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Muddy water in obstacle courses can make you sick

By MICHELLE RINDELS
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- It turns out the toughest obstacle of a Tough Mudder-style race might not be dodging live electrical wires, hoisting logs or leaping over a wall of flames. It might be the nasty stomach bug that can come from swallowing the muddy water.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a memo Friday warning that animal feces in the mud along the courses can give participants a bad case of diarrhea. The agency said nearly two dozen people from the Nellis Air Force Base community in Nevada reported coming down sick after participating in a race in rural Beatty, Nevada, in October 2012.

The investigation traced the sickness to the bacteria campylobacter coli. It concluded people became ill after accidentally swallowing contaminated water on the course, which was on a cattle ranch within sight of cows and pigs. The sickness generally sets in three days after the race, and it lasts a week.

Adventure races are increasingly popular in the U.S., where they drew about 1.5 million participants in 2012, according to the CDC memo. In the 10- to 12-mile-long Tough Mudder challenges, participants slither on their bellies through fields of mud, plunge into icy water and try to cross lakes while balancing on slippery tightropes.

The contests often draw active-duty military personnel or civilians in top shape. But the CDC said those daredevils can be brought to their knees by the stomach bug, which lurks in the animal droppings on the man-made mud fields.

Health officials recommend race organizers warn participants about the gastrointestinal dangers of the contest, and stress the importance of hand-washing and avoiding swallowing the water. They also recommend race organizers set up the courses in areas where animals are less likely to roam.

Officials with Tough Mudder didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment Friday morning, and it was unclear whether the organization planned to change any policies in response to the CDC's findings.

The CDC noted the bacteria causing sickness after races has hit sports events in the past. Campylobacter outbreaks after several bicycle races in Europe were traced to bike tires splashing up dirty water into participants' mouths.

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eleanoreln May 04 2014 at 8:38 AM

Again a slanted, over reacting article. First keep in mind, this was near animals and their feces. Dumb location. In the USA there are many mud runs supporting good causes such as cancer research. Thousand caring dedicated people participate. They are not located in cess pools. My daughter was in one yesterday. She and her friends have done these charitable evens for years. No problems.

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ChingOW Mango May 02 2014 at 10:40 PM

Idiots.

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wlh1923 May 02 2014 at 11:58 PM

At what age does a child learn not to eat and drink things they find in the toilet? You'd think adults crwling through sewage would know enough not to eat and drink the stuff. Keep your flipping mouth closed

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docleanhow May 03 2014 at 12:12 AM

Can anyone spell duh?

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1 reply
GUNSLINGER docleanhow May 03 2014 at 7:33 AM

Yes, D-U-H!!!!!!!!!!!!

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LilAnnie2012 May 03 2014 at 1:10 AM

That all makes sense but it won't matter to the "daredevils"! They are willing to go through those conditions for fun and maybe just the competition factor! A little stomach bug isn't going to stop them, warned or not!! They should warn them, but it won't matter.

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tikitom May 03 2014 at 7:07 AM

as Forrest Gump would say: SH_T Happens.

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1 reply
TruthBeKnown tikitom May 03 2014 at 7:21 AM

Tik, Noo, that was.."ya never know what your going to get" !

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frank1946 May 03 2014 at 7:11 AM

TV Producers are dangerous.

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TruthBeKnown May 03 2014 at 7:20 AM

There are millions of germs everywhere ~ ! Who does not know this ??
Especially in the dirt and animal doo doo.

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IBruzEZ May 03 2014 at 8:14 AM

Stupid people slopping around in the mud deserve to catch whatever is in the mud... one of the side effects of these idiotic games.

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vinkbear May 03 2014 at 8:19 AM

In honor of this new revelation, Tough Mudder will name their next race the Dooky Dash.

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