One of the most grueling physical tests in the United States is coming to St. Clairsville.
Powerline Park will host the Pittsburgh Tough Mudder on Aug. 24 and 25.
According to Tough Mudder spokeswoman Carol Gottshall, the event should bring nearly 20,000 people to the Ohio Valley for the weekend.
"Most of the competitors will be from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, but we expect 14,000 people entered in the event," Gottshall said. "Plus, there will probably be about another 5,000 there to spectate."
The Tough Mudder was founded by Will Dean, who started the event, while he was working on his MBA at Harvard. After running numerous marathons and triathlons, he became bored if you will and wanted a bigger challenge.
The event, which is open to males and females aged 18 and older, has really grown since its inception in 2010. According to stats provided by Tough Mudder, there were only three events in that first year. That swelled to 14 in 2011, 36, including seven international in 2012 and there will be 52 Tough Mudders this year.
Last year, more than 400,000 people took part in a Tough Mudder worldwide and that number will certainly rise.
Tough Mudder isn't a race per se. It's an individual, timed competition where participants try to put forth their best individual effort possible.
The event is between 10 and 12 miles and it features numerous obstacles throughout the course. These obstacles are quite complex and they're not even fully established yet for the Powerline Park site.
"Powerline Park was a perfect choice for us because it has muddy, varied terrain that will allow us to build an awesome, challenging course," Gottshall said.
The obstacles and challenges are designed by British Special Forces. Normally, there are between 25 and 35 obstacles on a course.
Obstacles such as crawling through ice-cold water, hurdling bales of hay, running through fire, rope walking through muddy water, getting out from underneath a cargo net and some times that's placed on an up-hill climb.
Many other obstacles are also optional and the entire list can be found on the Tough Mudder website.
To further point out how challenging these events are, it's estimated that only 78 percent of those who begin the event will finish the entire course.
The actual Ohio Tough Mudder is in Mansfield next weekend.
Along with giving individuals a chance for to prove their toughness in adverse circumstances, the Tough Mudder also aides the Wounded Warrior Project. Last year, the events raised $2.5M for the Wounded Warrior.
The effects of having a Tough Mudder in the immediate area will also be felt by the local economy. Tough Mudder estimates that between $2 and $5 million is generated in the community.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org