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Lovin’ the Mud Run’s

Lovin’ the Mud Run’s

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DerekMud run’s are awesome!  What’s not to like when you combine fun challenges, great people, and lots of mud into a 4-6km run?  From our previous mud runs here is a quote from “mud skipper” [AKA Kandu member Derek];

“So much mud!  What a fun time, the foam bath made me feel like a car at a car wash.  The Gladiator Training Program (GTP) at Kandu Fitness really prepared me for all the wall/rope/mud scaling and the run itself was a breeze!  So much fun!!!  Salute the Colonel [aka Coach Dave].”

This year we at Kandu Fitness plan to do at least three mud runs in 2014 (The Warrior Dash, The Gladiator Run and The Spartan Sprint).  From our past several mud runs we have an idea of what is to be expected, but here is a great article talking about the comparisons between Gladiator  and Spartan Obstacles from Kandu member Akira who is a veteran of over 25 mud runs (in 10 US states):

  • Sandbag Carry: The sand bags in Gladiator were very light, and the carry was short, over flat ground. In Spartan Races, the weights tend to be considerably heavier and must be carried 2-4 times the distance, usually up and down a steep incline.

  • Ice Bath: Gladiator uses ice to keep the water cold, and there are two obstructions requiring full submersion (they added water during our second lap – I think earlier in the day you could get under the obstructions without getting completely under). But the Gladiator version is pretty short – about 20’. The Spartan versions are usually at least 100’ and can be just about as cold depending on the time of year.

  • Wall Climbs: The Gladiator’s 8’ and 7’ walls had openings for hand and foot holds; the Spartan’s 8’, 7’, and 6’ walls do not.

  • Log Hop: The Gladiator version was considerably more difficult than the Spartan equivalent. The Spartan log hop is made with phone-pole sized posts. I think the Gladiator log hops were 4×6 beams (which is really 3.5 x 5.5 inches). The posts varied in height, were taller than in Spartan (about 3’ vs. about 2’), set fairly far apart, and some were a bit wobbly. Some posts were in a zigzag pattern requiring you to figure out how to switch feet while standing on one post. There were four lanes of various difficulty, and very few people made it across the two most difficult lanes.

  • Inclined Slippery Wall: The Gladiator version is slightly more vertical than the Spartan version. The Gladiator one was right after the mud pit, so it was very slippery (the Spartan ones often follow mud, but not always). It was a good challenge.

  • Rope Climb: The Gladiator version had relatively dry rope and is fairly short. The Spartan version is probably another 6-8 feet taller, and is always wet and muddy because the base of the rope is in a 3’ deep mud pit.

  • Monkey Bars: The Spartan version is the same for men and women. The bars vary in height, but they generally aren’t free to spin around. The Gladiator has different versions: the men do the harder one; the women are given a choice. The men’s side is considerably longer, and there is a difficult transition area in the middle that requires swinging across about a 3’ span. Also, many of the bars in the Gladiator version spin freely, requiring a lot more grip strength.

  • Trails: The Gladiator trail was over flat but uneven ground (in Arizona, the first half of the Gladiator race was hilly). There were a number of large gopher-holes waiting to snap an ankle. Spartan races tend to be very hilly, including a few very long, steep climbs per race. The Spartan trails can be muddy, rocky, and very uneven. Both kinds of terrain require focus and good ankle stability.

  • Mud: The Gladiator’s 310’ pit had a good mix of barbed wire crawling and sloshing, with a steep, slippery climb out at the end. They also had two crawls through muddy tunnels. Spartan races usually have longer barbed wire segments, and elsewhere on the course, a series of muddy moats that are a bit too wide to leap over, so you have to jump in and climb out over a steep, muddy wall – probably about as hard as the one steep climb in the Gladiator pit, but repeated 4-8 times in a race.

  • Other: Most of the other obstacles at Gladiator were fairly straight forward and not noteworthy. Spartan usually has a variety of other interesting obstacles that involve hoisting, pulling, lifting, carrying, and throwing stuff, and much stiffer penalties for failing an obstacle (30 burpees vs. 10).

  • Fun factor: Both races are tremendous fun, and can be completed and enjoyed by anybody with a sense of adventure (the folks we ran with our second time around took over 3.5 hours – there was a lot of teamwork to make sure that everybody who wanted to conquer an obstacle had a good shot at it).


The bottom line is that mud runs kick ass and everyone should do them.  We train for and participate in a number of these runs so if you enjoy this type of event as much as we do then come to Kandu Fitness and join the team!


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