, “That’s because people in this event do not care about time. They just want to help as many people as possible finish the race. Other races are timed, so people want to get through the course as fast as possible. So this race feels very heartwarming and you can really sense the family spirit amongst like-minded people.”

Eventual goal to Represent Singapore at the World’s Tough Mudder Event

TMDSports wants to bring the Tough Mudder experience to Singaporeans. [Photo from]

TMDSports wants to bring the Tough Mudder experience to Singaporeans.
[Photo from]

TMDSports’s ultimate goal is to work together as a Singapore team and represent Singapore at the World’s Toughest Mudder Event, an extreme 24-Hour obstacle challenge.

In this exceptional race, participants and teams compete against each other to complete as many 5 mile course laps as possible, within a time frame of 24 Hours, and the individuals and teams who complete the most, will be declared as the overall champions and win attractive prize money. This is open to obstacle course junkies of all ages and abilities.

But first though, they hope to bring Singaporeans to experience the Tough Mudder events in Australia – beginning with a race in Brisbane, Australia, in early May this year. They hope to attract about 200 Singaporeans altogether as a way of spreading the word, to the obstacle course lovers in Singapore. And in order to do this, TMDSports is offering attractive travel packages for the race to all Singapore residents, with accommodation and airfare thrown in as well.

The race location, according to TMDSports, is at an award-winning winery – so participants will get to see the beautiful vines in between the obstacles.

Said Choo, “We want the world commit to know that Singapore is serious about this sport. No other community in the world has done that and we want to be the headquarters for the Tough Mudder races to come to Singapore as well.”

Media launch event for TMDSports and Tough Mudder

I had interviewed Choo at a media launch event last evening at the Capitol Piazza, where there had been a short presentation and video about what Tough Mudder is all about.

At the launch event – organised by TMDSports – there was also a challenge, which had been taken on by five members of the audience. They had to complete as many pushups, jump squats and v-sits as possible within a time frame of 10 minutes.

A brave volunteer struggles with the V-Sits at the Media Launch Event yesterday.

A brave volunteer struggles with the V-Sits at the Challenge during the Media Launch Event yesterday.

Woo had been one of the participants. She said, “I would rate the exercises about 6 or 7 out of 10 in terms of difficulty. I wanted to give up in the final two minutes when I really felt my muscles burning!”

Mini media activity was a sneak peek into the 4K Challenge

The mini challenge at the media event was a short preview into what the 4K challenge is about – this is one of the training challenges organised by TMDSports to prepare participants for Tough Mudder and give them an insight into what is required for the race.

Organised by TMDSports, the 4K Challenge, taking place on 21 February, requires teams of 4 participants to cumulatively complete 4,000 reps of four exercises – chin-ups, pushups, jump squats and v-sits, within a time frame of only 40 minutes.

Participants doing the scaled-down “4K Challenge” at the Media Launch Event yesterday.

Said Choo, “Doing a pushup or pull-up is easy but how fast you do it or how much you can do is very difficult. So that is what we are trying to do – push people as hard as possible and get them to push past their own limitations.”

TMDSports Boot Camps

At the same time, TMDSports is also organising boot camps to help the prospective participants prepare for Tough Mudder. Taking place every Sunday starting 28 February, these boot camps are designed in collaboration with Virgin Active Singapore and will prepare participants for Tough Mudder, both mentally and physically.

Said Choo, “The boot camps will be tough. But we will cater to everyone who wants to come – it is about how much you can do together and how everyone works together to complete the exercises rather than how many you can do on your own. You can expect to go home limping but making new friends along the way.”

No amount of physical preparations can prepare you fully

No amount of physical preparation can truly prepare you for a Tough Mudder event. [Photo from]

No amount of physical preparation can truly prepare you for a Tough Mudder event.
[Photo from]

But ultimately though, no amount of physical preparations will truly prepare you 100 per cent for a Tough Mudder race. Choo explained, “Doing consistent training and watching the videos will get you only so far by yourself.”

He added, “What we really want, is to have more people who have done crazy stuff before – especially those who have previously done Tough Mudder races – to come to us so that we have a pool of people who can support each other and look out for one another. That is because the camaraderie aspect is the most valuable thing about Tough Mudder events. So spend more time with us!”

You can find out more about TMDSports or register for the 4K Challenge, the bootcamps or the Tough Mudder race package in Brisbane, at

Want to save money? You are in luck! is offering attractive discounts to those who sign up using the promo code TMDXPRISC.

If you key in the promo code, you will be eligible for a $40 discount off the 4K Challenge entry fee and $100 off the Tough Mudder Australia package price. This code is valid until 6 February.

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