Really tough. But really fun. When I got back to the office on Monday morning, I looked at my colleagues and thought:And what did you do over the weekend?” -TOUGH MUDDER PARTICIPANT Tough Mudder Inc. is a Brooklyn-based company that hosts endurance obstacle eventsa rapidly growing sport also known as mud runs. During 2015, about 600,000 participants will each pay between $180 and $260 to tackle a 10- to 12-mile Tough Mudder course featuring 15 to 20 challenging obstacles. The obstacles include wading through a dumpster filled with ice (the Arctic Enema”), crawling through a series of pipes part-filled with mud (Boa Constrictor”), and dashing through live wires carrying up to 10,000 volts (Electroshock Therapy). The 2015 schedule com- prises 46 two-day Tough Mudder events (a separate run on each day) in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, and Australia. Tough Mudder’s website describes the experience as follows: Tough Mudder events are team-based obstacle course challenges designed to test your all around strength, stamina and mental grit, while encouraging teamwork and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses and obstacles, over two million inspiring participants worldwide to date, and more than $8.7 million raised for the Wounded Warrior Project by US participants, Tough Mudder is the premier adven- ture challenge series in the world. But Tough Mudder is more than an event; it’s a way of thinking. By running a Tough Mudder challenge, you’ll unlock a true sense of accomplishment, have a great time and discover a camaraderie with your fellow participants that’s experienced all too rarely these days. Tough Mudder was founded in 2010 by former British school pals Will Dean and Guy Livingston. While a Harvard MBA student, Dean entered Harvard Business School’s annual business plan competition using Tough Guy, a UK obstacle race based upon British Special Forces training, as the basis for his plan.? On graduat- ing from Harvard, Dean and Livingstone launched their first Tough Mudder event. On May 21, 2010 at Bear Creek ski resort, Pennsylvania 4,500 participants battled through a grueling 10-mile course. The Market for Endurance Sports The origins of endurance sports can be traced to the introduction of the modern marathon race in 1896, the triathlon in the 1920s, orienteering in the 1930s, and the first Ironman triathlon in 1974. In recent years, a number of new endurance sports have appeared, including: adventure races-off-road, triathlon-based events which typically include trekking/orienteering, mountain biking, and paddling; obstacle mud runs-cross-country running events with a variety of challeng- ing obstacles; novelty eventsfun events such as 5K races in which competitors are doused in paint (Color Run), running with real bulls (Great Bull Run), and food fights (Tomato Royale). Tough Mudder used several strategic variables to map the market and position the different products (Figure 1). Obstacle mud runs were initiated in the UK in 1987 with the annual Tough Guy race organized by ex-British soldier Billy Wilson (which provided the inspiration for Tough Mudder). In the US, Warrior Dash launched in July 2009, followed by Tough Mudder and Spartan Races in May 2010. A flood of new entries followed. During 2011-2013, new entrants included: Mud Mingle, Play Dirty Adventure Runs, Dirty Girl, Mudslayers, Gritty Goddess Runs, Alpha Warrior, Big Nasty Mud Run, Survival Race, Udder Mud Run, Fugitive Mud Run, Hot and Dirty Mud Run, and many more. During 2013, there were 3.4 million participants in US obstacle mud runs paying a total of $290.1 million. By comparison, triathlons attracted about two million participants in 2013. In 2013, close to 350 organizations offered obstacle mud runs. The surging popularity of mud runs pointed to the desire of the young (and not so young) to turn away from video screens and virtual experiences and test their physi- cal and mental limits in the Great Outdoors. FIGURE 1 The market for endurance sports Collaborative Unconventional Color Run Tough Mudder Tough Mudder Spartan Races Warrior Dash Low risk High risk Brand-led Activity-led event event Color Run Warrior Dash Ironman Spartan Races Marathons Marathons Ironman Competitive Traditional Source: Adapted from a presentation by Nick Horbaczewski to Strategic Planning Innovation Summit, New York, December 2013.