Spartan Race vs Tough Mudder: What Are The Differences Between The Two?

In recent years, two unconventional races – Spartan Race vs Tough Mudder – started to grow in popularity. While both these races engage fans of unconventional and adventure sports, it is important to note that the two also have their differences.

Both require physical and mental strength, as well as endurance but there are also differences, such as which one between the two is the most grueling and what it specifically takes to complete each race.

Spartan Race vs Tough Mudder

How the Two Started?

One of the major differences between Tough Mudder and Spartan Race can be traced on how it started. The Tough Mudder started from Will Dean, a British Special forces veteran, who teamed up with Guy Livingstone, a lawyer. The two of them successfully created the race. The first race took place last 2010 in Pennsylvania.

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Both Dean and Livingstone decided to design the course in such a way that it is difficult for participants to get through. However, they also make it a point to incorporate camaraderie into the race. That said, the race has obstacles that require participants to practice teamwork.

Spartan, on the other hand, was started by Joe DeSena, an endurance athlete who has a strong passion for extreme races. He began the 24-hr death race last 2005 then paired it up with competitors as a means of building a version, which a number of people can easily access.

The first Spartan Race took place last May 2010 in Vermont. The core principle of the race is actually competition but it also comes with fun and excitement that make most of its participants get too involved in it. It also aims to elevate the obstacles to more complex levels to ensure that all participants get challenged.

Obstacles and Courses

Tough Mudder and Spartan are also different in terms of obstacles and courses. Tough Mudder works within a 10- to 12-mile course, which comes with around 20 to 25 obstacles. The race does not also time participants. The only goal is to complete up to 78% of the course together with your team.

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However, take note that the courses are not the same, and the terrains contribute a lot to whether or not you can successfully complete it. Some of the obstacles that you will most likely encounter in the course are electric shocks, ice water, crawling beneath barbed wire, scaling walls, etc. Mud also plays a major role in the race. There are obstacles composed with hills and mountains of mud.

Spartan, on the other hand, is composed of three levels. One is the sprint, which is around three to five miles. Then there is the Super Spartan, which involves at least 8 miles. Lastly, there is the Beast, which involves at least 12 miles composed of several obstacles based on your chosen distance. Each course also differs depending on the location.

The main principle of this race is to take full advantage of the design of the course. Some of the signature obstacles that you will most likely encounter are climbing, spear throwing, and gladiators. However, note that while the obstacles in Spartan are extremely physical, some find them less interesting. Some prefer the Tough Mudder because it is more creative. Spartan, on the other hand, is more formulaic in nature.

Difficulty Level

In Tough Mudder, the level of difficulty differs based on terrain and location. Those who participate in it also cite that locations with freezing temperatures and high altitudes are some of the most unexpected obstacles. That said, you may experience a different level of difficulty when doing it in one place to another.

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For instance, you will notice that it is easier to do the race in Miami than in New Jersey. Also, note that while it involves long miles and tough obstacles, the fact that it requires the effort of the entire team can make you feel comfortable since you know that there will always be someone who can help you.

In Spartan, there are also different opinions regarding which among the obstacles integrated into the race are harder. However, one of the most notable difference between Spartan and Tough Mudder is that the former requires you to complete thirty burpees before you can move on to the next level in case you don’t successfully finish an obstacle.

Also, Spartan can provide more options than Tough Mudder if you’re in search of more beginner-friendly and less difficult event. It is primarily because Sprint only requires 3-5 miles while the Tough Mudder is around 10-12.

Spartan Race vs Tough Mudder couple


To conclude, while Spartan Race and Tough Mudder both test your endurance and your physical skills, it does not necessarily mean that they are the same. There are differences between the two, particularly in the way it started, their difficulty level, the obstacles and courses.

If you have any questions regarding this article, please don’t hesitate to let us know right away by posting it in the comments section.

Spartan Race vs Tough Mudder: What Are The Differences Between The Two?
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