OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) - As many as 20,000 people are expected to visit Oshkosh this weekend for the Tough Mudders competition, an 11.8-mile run through mud and 18 military-style obstacles.
The competition is being held on the grounds of the Experimental Aircraft Association, where crews have been digging holes, building berms and erecting obstacles for a month. Oshkosh Northwestern Media reports Tough Mudders competitions have been held in Wisconsin twice before, but not in Oshkosh.
The event is designed to test strength, stamina and mental grit. Participants will wade through mud and try to avoid an electric shock as they near the finish line.
"We really have a full spectrum of people that come out to our events. You see everything from serious athletes to those who want to have a good time," said Nick Bodkins, a general manager for Tough Mudder events. "It's not timed and there is no winner or loser. The entire event is designed around a mixture of being challenging and rewarding."
Between 16,000 and 20,000 people are expected in Oshkosh for the two-day event that starts Saturday, Bodkins said. That includes participants, spectators and volunteers.
Randy Schmiedel, of Oshkosh, said he was looking for a new challenge when he signed up for his first Tough Mudders event. Schmiedel has run many road races.
"It's something different," he said. "And it's unique that it was happening right here in Oshkosh."
Rex Smith will be running his third Tough Mudder course. He said the event's connection to the military drew him initially and is what keeps him coming back. Tough Mudders raises money for the Wounded Warriors Project, which helps service members wounded in action adjust to civilian life.
"I'm a retired Marine and that's why I started," Smith said. "Every year, I try to put together a team and we go out and have a good time."
The Oshkosh event will be one of the best for Tough Mudders spectators, Bodkins said, with a course that allows many glimpses of the participants as they make their way through the obstacles.
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