October 23, 2014

Elyria
Sunny
55°F
test

Mudder could provide jolt to Lorain County economy

SOUTH AMHERST — Lorain County could clean up from thousands of people getting dirty.

Participants run through fire during a Tough Mudder event in Georgia in February. (Photo by Toughmudder.com.)

Some 20,000 people, many from around the nation and world, are expected to participate in the marathon/obstacle course event April 14 to 15.

Barb Bickel, Visit Lorain County executive director, said no economic impact studies have been done on the event, but local hotels and motels are expected to be booked up. Bickel said in an email that businesses in previous host cities have seen a “significant impact,” which goes beyond tourism spending.

“Tough Mudder is utilizing other local businesses and non profits for needs such as transportation, equipment rental, ice and more,” Bickel wrote, adding that no taxpayer money is being spent on the event. “They are also providing local nonprofits and schools the opportunity to raise funds for their efforts by volunteering at the event.”

The 10- to 12-mile Tough Mudder events began in 2010, according to its website, and were a response to those who found marathons monotonous and lacking in building upper-body strength. Tough Mudder is billed as “the premiere obstacle course in the world” and puts a premium on “strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie.”

The competition includes wading through cold and muddy water, climbing monkey bars, crawling through tunnels and dodging electric wires that set off 10,000-volt jolts. Competitions — which are billed as “personal challenges” rather than races — are scheduled around the nation and in Australia, Canada and Europe.

Bickel said she met in April with Tough Mudder officials at the National Association of Sports Commissions symposium in North Carolina. Bickel said she and local builder Gregg Fior and Steve Morey, president of Team Lorain County, a local business advocacy group, were able to sell Tough Mudder officials on using the quarry along state Route 113 and North Quarry Road.

The 12-mile quarry event has at least 27 “bad-a– obstacles,” according to the site. Jane Di Leo, a Tough Mudder spokeswoman, wrote in an email that the quarry offers “unique, raw and challenging terrain” and is conveniently located for those coming from Akron, Cleveland, Detroit and Toledo.

“The quarry, as we understand it, has never been open to the public, so we are excited to have this opportunity to welcome Tough Mudders to this beautiful, historic landmark,” Di Leo wrote.

The quarry is owned by the International Realty Group. Di Leo wouldn’t say what the group is being paid for use of the property. While participants must sign forms waiving the right to sue in the event of injuries or death, Di Leo said no one has ever been seriously injured in a competition and safety is the top priority for organizers.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.