We'll compare them based on these factors:
Tough Mudder was co-founded in 2010 by Will Dean and Guy Livingstone, Dean had developed the idea for the company while studying at Harvard Business School.
But there are rumors that he took the idea from Billy Wilson, with the letter that sued Dean in June 2010. In the end, Dean paid Wilson $725,000 saying that it was easier to just pay than to fight in court.
The first Tough Mudder event was held on May 2, 2010, at Bear Creek Ski Resort near Allentown, PA. At the start line were more than 4500 participants.
Two more events followed in 2010, 14 in 2011, and 35 events held in four differents countries.
From those first 4500, so-called "legionnaires", in August 2015 announced that it had hosted its 2 millionth participant.
We already know that Tough Mudder is part of the "big three" OCR, so a great competitor to Spartan Race.
It all started with a $300 website and a $20 Facebook ad, and a lot of word-of-mouth.
They partnered with national brands and a free-beer promo worth $100,000 of sponsorships got started. Pre-registrations and Tough Mudder started making money before it even built a single barbed-wire obstacle.
The company now worth $70 million. And the CEO Will Dean declared that Tough Mudder will seek to launch a chain of fitness boutiques, trying to expand the brand beyond Obstacle Course Racing events.
Tough Mudder Distances:
Tough Mudder: 10–12 miles, 10-25 obstacles
Tough Mudder half: 5 miles, 12 obstacles
Toughest Mudder:8 hours
Urban Mudder: 5 miles
Urban Mudder: 5 miles
World's Toughest Mudder: 24 hours
Spartan Race Distances:
Sprint: 3+ miles with 20 obstacles
Super: 8+ miles with 25 obstacles
Beast: 12+ miles with 30 obstacles
Ultra Beast: 26+ miles with 60 obstacles
Hurricane Heat: 3 or 4 hours
Hurricane Heat: 12 hours
Starting from the organization, a lot of runners find that Spartan Race is better, especially regarding the customer service.
Both have a good variety of races with different length. The main difference is in the obstacles design. Tough Mudder obstacles are more psychological and fun, while Spartan obstacles are more physically challenging.
If you are able to do pull-ups, you won't have problems with the Tough Mudder's obstacles. While those of Spartan Race rely most on solo strength, you'll also have to deal with terrain "obstacles" like uphills and downhills.
Another difference is the approach to the race, Tough Mudder clearly promotes collaboration between runners. Everybody is helping each other while at a Spartan Race you run for yourself.
We should say that Spartan allows teamwork, although there is some no-go like the Elite wave, Monkey Bars, Spear Throw, Hercules Hoist etc.
Almost forgot, the burpees are an exclusive of Spartan Race, Tough Mudder allow you to skip the obstacles if you aren't able to overcome them.
At the end of a Tough Mudder there is a party, principally a lot of beer.
Spartan Race prices vary from $124 - $224 (per person), depending on a variety of factor.
Tough Mudder prices vary from $89 - 300 (per person), here too, depending on a variety of factor.
In both races, you can have discounts or free ticket if you volunteer.
These two races have differences in some crucial points, like the collaborative vision of Tough Mudder vs the army-of-one of Spartan Race. The funny part of the Tough Mudder's obstacles vs the challenging one of the Spartan Race.
As we wrote in Spartan Race vs Rugged Maniac, it depends all on what do you want to do. Have funny or do a race. That's why I see the Spartan Race harder than a Tough Mudder.