As one contestant said as he walked toward the start line, Tough Mudder is like “a big playground for adults.”
The sold-out Tough Mudder SoCal race at Vail Lake Resort in Temecula opened Saturday and continues today.
Thousands by the carloads funneled down Highway 79 for an 11-mile, multi-obstacle challenge course that both pushes contestants and brings them closer together.
Estimated to take three hours to complete, the race includes obstacles like scaling 12-foot-high walls, running up a quarter pipe, and crawling through mud under barbed wire.
The obstacles are designed by British Special Forces to test a person’s strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie, according to the Tough Mudder website.
But as excruciating as it might look to spectators, contestants on Saturday said it wasn’t impossible.
Not that it wasn’t tasking on the body.
“Oh, my legs hurt,” said Austin Mariglia, 25, of La Quinta.
Mariglia was accompanied by his team — Team Foundry Crossfit — including Erin Maddox, 26, Tiffani Williams, 32, and Mark Mariglia, 49.
Maddox said the event was “challenging, but doable,” but the ice tubs were a struggle.
Vats of ice filled with some green coloring required participants to jump in and then hold their breath as they swam under a wood board.
“I’ve never panicked like that in my life,” Maddox said.
For Bay-area residents Jan Huang, 24, and Justin Chen, 23, the event was worth flying in for. Both said they felt “good” and “elated” after completing the run.
“It was fun because we were with friends,” Huang said.
Many teams dressed up for the race, which includes costume awards, such as “Most Likely to Have Been in the Village People.”
The run continues today, followed by a post-party for contestants. Spectators may watch for $40; tickets are available onsite.
Parking on Saturday was $10 per car. Be prepared for traffic backups on Interstate 15 at the 79 exit, as well as backups near Vail Lake.
Like with all the Tough Mudder events, contestants can help to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, which is a nonprofit organization helping U.S. servicemen and servicewomen who have been severely injured.
According to a growing ticker on the website, the events have helped raise over $2.7 million for the nonprofit.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter