That’s One Tough Mudder

Extreme physical events like Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, and Rugged Maniac are obstacle courses that push participants to their physical limits, and land some in the hospital—or worse. But despite physical trials and risks, the events are swiftly rising in popularity with young people around the world. Today, Ypulse staffer Mike Miller gives us a first-hand look at his experience surviving Tough Mudder, and just why extreme events that might seem like torture to some are attracting hundreds of thousands of Millennial participants. 

 

 

Tough Mudder events are described by the creators as, “probably the toughest on the planet.” They are 12-mile courses with roughly 24 obstacles designed by British Special Forces. It’s mud from end to end. It’s fire pits, ice baths, and teams of walls. You’re jumping, climbing, swimming, and crawling. In between all of that, you’re running, jogging or walking. You don’t want to stop moving, because if you do you’ll never start again. I don’t know if it’s the toughest event on the planet, but it’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done. And Millennials around the world can’t get enough of the extreme challenges.

Tough Mudder is about physical toughness. It only lasts 3 hours, but it’s 3 hours of non-stop running, sometimes through waist deep mud. It’s 3 hours of carrying a 100lb log a half-mile through the woods, up a muddy slope and then back down. It’s 3 hours climbing over 14-foot walls: 10 of them. Tough Mudder is about mental grit. You want to stop running, and just rest for a minute. You want to be home in bed, warm and rested. Signs along the course remind you how miserable you are, how many miles you have left. It gets harder and harder to ignore those thoughts while you’re crawling through mud under barbed wire, charged with 10,000 volts of…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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