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Spartan Race vs. Tough Mudder: What Does Each Race Series Offer?

October 24th, 2018

American Ninja Warrior, Wipeout, TKO: Total Knock Out – all these reality television series have one thing in common: obstacle courses. One other common factor? They have nothing on Spartan or Tough Mudder racers. Contestants in either one of these obstacle-course race series are prime SEAL material because these extreme events are not for the faint of heart. They are for strong people with even stronger minds who have a will to do, overcome and achieve.

While Spartan and Tough Mudder races have quite a lot in common (like mud, insane obstacles, hard-earned pride and intense, quality fun – did we mention mud?), they also have their differences. Check out what RaceThread discovered about both:

Spartan Race

Spartan Race claims singer/songwriter Alicia Keys as a past contestant and, more importantly, a finisher. A lot of their events coincide together like a Sprint and Super with Kids’ Races, and with over 200 events around the globe, you’re sure to find one perfect for you. Obstacles with names like “Ape Hanger,” “Olympus,” and “Hercules Hoist” should give you an idea of what you’ll face.

If you’re into military-grade, pro-am challenges, you might be into Spartan’s Stadium, Mountain or Honor Series – the latter two are sponsored by the United States Air Force and USAA, respectively. Go for the gold at one of their World Championships hosted at awesome locations around the world like Iceland and Sparta, Greece (of course). Spartan also offers SGX coaching in various locales, and their site is chock-full of training tips and blogs that inform, inspire and motivate you. Here’s the gist on Spartan races:


Spartan’s Sprint races usually run between three to five miles and include 20-23 obstacles. They note these events are perfect for new runners and the not-so-new alike. Finishers get a medal, T-shirt and race photos.


Spartan’s Super races run between eight to ten miles and include 24-29 obstacles. Finishers also get a medal, T-shirt and race photos.


If the Super is like child’s play to you, then you might want to try Spartan’s Beast race. This event runs between 12-14 miles and includes 30-35 obstacles. Finishers also receive a medal, T-shirt and race photos.


Finally, if you conquer the Beast, you might be ready to tackle the Ultra. Spartan’s Ultra goes about 30 miles with over 60 obstacles. That’s no walk in the park, so for this race, finishers receive a commemorative belt buckle, T-shirt and photos.

Kids Race

Spartan pride isn’t just for grownups. Kids four to 13 years of age can get in on the action and dominate a half-mile, one mile or two-mile course. Spartan also offers free training for kids ready to race to victory.

Stadium Series

This is your opportunity to run in some of the most famous and nostalgic sports stadiums in the world. We’re talking Fenway and Busch Stadium. Spartan describes this series as a mix of “CrossFit, stair climbing and indoor track park.” This is one of three Spartan competitive challenges, and the top prize is $3,000.

Mountain Series

Spartan’s Mountain Series is presented by the United States Air Force. That should tell you something right there. This series gives you the opportunity to race in scenic natural arenas that cover a total of six mountains, over 29,000 feet of elevation and 250 obstacles. If you’re tough inside and out and love the outdoors, this might be the challenge for you. The Mountain Series awards a total of 50K in prize money to the top 10 men and women.

Honor Series

The Honor Series is presented by USAA and honors our nation’s military heroes. Races take place at military bases all around the United States and gives you a chance to do for fun what they might do for honor and duty.

Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder offers a variety of races and challenges that run from challenging to test-your-limits extreme. Like Spartan they offer two different series: The Challenge Series, which offers obstacles courses from 1K to 10K and their Race Series, which is more intense and competitive. A plus for Tough Mudder events is their Mudder Village After Parties that bring live entertainment, lawn games, local food and more – a great way to wind down after a day of testing your strength, endurance, agility and love of mud.

Complete your first Tough Mudder and you’ll be inducted into the Tough Mudder Legion. Complete World’s Toughest Mudder, and the sky’s the limit. Find a Tough Mudder Bootcamp near you to get race ready or check out their online training guides and workout videos. Need one more reason to enlist? Tough Mudder gives you the option to run for charity. Here’s a quick look at your event options:

Tough Mudder 5K

The Tough Mudder 5K is a three-mile course with 13 obstacles, including Everest 2.0 and the Block Ness Monster. One new participant raved about the on-course support and doing things she “never thought [she’d] be able to do.”

Tough Mudder Classic

The Tough Mudder Classic is new for 2019 and runs eight to ten miles with 25 obstacles – 10 are brand new. It’s another great chance to test your limits and experience the community teamwork that comes with these challenges.

Mini Mudder

Mini Mudders are for seven to 12-year-olds, at least 42 inches tall, who know how to dominate too. They might get muddy, but they’ll learn to work as a team and have the experience of a lifetime. Mini Mudders are one mile and include eight or more obstacles.

Tougher Mudder

Here’s where things get competitive. Known as the “first step in the Holy Grail,” the Tougher Mudder is an eight to 10-mile course with exclusive challenges.

Toughest Mudder

Ready for the next step in your quest? The Toughest Mudder also has exclusive challenges and obstacles and runs a full eight hours – through the night. A true test of inner strength, fitness and stamina, the Toughest Mudder qualifies participants for Contender Status at the next epic level.

World’s Toughest Mudder

If you’ve ever wondered if superheroes are real – this event might answer your question. Taking things to the stratosphere is the World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour challenge like no other. This is the last step on the quest for the Holy Grail. Overcome this, and you can do anything.

Tough Mudder X

Tough Mudder X is a thrilling one-mile challenge like no other. Elite athletes compete to see who’s the fastest, fittest and strongest, tackling obstacle courses designed to push them to their limits. A 25K grand prize for the Championship makes this Tough Mudder even sweeter.


Whether you’re just starting out in this extreme challenge arena or a pro athlete looking to expand your limits, Spartan and Tough Mudder races are geared to help you grow, achieve, build and cement a can-do, warrior spirit that will take you miles beyond just the course. Looking for an awesome team-building, team-thriving activity? Spartan and Tough Mudder have those too. Check out either one of their sites to find an event and get set for life-changing opportunities.

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