Generally most mud runs are for adults, but there are courses specifically designed for kids. There are far more than 3, but the following ones are more popular across the country so you’ll have an easier time a local event and there will also be a lot more people.
1: The Spartan Race for kids.
Also called the Junior Spartan. This event actually has 3 different divisions, all beginning from age 4 up to age 14. Race length ranges from a half mile to 2 mile courses.
As for obstacles, generally they are the same copy of the adult courses, but in a much small, safer and easier design so they can be crossed.
- For example, where as adults need to cross under barbed wire, kids will just have a rope over them.
- For most walls and muddy areas, they are slanted so there’s less chances of a fall.
- However, most strength tested obstacles are similar for kids, especially in the monkey bar department.
2: Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder!
An obstacle course held by Tough Mudder but designed for children. Although the Spartan Race had several divisions, this one only has 1. It is a mile long and also copies many of the obstacles you see in the adult course, specifically tubes, the mud mile, devil’s beard, and climbing challenges.
Again, the design and choice of the obstacles is meant for safety even there is climbing involved and they fall, they don’t usually fall hard or from a high area, so it’s safer.
3: Down and Dirty Obstacle Race.
This is also another adult run that has a kids race. Although it is much less popular than the other 2 races, it has 2 divisions, one of which is also a mile long and features obstacles where you do things you’d see in military and football training like tire hopping.
Overall, if your child is at the right age, is active and has a good physical level of training, these 3 choices would be very fun for them to try.
Recommendations to keep them safe:
While the challenges in these races and most other mud runs are WAY safer than for adults, it still helps to train and dress them up in a way that improves their safety.
Just like for adults, the same things I recommend wearing for them, I also recommend for kids as well, specifically the shoes, and pads for elbows/knees.
Now for shoes, the one I recommend most is the Salomon Speed Cross, but the smallest size they have is and 8. There is another good shoe that is also good for these events that has sizes as low as 5, it is called the Inov-8 MudClaw.
You can also have them wear just regular trail hiking shoes and it’ll probably be fine since these races aren’t as intense. But remember, good shoes help prevent sprains.
If it’s warm outside and they aren’t wearing a fully covered shirt, have them get sun block just in case.
Always have your kids do a lot of practice before these races in your backyard or on the playground. If they actively play outside, climb monkey bars easily, they’ll have no problems getting through these courses.
Stretching and making sure they are flexible is also another key. Although kids are generally a lot less likely to get sprains and injuries, it is always better to have them be prepared when run these courses.
Remember, some of them are as much as a mile long and with the Spartan, it’s 2 miles for older ones, so they should at least be used to running that kind of distance so they aren’t surprised or taken aback by it.
Also let them know that it’s never a good idea to race with others unless they are experienced. Children can easily get into a competition with others and start trying to blaze through the course which can have them trip or run into others. Teach them to go at their own pace and be careful not to bump into the others.
Should your child be the only one to participate?
I would not recommend that your child be the only one to go on these races. They aren’t very long, but most destinations to these events take a long time for people to reach. For me, when I travel to them, it takes me about 2 hours to reach and that’s just one way.
Traveling for an hour or two to then wait to register them and them have them finish quickly to drive back home just as long would really be a waste so you may want to also participate in an adult race while they do the other one and have someone chaperone them, that way you can all have fun.
Can injuries happen even though these races are much safer?
Of course when you’re running on obstacles, in mud where you can’t see the bottom or you’re unprepared, it can increase the risk. But keep in mind that these obstacles are mainly designed to be much easier and focus a lot on the safety. Again most kids have a lot of fun in these courses, it challenges them and it helps them eventually get ready for the adult ones.
If you’re concerned that your child may get injured, like I said, have them wear the right gear and train for it. These races really aren’t that difficult and even those who are about average on the physical level can do it.
Keep in mind that you can also select levels available in some events. Pick one that suits your child’s age and abilities. If you’re still worried, have them run outdoors to see how they do before they enter these things.
If you are planning on going with other friends and want your child to come along, they don’t necessarily have to also participate, they can also watch you and others and see if they want to try them in the future.
The price for kids to enter these races is MUCH cheaper than for adults. Have them go if you’re going too, you’ll all enjoy it!