Monkey bars.
Monkey bars. (Courtesy of Tough Mudder)

Obstacle Racing in America, by the Numbers

Weekend gladiators are lining up in droves to risk hypothermia and electroshock in obstacle races by the millions and contributing to one of the fastest growing industries in our world

Monkey bars.

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41,000: Approximate number of people who competed in an obstacle-course event in the United States in 2009.

$1,500,000: Approximate number of people who will compete in an obstacle-course event in the United States in 2012.

$20,000: Amount Will Dean and Guy Livingstone pooled from their personal accounts to launch Tough Mudder in 2009.

$10,000,000: Investment in Spartan Race reportedly made by Boston venture-capital fund Raptor Consumer Partners in August 2012.

20,000: Number of participants at a two-day Spartan Race in November at Boston’s Fenway Park.

4: Number of pages in Tough Mudder’s liability waiver.

26: Number of participants hospitalized after a Wisconsin Tough Mudder in July 2011. (Injuries included a broken femur, a broken neck, multiple dislocations, and heat stroke.)

From our November 2012 issue: Obstacle courses are the biggest thing in adventure sports, with millions of amped-up Americans charging into the slop—and a cadre of cutthroat entrepreneurs cashing in. No one is profiting more than Tough Mudder creator Will Dean, a polished Englishman and Harvard Business School grad who will stop at nothing to sell you his brand of suffering. Read “Playing Dirty.”

From Outside Magazine, Nov 2012 Lead Photo: Courtesy of Tough Mudder

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