Tough Mudder Under Fire for Non-Consentual Requests of Contestants

If you know NSFW, you know consent is a pilar of everything we do. Dealing with sex on a daily basis, it's always import for us to lead with what we believe; if it isn't a hell yes, it's a HELL NO!! 

I guess the message of enthusiastic consent isn't shared by all. 

Female contestants in one of the world’s most popular extreme racing franchises were made to simulate sex acts and provocative dance moves by a compère leading the warm-up, it has been claimed.

Around 300 people took part in the warm-up for the Tough Mudder race in Henley in May, which consisted of a 10-mile obstacle course and run – with many people competing as part of a team.

Speaking exclusively to The Independent, two female athletes spoke of their horror when they were asked to take part in a “creepy sexy workout” by a Tough Mudder employee leading the warm-up.

The pair, who were competing with work colleagues, said they were left humiliated after the ordeal.

“The worst bit of the day, by far, was the warm-up,” said one of the women, who were too embarrassed by the saga to be named.

“As I waited in my group of four girls (friends from work, who were running our first ever Tough Mudder for a good cause, Alzheimer’s Society), we watched the group before us warming up.


“They were given the option of the ‘normal workout’ or the ‘Ibiza dance workout’, chose the latter, and had an epic time dancing around. We then went in, excited about the fun warm-up to come, and were given the option of the ‘normal workout’ or the ‘creepy sexy workout’. What?! All the girls cheered to vote for the normal one and all the boys cheered for the second version. Guess which one we were given?!” 

The horrified women said they were then asked to “slutdrop” against their co-workers. The slutdrop is slang for a dance move which involves squatting as quickly and as low as possible and immediately popping back up – the move is often performed while grinding against a dance partner in a suggestive manner.

“I was absolutely humiliated to have to follow instructions to ‘slutdrop’ on my work colleague, while the DJ encouraged us to bite our lips and act sexy,” she said, “How is that a warm-up?! One of us was then instructed to lay on the floor, while the other did a press up over them, supposed to simulate a 69 position.

“When others in the group were, understandably, far too embarrassed to do this in public they were called out. When one girl was asked on the microphone why she wasn’t taking part she said that her partner was her boss. A completely valid reason. Instead, the DJ (who I assume has never heard of feminism or the Me Too movement) suggested she ‘spread her legs wider then’.”

Reliving the awful moment she added: “One of the partners lay on the floor on their back and the other partner was instructed to do press ups in the 69 position facing the opposite way, I was only half-press-upping – even though they were supposed to be full – because I did not want to go down into my colleague’s crotch. It was not a genuine warm-up for your muscles.”

She said she saw other groups of men also made to do the so-called “creepy sexy workout” – explaining they looked palpably uncomfortable. 


“They had to ‘slutdrop’ and simulate 69 positions. You could tell they felt awkward and were reluctant to do it. They were glancing around, looking like ‘are we really doing this? Is this real?’”

She noted how fortunate it was she had been in a group of four girls – saying if they had been an odd-numbered group they would have had to find a stranger to team up with. 

In terms of gender make-up, she said the event comprised of about 65 per cent men and 45 per cent women.

A spokesperson for Tough Mudder told The Independent the person involved had been reprimanded.

“Tough Mudder’s highest priority is producing events that are fun, safe and enjoyable for everyone. This incident does not represent the inclusive experience we aim to create at our events or our organisational values,” they said. 

“This is a violation of our company standard and as a result, the person involved has been reprimanded. This incident or type of behaviour will not be tolerated in our community.”

According to the participant, the event did not improve when the warm-up finished and they were moved to a secondary pen on the starting line where there was a different man leading the activities.

“It went on – we were told that ‘life is better in a threesome’ when three strangers were put in a team. We were encouraged to jump on people we fancied when they were in the mud. Signs told us our sex appeal would increase by doing Tough Mudder.”

She said the combination of the money she forked out and the three weeks intensive training compounded her feelings of disappointment. Her preparation involved boot camp classes three nights a week, a weekly yoga session, and three- to five-mile runs, plus carbohydrate loading and drinking protein shakes ahead of the event.

“It normally would cost you £120 but it cost me £50 because we raised £1600 for charity between the four of us,” she said.

The participant also railed against marketing at the event – questioning how one particular sign could have been potentially signed off by so many employees.

“As soon as we turned up we saw a sign saying, ‘Your mum isn’t here. Pick up your rubbish.’”

She said the saga has put her off doing another Tough Mudder and she would be choosing a “better managed” and “more professional” endurance event series in the future.

“I thought it would be a motivational and professional event. It takes place all over the world, you would have thought it would be more politically correct. I went there to feel athletic,” she told The Independent