An event featuring hundreds of people putting themselves through miles of hellish obstacles also offers the hosting Mesa subdevelopment a few economic benefits as it continues to develop.
Describing the components that make up Tough Mudder — hosted in cities across the globe — as hellish might understate what participants sign themselves up for. There’s a plethora of walls, logs, water and of course mud to crawl, hop and pull oneself over a course that spans somewhere between 10 and 12 miles.
“You’re really tested on a variety of levels,” said Media Relations Associate Carol Gottshall.
Part of the appeal of the event comes from the names of each obstacle, which either sound more playful than they are or serve as an apt descriptor of what to expect. Arctic Enema, for example, has participants hop into rather frosty water, while Electroshock Therapy – the final obstacle before the finish line – is a collection of live wires that hang above a field filled with hay bales and sink holes. Crawling under the dangling wires won’t diminish the shock because the mud is electrified as well.
Competitors get to go home with a T-shirt and a headband, and anyone over the age of 21 gets a free beer for his or her efforts.
Tough Mudder doesn’t sound like the friendliest of events, but Gottshall said the course focuses less on competition and more on people working together to complete the miles of insanity.
“Having my teammates pull me through created that camaraderie,” said Eastmark Director of Marketing Garilyn Bourgeois.
Bourgeois’ experience came at the 2013 event, when she and fellow Eastmark employees tackled the Arizona event hosted by the community located in the Gateway region and a stones throw away from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. This is the third year the subdevelopment has played host to the race — midway through the five-year agreement the two organizations agreed to — and the locale fits Tough Mudder’s needs well. Essentially, that means loads of open space and the ability to create lots and lots of mud for contestants to slog through.
What makes this year different from previous iterations though is the presence of a number of homes that pockmark part of the development. Eastmark had an open house to introduce the community at the end of May 2013, and Bourgeois said people have continued to move into the area as developers add more and more homes to it.
The growth of the community has provided Eastmark and additional incentive to host Tough Mudder, as the challenge draws people who might not visit the community otherwise and may want to check out a home or two while they’re there. And it’s not like the challengers are coming from across the country either; Gottshall said many arrive from surrounding areas to throw themselves into the course.
“It really pulls locally, it pulls regionally,” Bourgeois added.
On the flipside, Bourgeois said Eastmark residents could begin to connect with the event more as either watchers/cheerleaders akin to those who root on marathoners at large events or as participants like she was.
Economic benefits extend outside the Eastmark community; the physical nature of the event tends to make people hungry, and there’s a chance they’ll visit a local restaurant for a post-race meal.
“The people are coming to the area and they’re sticking around,” Gottshall said.
This year’s event is scheduled for April 5 and 6, and more information about the event is available at toughmudder.com.
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