Published DateGILFORD — The mud will be flying when Gunstock Mountain Resort hosts a Tough Mudder event this weekend. The spectacle is expected to draw 12,000 participants, according to Bill Quigley, director of marketing and sales at Gunstock, who said that several local hotels were fully booked less than six hours after the event was posted on Tough Mudder's website.
Tough Mudder is a 10 to 12-mile obstacle course challenge designed by British Special Forces to test all-around strength, stamina, camaraderie, and mental grit. Participants may don traditional running attire, but costumes and mullets are encouraged, with awards for the best of both.
Participants will charge onto the course with fellow Mudders — battle cries are essential — and will tackle between 20 and 25 obstacles, each designed to test strength in a very different way. They will brave freezing cold water, wade through thick mud, squirm through underwater tunnels, swing along high ropes and scramble through cargo nets before finally threading their way through a gauntlet of electrified wires to earn the coveted orange headband and the right to be called a Tough Mudder.
Two Britons, Will Dean and Guy Livingstone, living in New York staged the first Tough Mudder event in May, 2010 at a ski area near Allenstown, Pennsylvania, following concept Dean developed while studying at Harvard Business School. It drew 4,500 participants. Since then more than 50 events have been held in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany, drawing more than a million participants, and 53 events are scheduled this year.
"Our event promises to challenge even the toughest of men and women in New England on multiple levels," said Sheetal Aiyer, vice president of Venues at Tough Mudder. "Participants will be challenged physically and mentally, and they will need the help of one another to make it through the course. We are changing the way Americans think of endurance challenges and having a lot of fun along the way."
Tough Mudder is a proud supporter of Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and so far has raised more than $5-million to benefit returning service men and women.
"We are excited to host Tough Mudder," says Greg Goddard, the general manager of the resort. "Gunstock is a perfect venue for this type of event, and our team has developed great partnerships at the mountain working with larger events such as Soulfest™ and Timberman Ironman™. The timing of the event will provide great opportunities for local businesses after Memorial Day and just prior to BikeWeek."
Goddard said that between 16,000 and 17,000 participants and spectators are expected on Saturday and another 4,000 on Sunday. He reminded those planning to attend that because of its size, scale and scope the event encompasses the entire venue — including the parking lots — there will be no parking at Gunstock Mountain Resort during the weekend. Nor, he continued, will there be any appropriate place where spectators can be dropped off or picked up.
Instead, parking will be provided at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Route 106 in Loudon and a fleet of 150 buses will shuttle spectators and competitors to Gunstock continuously, beginning at 6 a.m., an hour before registration opens and two hours before the event starts. Parking at the speedway is free for vehicles carrying four or more people and costs $10 for all others.
Goddard emphasized that the area around Gunstock will be policed during the weekend and cautioned visitors against visitors seeking alternative routes to the venue and parking on nearby roadways. "Everyone must park at New Hampshire Motor Speedway," he repeated. "The shuttle service from the speedway is the only way for participants and spectators to enter the venue."
Those wishing to watch the event should register online at www.toughmudder.com. The cost for preregistered spectators is $20 and 40 for those registering at the venue. Admission is free for children 10 and younger.