Chinese military inspired assault course.
X-Mudder is typically split into three difficulty options,
- The Classic, comprised of 6 km with 18 obstacles.
- The Challenge, comprised of 12 km with 30 obstacles.
- The Ultimate Match, comprised of 40 km and 40 obstacles.
This is similar to the Tough Mudder which is currently in multiple countries across North America, Oceania & Australia and Europe (also reaching into Asia and Africa through the Philippines and UAE).
Interestingly enough X-Mudders “The Ultimate Match” level blows Tough Mudders most difficult challenge out of the water by an extra 4km and a whopping 15 more obstacles. This post will look at my pursuit of “The Classic” with a team of Chinese personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts, team pictured below.
Pictured thinking: “What did the cameraman just say and why are we all jumping”.
What does race day look like?
We arrived 1 hour early, ready for the 10 am start. The venue had two car parks, both had a convenient shuttle bus service which ran directly towards the park entrance. Once we got off the bus, a staff member scanned our QR code and our team was let in. We had two people with us who were there for encouragement, they had no tickets but they were allowed in no problem; this was a nice contrast to the Spartan race. The 15 minute build-up to the race was the best pre-event warm up I’ve participated in thus far. They had a stage with a team of people encouraging a crowd of 50-70 people to dance and warm up together before heading over to the starting line. It was a very unique way to get a group of strangers to come together and get to know each other before getting knee deep in mud.
Pictured thinking: “i wish i had that vest”.
Starting the Chinese military training course.
The first obstacle was a muddy farm run, this was a real calf-cramper. Every step required you to push through your toes making each step feel like a weighted calf-raise. After finishing the muddy farm run we were welcomed with a wet crawl through a long cylinder. The cylinder was half submerged, this soaked our clothes and weighed those whom were wearing cottons down for the 1km sprint to follow. The 1km sprint saw an array of small climbing-frame obstacles, nothing that you would bat an eyelash at arrived until the tyre flip.
The tyre flip had two different size tyres, you would choose the tyre which you deemed appropriate for your strength/willpower, there was no obligation to go heavier if you did not want to. The objective here was to flip the tyre to the end of the field and back. I found a good technique in throwing the tyre forward and then catching it to repeat on the bounce back up. Those who struggled on this obstacle lifted the tyre each time with no real rhythm, not taking advantage of the bounce.
This is the muddiest challenge EVER!
The tyre flip challenge left one of our team mates with an injury, we waited together and helped him pull a small thorn from between his toes. After a small rest we went on together to run through a jungle like terrain tangled with bushes, branches and ditches. Our focus was brought to the ground, constantly calculating the safest route between each ditch jump whilst maintaining a competitive speed. It was clear that this section of the race was a test of balance, the following obstacles would support this claim through an entourage of balance orientated climbing apparatus. After completion of this section, the afternoon sun had hit a peak temperature. We were greeted by a muddy pit of water, the team was semi-grateful as It would be an opportunity to cool off. We took to the water like a heard of elephants amidst a Saharan drought, however there was no such elegance in our entry. In order to enter the water you had to slide in head first through some heavy rollers, my entry wasn’t quite text book as you can see below.
Pictured: A non-text book entry, don’t try this at home kids.
I’m not sure what happened next, but the cameraman must have edited on some extra abs because this definitely isn’t what i see in the mirror.
Pictured: Me trying to make up for the less than graceful entry.
The end was in sight, but in order to get there we had to climb a huge half pipe with a rope as assistance. This obstacle was one of the new flagship obstacles announced at the ISPO Beijing conference, I had been looking forward to tackling it. A crowd stood before the obstacle, calculating their method of approach. I took a few steps back and charged at the obstacle. I ran about 9 feet up the half pipe before grasping a rope to climb, I took about half a dozen steps before doing a muscle up to pull myself to the top of the obstacle. I stayed at the top and helped the rest of my team, eventually we slid down the other side into yet another muddy pit. At the end of it i didn’t look to different from this guy.
Pictured thinking: “WHY ME!”
My team and I climbed out the mud a little less than gracefully to find some volunteers had gotten there buggy stuck In the mud. We helped the X-Mudder staff out of the mud before continuing to the last section of the race.
Experiencing the runners high.
The last section of the race was a beautiful run through Chinese farmland. There is always at least one moment in every race where your running and suddenly you experience euphoria. I’ve told you about it before when i was looking over Shanghai’s Sunland Green during a Spartan race. This time i got my feeling whilst laying on my back in a river, read on to know how that happened.
I could see the end was in sight, just beyond this small river walk obstacle. I went for it thinking i was a water skipper.
After failing the obstacle miserably, i found myself bound with laughter at my situation. Covered in cold muddy water i was just appreciating the moment without a care for my aching body. That’s the runners high for you, sheer appreciation for the little things.
Review of China’s X-Mudder.
X-Mudder wasn’t the most difficult race type, in all honestly i feel like the spartan race obstacles are much more difficult. However, if your looking for something which lets you work in a team this is your race. Every aspect of this race is great for team days out as it’s not too intense. In addition to this, the warm up was a great touch and was a huge amount of fun.
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