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Sweaty Betty Takes On Tough Mudder!

posted on Thursday, 19th June 2014 | find under Tamara, Nutrition
In January 2014, Sweaty Betty's PR & Marketing Executive, Katie signed up to take on Tough Mudder; a military-style obstacle course that has been dubbed 'the toughest event on the planet.' While June 15th might have seemed a lifetime away back in January, the day quickly came and went...and now she's signed up for another one.

Here, Katie talks us through her pre-Mudder training, last-minute worries and event-day experience.

Image Credit: Tough Mudder
Katie is 5'1'', so when she first announced to the Sweaty Betty office that she had signed up to a world-renowed race that involved not only running a half-marathon, but also involved tackling 25 obstacles including scaling a 13ft wall (aptly named Everest), #TeamSB well and truly got behind her.

Already a fitness-lover who runs and does yoga, Katie had been steadily tailoring her training to the Tough Mudder obstacles for the months leading up to event-day. She took her running up to 3-4 times per week, with distances ranging from 5 to 15K, and entered the Nike We Own The Night 10K in May to get into the competitive spirit.

Alongside running, Katie was going spinning and doing weekly Cardio Pilates sessions, plus the occasional TRX class. Mixing up her workouts was part of her plan for mastering the different challenges of Tough Mudder, strengthening the entire body and increasing both stamina and fitness levels so no obstacle would get the better of her.

Having put together her own interval training plan, Katie was also hitting the gym three times a week, doing sprints and recovery runs on the treadmill, plus weight training. It was her determination to master the pull-up that had become the talk of the marketing department, which Katie finally conquered about 4 weeks before the event, in preparation for Everest. 

Katie had signed up for the event in Dalkeith Manor just outside Edinburgh, and as her team arrived on Tough Mudder morning and collected their race numbers and wristbands, she was seriously questionning whether she could handle what the event had in store.

Waiting on the start line, the MC got Katie's group pumped up, getting them all to coat themselves in mud and reveal themselves as the newbies and the legionnaires (who had completed a Tough Mudder before). One man in her group had done an incredible 48 Tough Mudders - 3 of which he had completed the day before! 

Across the start line and already covered in mud, first up on the obstacle front was the 'Kiss of Mud', which involved crawling through thick mud under barbed wire. It may have only lasted around 3 minutes, but what a tough intro to the course!

The 13mile run that made up the rest of the event was broken up with obstacles and challenges such as 'Mud Mile' -  climbing through a mile of thick, heavy mud that was up to the knees – it was so thick that there was absolutely no chance of running! There was also 'Boa Constrictor' - crawling through a series of pipes that force you downhill through muddy water and then up a slippery climb the other side, plus 'Quagmire' - half a mile of clay/mud built up into 8ft hills that you had to climb up and down, and wade through chest-deep muddy water pools. And even 'Electric Eel' - using your triceps to pull yourself through the mud while dodging live wires that are hanging above you. Oh and as a warm-up to Everest, there were the 'Glory Blades' - 8ft walls tilted towards you that you have to get up and over – impossible when so tired without others helping to pull you up!

Challenging strength and agility, other obstacles included 'Island Hopping' which saw Katie jumping from one floating island to the next across muddy water, and what was Katie's toughest of the day - 'Arctic Enema'. This involved diving into a deep pool of muddy water, swimming right down to the bottom and underneath a wooden plank, and then up and out the other end. Not only was it pitch black once you were submerged, but the water was ice-cold. It was the biggest mental challenge of the day, but Katie plunged straight in, never allowing herself time to panic. Shaking from the cold, Katie was unsure whether she would be able to run again but knew it was the only way to warm up her muscles - so on she went, powering through the run and onto Everest - which, with a little help from her fellow competitors, she conquered first time!

All in all, Katie absolutely loved Tough Mudder. With her muscles shaking and twitching from exhaustion, she crossed the finish line at 3 hours 20 minutes - a whole 40 minutes faster than the time she had been aiming for. Reaching the end and being awarded the orange Tough Mudder headband - the exhilaration was second to none! 

There's no doubting it was a serious physical challenge that saw Katie seriously flagging, and then finding second wind around the 9-mile marker, but the post-event feeling was so worth it - even if she did fall asleep 2 minutes after getting in the car!

Congratulations Katie - that champagne was well-deserved.

NB: To anyone reading this thinking it sounds intense - it is! But it must truly have been more fun than it sounds as Katie has already signed up to take part in her second Tough Mudder in September!


The seamless, high-stretch All Star Run Vest allowed Katie to crawl through the mud, swim through ice-cold pools and stretch up to the top of 13ft walls with (relative) ease. The silicone gripper hem held it in place, and the mesh panels provided extra ventilation when needed. She paired this with the supportive Race Day Shorts for their anti-chafe seams and lightweight, quick-drying, sweat-wicking properties. The Victory Run Bra and Blister Resistant Socks were the finishing touches to Katie's Tough Mudder look.
Congratulations Katie!
By Georgie Little - 19th June 2014
Congratulations Katie that is such a quick time!! You have made me want to do one!
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