Once you've ran your speediest 10K PB and devoted a chunk of your life to a marathon, where else is there to go with your running? Down and dirty of course! Check out the top ten craziest obstacle races in the UK and prepare to get muddy. The good news is obstacle and adventure races cater to all fitness levels and the onus is on survival over speed, so they're the perfect antidote to traditional road races if your training needs a kick up the butt. Check out the wettest, muddiest and most electrifying events the UK has to offer.
1. Men's Health Survival of the Fittest
Location: Cardiff, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Manchester and London
Date: September to November
Uniquely, Survival of the Fittest takes place in urban settings, so you can dance the tango on hot coals within walking distance of a tube stop. A fast-paced but no less ferocious obstacle course experience, Survival of the Fittest is the ultimate race for city-dwellers desperate to let off some steam and torture themselves in public. The bonus of the inner city setting is you get to try really unique urban obstacles including gigantic balls, rigging and 'drunken monkeys'. We're not entirely sure what any of this means, but you're guaranteed to have a good time, provided you survive to tell the tale.
2. Zombie Evacuation
If run-of-the-mill obstacle courses just aren't cutting the mustard and the idea of literally running for your life while scaling muddy challenges sounds more appealing, look no further than Zombie Evacuation. Modelled on modern day speedy zombies, the flesh-eating undead will chase you screaming around a 5K course while you run faster than you ever thought possible and attempt a few challenges along the way. For health and safety reasons you're not allowed to fight back, so don't get carried away and pack your Uzi. But you get three chances to survive the jaws of the undead, so unless you stand around too long marvelling at the zombie's impressive face paint, you stand a fairly good chance of survival.
3. Mighty Deerstalker
Location: Peebleshire, Scotland
Date: 15th March 2016
If you prefer a more natural obstacle course on which to recklessly fling your body in the pitch dark, the Mighty Deerstalker is the race for you. Participants wade across frozen rivers, race through dank wet forests and scale monster hills, all under the cover of darkness. If the wild haggis and werewolves still indigenous to bonnie Scotland don't get you, scrabbling up muddy mountains when you can't see the end of your own nose should finish you off. Participants are encouraged to wear tweed because why the hell not, and if you survive the night they put on a pretty nifty after-party too.
4. Tough Guy
Date: 31st January 2016
Billed as the original and toughest obstacle course on the circuit, the Tough Guy boasts 250 man-made obstacles over 15K that promise to leave even the hardiest competitors quivering with fear. There are no social, sexual or age barriers, so be prepared to get beaten by 12-year old girls and have your resilience to towering heights, tight spaces, fire, water and electricity tested. If the one third drop-out rate doesn't put you off, the ice cold tunnels, flaming obstacles, barbed wire and flesh-eating tigers might. OK that last one was a lie, but you get the gist. This one is going to sting a bit.
5. Spartan Race
Location: London, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Yorkshire
Date: August to October
If the idea of pitting your flailing limbs against a horrific flaming mud-drenched obstacle course isn't challenging enough, perhaps you should try participating in period dress while you're at it and take on the Spartan Race. With more than 60 races held around the world, pretending to be a warrior is the latest craze in obstacle events and everyone seems to love them. The bit about dressing up isn't strictly true (do you get chased by gladiators or do you dress up as one yourself? We're not entirely sure) but after achieving their grueling 5K sprint with 15 obstacles or the infamous Beast involving 26 hellish challenges over 26K, you'll definitely feel like a Roman emperor should you manage to survive. If harnessing the power of evil to hang upside down over muddy obstacles isn't challenging enough for you, they also have a leaderboard so you can really show your mates who's boss.
6. Tough Mudder
Date: April to October
A team-oriented obstacle course set over 12 gloriously muddy miles, Tough Mudder is designed to test physical strength and mental grit, so prepare to be set alight, thrown into arctic whirlpools and chased by crocodiles (or something similarly testing). Fortunately they also put camaraderie over finisher rankings and it's not a timed event, so you can take as long as you need to suffer mercilessly at the hands of flesh-eating carnivorous beasts (or you know, a particularly gruelling obstacle course).