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Designed by Satan

"Really, man, you've got huge mud clods in your eye, your ears, everywhere," a friend informed John Ratto, 35, of Stockton, while toasting him Louis Vuitton Kimono Card Holder

Lv Alma Epi

Tough Mudder (the next California event is Aug. 16 17 at Northstar in Truckee) is only one in a barrage of extreme challenges and races with deranged sounding names. You've got Spartan Race's "Beast" coming up June 7 at Toro Park in Monterey. Then there's the Savage Race, the Warrior Dash, the Armageddon Ambush, the Canadian Death Race, the zombie infested Run For Your Lives and dozens more all offering courses often designed by former military personnel or perhaps evil, twisted Halloween clowns.

"It's the thrill, the adrenaline of it," said an adrenaline high Steven Louis Vuitton Mens Wallet With Chain

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Participants at the April Tough Mudder, most in running gear, but some in team outfits even Spandex tuxedos or pink tutus were sent off in waves every 20 minutes all day long, pumped up at the starting gate with music from that 1990s Cake song that goes, "He's going the distance, he's going for speed," and coached in robust rounds of "oorahs!"

PATTERSON The customary salutation "Here's mud in your eye" assumes a far more literal usage for battle weary, exhaustion bleary, extreme mud run conquerors.

And they were off, heading for the first obstacle getting sprayed with a fire hose while negotiating dirt in big mounds, as if a giant gopher had been busy all night. Then running and trudging for a while. Then 25 push ups as "toll." More trudging, then on to "Walk the Plank," where they'd plummet off a 20 foot wall into a muddy pond and swim their way out.

Extreme obstacle courses not your average fun

and Turtles. "Regular marathons can be boring. I love the obstacles. Even getting shocked. It really straightens up your back."

The goal is to push physical and mental limits, wallop your sorry desk jockey backsides with hard core, military style obstacles, test true grit, and leave participants with enough of it crammed in various orifices to support healthy crops of plant life.

"There was an announcer guy hyping everyone up for that last obstacle, and he was saying, 'Look at that girl running what a bad ass!'" Wilde said. "I got shocked at least four times they were good jolts, let me tell you.

These are not your short fun run/mud runs at the fairgrounds. Don't make the elite members of Mudder Legion laugh really, because laughing's probably going to hurt for at least a week.

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Lv Alma Epi

And people pay actual money to do this usually about $100 for an entry fee all for the sake of a T shirt, a headband and bragging rights.

Some events are timed, but some such as Tough Mudder are not; a "win" comes from individuals just plugging on through to the end of the course. At Mudder, the so called elite athletes can complete a course in about 2 hours. But some folks take their time and may finish as much as six hours later. It's all good.

Tran, 30, of San Leandro, who typically dresses nicely for his sales job but today is sporting a toxic waste green shirt as part of his third Mudder run with Team Rabbits Louis Vuitton Empreinte Cles

Tough Mudder participants cross the "Funky Monkey" obstacle during the endurance obstacle course held at Diablo Grande in Patterson, Calif., on Saturday, April 12, 2014. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

So, the ultimate question gets down on its hands and knees and begs why?

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"I know," Ratto said, taking squishy steps in his mud sopped sock. "It got sucked off in the electroshock thing. But there's no way I'm going back for it."

Are you nuts?

"Some obstacles you can't get through by yourself, and you have to form human pyramids or hoist each other up," he said. "Plus, there's the idea of putting down the cellphone, getting away from the computer, doing something a little more primal."

Jennifer Wilde, 43, an Alameda mom and graphic designer, mainly wanted to test her mettle. Already fit from trapeze classes and biking, Wilde trained in the gym for weeks before the challenge, an effort that paid off she made it through in about three hours (Mudder is not a timed event) with only a few bruises and scrapes.

with a Dos Equis at the finish line at last month's NorCal Tough Mudder extreme obstacle course challenge. Held in the rugged Diablo Grande hills of the Central Valley, it's part of a growing worldwide industry of butt kicking, limit stretching endurance events that seem to grow more wacky, wild and decidedly dirty every year.

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"It was a great goal for me to set with my personal trainer, working on lung capacity, functional fitness," she said. "I was really nervous beforehand, but after exhilarated, accomplished, relieved, overjoyed. I would totally do it again. We're talking about doing the one in Tahoe."

Jay Emerson, of Elk Grove, climbs over the "Berlin Wall" obstacle during the Tough Mudder endurance obstacle course held at Diablo Grande in Patterson, Calif., on Saturday, April 12, 2014. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

Lv Alma Epi

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Contrary to popular belief, not all had abs like topographical maps of the Rockies. Many had the less toned variety, but all came with a common determination to make it through.

Yes, you read that right. The "electroshock thing" is a curtain of live wire tentacles dangling over slippery mud pits, ready to give participants a few parting zaps at the end of the 10 mile course from hell. But not before they'd elbow crawled through muddy water under a web of barbed wire, scrambled up mud slathered half pipes, trudged a total of 2,000 vertical feet over hilly terrain, plunged into the "Arctic Enema" ice water pool and emerged like quivering wet cats, slogged through thigh deep mud bogs and did we mention the mud?

For Johnson, who often runs the course himself, it's the teamwork element.

"We have a passionate fan base, that's for sure," said Tough Mudder spokesman Ben Johnson. and Europe, and it's expanding into Germany, Australia and Ireland. "I've seen the transition in mind set from, 'I run a Tough Mudder' to, 'I am a Tough Mudder,' which is pretty cool," he said. events. A TV show is in the works, and some Spartans are so crazed that they get tattoos marking their successes, said Colby Balazs, Spartan's vice president of marketing. "It's kind of cool, and a little scary, working for a brand where people love it so much they tattoo Lv Alma Epi it on their bodies," she said.

At the last obstacle, the "Electroshock Therapy," Wilde encouraged her teammates to go for it and power through the electric wires.

Lv Alma Epi

Lv Alma Epi

Lv Alma Epi

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