Dirty & diesel: Your guide to the most popular (and dirty) runs


Related Articles

It’s mud run season! Time to test your physical and mental strength — and get dirty too. There are so many mud runs out there. How do you choose? HellaWella put together a guide to some of the most popular and dirty obstacle course races. Mark your calendars now for these exciting and outlandish events that test your mental and physical strength.

Tough Mudder

Designed by British Special Forces, the Tough Mudder claims to be the toughest event on the planet. They emphasize that the competition is about finishing and helping others finish.
Length of course: 10-12 miles
Obstacles include: Lots of mud, fire, ice water, a 12-ft. wall, and 10,000 volts of electricity
HellaWella Highlight: Free beer at the finish line!
Supported Charity: Wounded Warrior Project

Spartan Race
Created by eight ultra-endurance athletes and a Royal Marine and forged with the spirit of a Spartan, the Spartan Race is an obstacle course race. Time does matter! They offer different races based on length of course and difficulty. We recommend starting with the Spartan Sprint, working your way to the Ultra Spartan Beast and ultimately tackling the Spartan Death Race.
Length of course: Courses vary from 3.1 miles, 8+ miles and 10-12 miles. The Death Race is 48+ hours!
Obstacles include: They will not disclose specific obstacles, but a few staples include fire, mud, water, barbed wire and occasionally “Hell on Earth.”
HellaWella Highlight: You have the right to call yourself a Spartan if you finish all these races.
Supported Charity: Homes for Our Troops

The Original Mud Run

Original Mud Run got its start in 1999 by former Marines. Each event consists of a military-style obstacle course.
Length of course: There are two to choose from: 3.1 miles with 18 obstacles or 6.2 miles with 30+ obstacles.
Obstacles include: They keep a lot of obstacles secret, and the ones that aren’t have funny names like the Stairway to Heaven, Hole to Hades, Tire Mountain, Run Forest Run and Quigley (what could that be?).
HellaWella Highlight: Mysterious obstacles with interesting names keeps the suspense going from registration to finish line.
Supported Charity: Young Marines and The National MS Society

Hero Rush
Now’s your chance to be a firefighter! The Hero Rush was created by real firefighters. You’ll slide, climb, crawl, get wet, search for victims, drag and carry equipment, carry stretchers, race up stairs, fight your way through smoke and flames, etc.
Length of course: 5k-7k
Obstacles include: Ladder climbing, sliding down poles, crawling through windows, breaking down doors, going through HAZMAT slime, locating trapped victims and getting sprayed down by a fire hose
HellaWella Highlight: You get surrounded by an inferno midway through the race!
Supported Charity: National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Dirty Hog
Designed by an interesting blend of U.S. Special Forces and reality TV experts, the Dirty Hog takes a new spin on the mud run: It has a “choose your own adventure” focus. Its courses have alternate routes and rewards, which are determined by how you perform at each individual checkpoint. Each checkpoint will test your grit, will, strength and ability to work as a team with a tangible reward.
Length of course: 9-12 miles
Obstacles include: The tree chop, shoot the butcher, pig slop gauntlet and team challenges
HellaWella Highlight: For every completed test, you receive a course reward and a color-coded hog tie bracelet, which gets you special privileges or cool stuff at the after party.
Supported Charity: Operation Homefront

Warrior Dash
The Warrior Dash has three parts to it: mud, sweat and beer. The courses are rather short, so you have more face time with your beer mug. (Hey, it’s the best way to get your B12 fix after a grueling workout!) That does not mean they are easy. The Dash says its races are held on the most demanding and unique terrain from around the world.
Length of course: 5k, on average
Obstacles include: Obstacles vary by location, but most include crawling under barbed wire in mud, leaping over fire and hurling yourself over walls and hurdles.
HellaWella Highlight: Awesome Warrior prizes like a custom-engraved steel warrior helmet to the top three winners!
Supported Charity: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Merrell Down & Dirty National Mud Run
Race alongside local military personnel, public safety officers and police academy trainees in the Down & Dirty National Mud Run.
Length of course: Offers 5k and 10k courses
Obstacles include: Military-style obstacles filled with cargo climbs, wild water crossings and a whole lotta mud
HellaWella Highlight: In case the obstacles aren’t difficult enough for you, Down & Dirty features a barefoot division. You must wear barefoot shoes or run with naked feet! You must be experienced as this is dangerous for newbies.
Supported Charity: Operation Gratitude

Rugged Maniac
The Rugged Maniac is held all over the country this year. Great for a mud run newbie!
Length of course: 5k
Obstacles include: Over 20 obstacles that include 12-ft high walls, fire jumps and the staple mud crawl under barbed wire.  The terrain changes with a combination of forests, fields, motocross tracks and ski slopes for more running enjoyment.
HellaWella Highlight: You get to barrel down a 50’ water slide!
Supported Charity: The Fisher House Foundation

Muddy Buddy
We love team work. The Muddy Buddy registers you in teams of two. Choose from  the Muddy Buddy Run and the Muddy Buddy Bike & Run.
Length of course: Between 3-4 miles and 6-7 miles
Obstacles include: Over 20 obstacles that include 12-ft high walls, fire jumps and the staple mud crawl under barbed wire.  The terrain changes with a combination of forests, fields, motocross tracks and ski slopes for more running enjoyment.
HellaWella Highlight: The Frog Maze: Find your way through the foggy maze; pick the wrong way and you’ll be stuck in that maze forever!
Supported Charity: Challenged Athletes Foundation