I haven't been this worried since I was a kid and afraid of heights.
September 10, 2012 1:16 PM Subscribe
I want to start doing Tough Mudders / Warrior Dashes / other types of mud runs. But a (mostly) unfounded fear of disease is holding me back. Help me figure out how (un)reasonable my fear is so I can participate!
posted by Tehhund to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Before anyone jumps on me, I realize that a Tough Mudder is a very different event from a Warrior Dash. But both sound fun in their own ways, and I the same fear is keeping me out of both.
Early this summer my fiancée recruited me for a Warrior Dash. I was hesitant, but decided to give it a shot. We ended up having a conflict that weekend and didn't get to participate in that run, but said we would do it another time. After the race that we missed, several participants ended up in the hospital with necrotizing fasciitis (warning: an image search for that term is NOT for the sqeamish) and one even lost a limb.
A natural question is "are you sure that happened, and isn't just a rumor / urban legend?" Well, my sources (yes, more than one) treated the patients and I don't know them to exaggerate or present rumors as facts, so I'm as certain as I can be that this happened, that the diagnosis and outcomes are accurate, and that the common thread between the several patients was participating in the aforementioned mud run.
After that, my fiancée and I both got a bit spooked and lost interest.
I'm starting to get interested in these races again, but as soon as I get interested in signing up I find myself obsessing over the chance that I'll contract flesh-eating bacteria instead of committing to the race. This is especially unusual because I enjoy long camping trips, and am perfectly happy to get scraped up and endure endless dirt, mud, grime, and lakewater without worrying about disease. Despite being pretty confident that I'm unlikely to contract anything horrible when I go into the woods for a week, in my mind participating in muddy obstacle course runs is now inexorably linked with flesh-eating disease.
When I go camping, I feel reasonably healthy and prepared and I don't really fear injury in disease - I know things can happen, but I believe that I and my companions will be able to react appropriately and make it out safely. But when I think about mud runs (which I have never done before), I feel like I'm throwing caution to the wind and exposing myself to significant danger since there really isn't a preventative measure besides "don't have any cuts," which is not helpful because I frequently get minor cuts and abrasions. I suspect that's an unreasonable fear, but I have no data to convince me that it's unreasonable.
So help me out, hive mind - help me gauge my likelihood of contracting disease while participating in one of these events and get over my fear of picking up a life-threatening illness so I can go out and have fun! Any advice is welcome, but data such as "you are more likely to die in a car crash than have this happen" tends to work for me, so if you happen to have the statistics similar to (people who contract necrotizing fasciitis) / (people who participate in mud runs) to compare to traffic injuries that might fix me right up.