Athletes flock to races like Tough Mudder for a gritty, filthy, grueling experience, but we don’t think any of them were prepared for what happened in France.
For those who are unaware, these races see participants tackle various military-style obstacles situated on long, mucky trails. Which sounds…fun?
In France though, 1,000 runners weren’t having very much fun after they became infected with the norovirus after participating in a “Mud Day” event earlier this month. The norovirus can only infect people in so many ways — it’s most typically transmitted to humans through animal fecal bacteria (i.e. poop), which would suggest that the course was literally filled with (yes, you guessed it) shit. It would also suggest that the runners on the course ate or somehow consumed that waste matter as well.
Well then, how delightful.
This isn’t the first time muddy runs have been linked with, well, the runs either. Twenty-two people fell ill after a long-distance race held at a cattle ranch in Nevada in 2012, the Washington Post reports. The cause of their illness was “almost certainly because they swallowed muddy water contaminated by animal feces…”
Regional health authorities in France are still investigating what exactly caused the outbreak, but they confirmed that cases of the norovirus climbed into the four digits after the race on June 20. The symptoms include fever, diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain.
More than 8,400 people signed up for the event, and its Facebook page has been steadily filling up with angry complaints about the illness ever since. According to The Local, one competitor even noted “the distinct smell of horse manure” on the course.
We thought these races and events were supposed to make you healthier. Oh, well.