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Posted on Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

Health officials investigating possible virus after Tough Mudder participants report illness

By Pete Cunningham


A participant falls as he makes his way through the "Electroshock Therapy" obstacle just before finishing during the Tough Mudder on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

J. Scott Park | MLive file photo

Who would have thought something could go wrong while jumping in puddles of mud, running through live electric wires and swimming through freezing tubs of water?

Oh, that's right, everybody.

According to an MLive Media Group report, officials from the Lenawee County Health Department are investigating a possible virus Tough Mudder runners may have contracted during last weekend's extreme obstacle course races at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

Several race participants have reported nausea, a high temperature and diarrhea, according to the report, and health officials are encouraging any participants who were sick after the race to report symptoms to the LCHD at (517) 264-5243.

The Tough Mudder is an obstacle course race laid out on a 12-mile course famous for the extreme nature of its obstacles. Obstacle course races have become extremely popular in the state and nationwide in recent years.

Approximately 12,000 people participated in Saturday's race with an estimated 4,000 spectators on hand as well. Another 4,000 were expected to be at Sunday's race.

The LCHD has received more than a dozen calls from participants reporting symptoms, and officials expect that number to rise as news of the possible virus spreads.

Read the entire report MLive Media Group report.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.


Beth Hoag

Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

This is why you reserve your spot to run in the early heats. Could be a number of things, including idiots relieving themselves in the cold water pools.


Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

Here's one possibility: Giardia, a parasite that lives inside the intestines of infected humans or other animals. People can be infected by ingesting or coming into contact with contaminated food, soil, or water.


Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

I ran the race on Sunday, and I'm fine. There wasn't any food except bananas and cliff bars during the race, but a lot of muddy water to swim through. And I wouldn't rule out that something at the concession stands may have been the problem.


Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

"Who would have thought something could go wrong while jumping in puddles of mud, running through live electric wires and swimming through freezing tubs of water? Oh, that's right, everybody." ^^LOL greatest start ever to an article on here

Pete Cunningham

Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

Thank you. I've told anyone who will listen that this is the best lede to a story I could ever hope to have. It's all downhill from here.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 11:21 p.m.

"Who would have thought something could go wrong while jumping in puddles of mud, running through live electric wires and swimming through freezing tubs of water?" My question would be, who in their right mind would even want to do this?


Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

Evidently there were 12000 people out of their minds , right? Just to see how tough the really are is my guess. Although growing up in the country playing in the mud was fun when we were young.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

One tough mudder with a tummy ache?


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 11:10 p.m.

Comments here are interesting and certainly speculative. My husband ran on Saturday. In his team of 11 we know of four who became ill approximately 28-32 hours after finishing the race with severe vomiting, diarrhea and fever. We know of another team with three ill, and then read reports that a team with four participants had two who were ill, and a fourth team with 13 participants had seven ill, one hospitalized. These teams did not have contact with one another, but these were the stats posted as responses to an initial question on the Tough Mudder Facebook page. (The illness-questioning post has since been removed.) According to my husband (and the Washtenaw Cty Health Dept.) Tough Mudder is working with the state health department. My husband received a health survey designed by the health dept but distributed to all Tough Mudder Michigan participants. They are asking all participants, both those who did and didn't get ill So, for readers who are thinking in terms of a "handful" becoming ill....16 ill out of 12,000 might be a handful, but these 16 were out of 33-35 competitors. I'm willing to wait to see what Tough Mudder and the health department have to say.

Dexter Man

Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 10:11 p.m.

My daughter and har boyfriend have come down with it.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

Also there were over 16,000 runners so i dont know that since a handfull of people got sick is cause for a panic and all the news reporting on it.

Pete Cunningham

Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 10:49 p.m.

The Lenawee County Health Department has received enough calls that is investigating a possible virus and trying to get the word out to all participants. That's where we come in. No panic here, just precaution.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

I ran the race....To start best experience of my life.... I did have stomach pain the night after the race but i thought it was from all the redbull i drank and the ibuprofin i took. Now halfway through the race on day 1 there was a heavy down poor of rain which could be why some people got sick. They did have boxes of cut up bananas every few miles as well as water to refuel us. Im just fine today 4 days later and what i think happend is these people were all just dehydrated and got sick or they drank a ton of red bull and took iburopfin or something along those lines. All my running mates are fine today and im fine. We did swim in alot of dirty water and were covered in mud though but i honestly think people were just dehydrated and fatigued.


Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

Lucky you. Severe vomiting, diarrhea, and fever are not due to dehydration and fatigue. There could be a serious issue here. Sixteen people is more than a handful. Carry on with the red bull and ibuprofen, though.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

I'm guessing norovirus.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 8:32 p.m.

I'm curious as to whether they were served any food at the event. Sounds a bit like salmonella.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 9:57 p.m.

I ran the race...about every 3 miles or so they had stations with cut up bananas and Water for us. At the end we all got a free beer. I did feel stomach pain when i got home that night but i thought it was from all the red bull i drank and the iburporin. i slept it off and felt better the next day.

Pete Cunningham

Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 8:46 p.m.

There was a beer tent and food for sale as well. I'm told pizza and sausages, so basically ballpark food.