Warrior Dash VS. Tough Mudder VS. MudManX

by Eric on July 30, 2012 · 10 comments

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What do the Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, MudManX, and SAT’s have in common?

I finished them all smiling. Here are the differences and similarities between these popular races and answers some questions that may be out there. (No SAT help will be found on this page.)

What one to tackle? What’s the difference between them? Can one handle it? How hard should one train? Is one run harder than the next? How many obstacles are expected? What are the freebies? Should the run be completed as a team or alone?

Quick overview:
Warrior Dash

Distance: 5k                     Obstacles: 10

Difficulty 1-10:6               Fun 1-10: 10

Tough Mudder

Distance: 10-12 miles   Obstacles: 20+

Difficulty: 10                     Fun: 5


Distance: 5-6 miles         Obstacles: 15-20

Difficulty: 7                        Fun: 7

Here’s my take on each of the runs.

The Warrior Dash is around three miles in distance and has roughly ten fun obstacles. This run is often held at campgrounds or paintball style locations. There are plenty of climbing obstacles, but no help needed from a friend or team.  In other words, the Warrior Dash can be completed individually.

If you can run a 5k, you can complete a Warrior Dash.   If you can run 5 miles, you can complete a Warrior Dash with ease.

Before you pack up your car, you will have your standard race tee shirt, a sweet medal, a furry horned hat, and a free beer. The Warrior Dash has the absolute best after party, with great bands, contests, food, and beer.

The Tough Mudder ranges from ten to twelve miles.   The obstacles are much tougher than the Warrior Dash, and often require some physical or mental aid. The Tough Mudder has made electrocution almost obligatory for all mud runs.   This was by far the most difficult obstacle mentally. As for the most demanding physically, there are too many to list. A team is a MUST for the Tough Mudder.  One will not survive it alone.

For this run, training is a must. Running, lifting, as well as any cross fit workouts will help you prepare, however, you may never fully be ready for a Tough Mudder.

The after party was fun, but not as action packed as the Warrior Dash. You’ll get the race tee shirt, one of a kind orange headband, medal, and free beer before you leave the premises.

The MudManX is an up and coming run. These races range between five and six miles. The obstacles are similar to the Tough Mudder, with ten foot wall climbs, what seemed to be endless hill running, and of course, electrocution. This run bases its obstacles on the four primary elements: earth, wind, fire, and water, however, there were a lot of manmade obstacles.  This run can be completed individually, but a team makes it more enjoyable.

Being able to run four miles nonstop will get you into good condition for this run. Be sure you can do some pull ups and pushups as well.

The after party was a bit lame in comparison to the other two. A free beer was earned, along with a yellow headband, and race tee shirt (no medal).

My Suggestions:

If you’re looking to run a mud run just to say you did, Warrior Dash is for you. If you REALLY want to challenge yourself, physically, and mentally to the extreme, then try a Tough Mudder. If you’re somewhere in between, MudManX is for you.  (If MudManX is not in your area, contact them. Also, many local cross-fit clubs host these types of mud runs that are similar to MudManX.)

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalie ~ This Chick Will Run August 8, 2012 at 9:33 pm

I have been toying with the idea of doing the Warrior Dash, but I just completed my first 5k this past weekend (which I didn’t do too horribly, I mean, I ran the whole way!), but I might hold off until I get much stronger with the 5k. I’m glad it ranks the highest on your list for fun!


Eric August 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Great job on completing your fist 5k. It is definitely fun and not too difficult. I highly suggest it.


Lori October 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm

A friend just asked me to join his team for a Tough Mudder next June 1. I realize it’s a little over six months away, but I too just ran my 1st 5K a couple weeks ago (time of 26:48) and am contemplating doing a Warrior Dash instead. I don’t want to embarrass myself or let his team down and by looking at the event I am in no way ready for it. Once I get the nerve up and do the WD, how much “more” effort/energy is needed for the TM? I’m just wondering how much harder I’ll have to push muself. Oh, btw, I’m 39 and just started running. My 13 yr old picked up the sport and is a natural. It has inspired me!


Neil Pipher June 6, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Last October I completed my first 5k. This past weekend I took part in Mud Hero in Ottawa which is comparable to Warrior Dash. It was an absolute blast and would suggest to anyone for their first time. I am taking on Tough Mudder In Toronto come August with as many friends as I can enlist. I can’t wait.

Not bad for a 50 year old.


Eric June 9, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Congrats on your running success! A good mud run can be loads of fun, especially with a group of friends. Good luck on the Tough Mudder in August!


Loraine Maguire July 21, 2014 at 1:56 am

I have done the Pretty Muddy (women only) and the Tough Mudder. The Tough Mudder was insane. I trained for months just to get through it. Team atmosphere is amazing and I am glad it was not for time! I would do it again if I could ensure the temp would not be so cold!!


Eric July 21, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Awesome job Loraine!


Michael November 15, 2012 at 2:01 am

The Tough Mudder is definitely much harder than the other two listed here, and I would say harder than the Spartan race. The Tough Mudder is for a group and “seriously” trained people. My wife and I have run marathons and triathlons, and think this might be fun. We also ran a Warrior Dash, and it was a ton of fun but very easy. Again, I ran a marathon a month after the Warrior Dash so I was ready for it, but the Warrior Dash is for those not in shape or just looking for a lot of fun. Never heard of the MudMan, but it’s probably fun and like the Spartan race or Mudathlon. They are all similar. I would say Warrior Dash is easiest and funnest, and you need to be able to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) to want to tackle the Tough Mudder. My wife and I are working up to a full Ironman, and see ourselves doing these mud runs as fun training runs. They are a blast! At least try the Warrior Dash just once. I think you’ll enjoy it!


Eric November 15, 2012 at 2:07 am

Thanks Michael! Great insight.

I totally agree the Warrior Dash can be most enjoyable, possibly even family friendly.

Best of luck in your training for the Ironman.


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