Athletes enjoy the challenge of adventure races

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SARASOTA - The adventure race that is sweeping the nation is coming to Sarasota. The Tough Mudder will be held at the Hi-Hat Ranch in eastern Sarasota County the weekend of December 1st and 2nd.

One trainer on the Suncoast trains people for the wide variety of obstacles in this challenge. And when you run a Tough Mudder, you test yourself, you have fun, and you raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Tough Mudder is a challenge designed by British Special Forces veterans to test strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. There are many disciplines within the race to keep it from being boring, and personal trainer Jenn Purmort now trains others to be prepared for anything. “Adventure racing is different because you never know what you're going to run into. What is the obstacle going to be? What is the course layout going to be? You are going to come across the unknown, and how you deal with it and how you handle it and how you accept it, that's the fun of it,” says Purmont.

The originators are sure to point out that this is a challenge, not a race. It is designed for participants to have fun while unlocking their inner-beast. In fact, at the finish line, you get a headband and a beer.

Participants are encouraged to do so while giving support, and getting help, from teammates. “It’s the thought of being able to compete with a team approach, versus just doing something on your own, has a lot of appeal to it. Finishing obviously is something I'm looking forward to very much,” says participant Phil Kellogg.

This year’s Florida event was moved from Tampa to Sarasota, and 1st timers need to know up front that having fun while challenging yourself is the top priority of this 10-12 mile obstacle course. “Whatever you can see, let your mind, let your creativity take over, because that’s what adventure racers have to do. You have to be creative, you have to be resourceful, you have to use your surroundings to succeed. Start training, take it outside, let it be an adventure,” says Purmont.

Kellogg says he likes the idea of working with a team and accomplishing a goal. He hopes that soon his team will include his son. “My 12-year-old son told me ‘Dad, I'm going to do that with you six years from now when he’s 18.’ So that’s another motivation for me to cross the finish line.”

Both Phil and Jenn agree that the Tough Mudder coming to the Suncoast is a win-win for the area.

“Sarasota’s the perfect venue,” says Jenn.

“I think it's fantastic, getting an opportunity to get 2 or 3,000 participants, and enjoy our community, I think is a unique opportunity. And like most people that come to Sarasota, they’ll end coming back,” says Phil.

The race weekend is December 1st and 2nd. If you are interested, you can register through November 26th.

For more information on the race, visit the Tough Mudder website.