Investigation: Potential Dangers of Mud Run Races

INSIDE EDITION reveals the possible dangers of the popular fitness events.

Millions of Americans have participated safely in mud runs across the country but an INSIDE EDITION investigation is revealing there are potential dangers of the races.

In one tragic incident, a 28-year-old man lost his life, while another young runner says she can no longer see from one of her eyes.

During the races, participants run through mud, crawl through it and even swim in it. They can also enter smoke-filled tunnels and run through live electrical wires.

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Danger signs are posted along some of the courses, reminding participants: “Remember you signed a death waiver.” The waiver says “catastrophic injuries are rare” but possible and can include spinal injuries, paralysis and even death.

Among the races, Tough Mudder is one of the best known. While the vast majority of runners compete without mishap, there have been some tragic incidents.

In West Virginia in 2013, one runner, 28-year-old computer account executive Avi Sangupta, lost his life when he jumped into a pond of muddy water but never reemerged.

His family is now suing Tough Mudder and others for wrongful death. The company has denied any wrongdoing.

In another incident, 23-year-old Brittany Williams ran in a mud race with a different company in Dallas in June – with dire consequences.

“About half way through the race my eye was hurting and just felt like I got debris in my eye, but I continued the race,” she told INSIDE EDITION.

But the next morning, she couldn’t see out of her left eye.

“Whatever wound up being in my eye almost melted off all of my cornea,” she said. “I have 20 percent of my cornea left at this point.”

Her fiancé now has to help her put in eyedrops because she is unable to see out of the eye.

She is awaiting a cornea transplant in a bid to repair her damaged eye.

INSIDE EDITION’s Alycia Powers signed up for a similar race on a farm outside Cincinnati – and the route was covered with mud.

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“There's no way you can avoid it, getting it in your mouth, getting it up your nose, in your ears,” she said.

While at the races, she took eight samples and INSIDE EDITION had them tested at a lab. The results were disturbing.

Three samples contained E. coli, which comes from fecal matter, and all eight samples had traces of pseudomonas and staph aureus - bacteria that cause skin infections.

In a statement to INSIDE EDITION, Tough Mudder says the safety of their participants is their number one priority. They said they always have medical and rescue teams on site for their event and take special precautions to prevent any bacteria-related injuries by bringing in thousands of gallons of fresh water.

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