Running events and races have steadily increased in popularity over the past decade, and one need not look far to find a 5k, 10k, or other marathons in which to participate. While millions of runners competed in traditional road races in the U.S. in 2013, four million people finished what is known as “non-traditional obstacle races.” These races such as the Warrior Dash, Spartan Race, and Tough Mudder are extreme fitness events that involve traveling through military-style obstacle-filled courses.
What are Extreme Obstacle Races?
Although these races have been extremely popular and unquestionably successful over the past several years, many believe that there is cause for concern. A sports medicine expert at Vanderbilt University stated that many of the obstacles in these races are inherently dangerous and can cause serious and life-threatening injuries. According to him, racers are literally diving headfirst into ponds, jumping into rock pits, and rolling over fire. Moreover, one of the biggest problems with extreme obstacle races is the lack of a governing body to determine which obstacles are too dangerous.
Are Extreme Obstacle Races Safe?
Many people may believe that these events are safe since millions of people participate in them each year. However, such is not always the case. Some examples of several injuries that have occurred over the last few years include:
- “Spartan Rash” or a mysterious skin condition involving itchy, red skin
- Campylobacter coli infections in 22 participants in an obstacle race in Nevada in October 2013 after racers accidentally ingested the surface water in the mud pit
- 13 electric shocks to the heart of one Tough Mudder racer in Pennsylvania
- Temporary paralysis caused by a stroke in another Tough Mudder participant at the same event
On June 2014, a woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her son who she claims drowned along an obstacle course in West Virginia at a Tough Mudder event. The decedent passed away after another participant jumped into the water on top of him, according to allegations made in the wrongful death lawsuit. The family claimed that the man was in the water for eight minutes before a rescue diver was able to retrieve him. This is despite the fact that more than 75 emergency personnel, paramedics, and water rescue technicians were present at the time.
Contact the Attorneys at Van Sant Law, LLC Today
If you or someone you love has sustained an injury or you have lost a loved one following complications in an extreme obstacle race, you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries or pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of your loved one. Contact Van Sant Law, LLC at (678) 679-6710 as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation and to determine whether you have a valid claim. The attorneys at Van Sant Law, LLC understand how emotionally, financially, and physically devastating these situations can be and we can only hope that these races will begin to implement rescue measures, better safety protocols, and reduce the number of dangerous obstacles on the courses to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities.