The latest trend in outdoor sports, runners all over the country are flocking to challenging obstacle course running events like Tough Mudder. With 10-12 miles of military style impediments and challenges, these runs are obstacle courses geared towards building stamina and fostering team camaraderie in an adventure challenge series unlike any other. But unlike a marathon or triathlon with clear tasks and challenges, the mud run is a test of total body strength, speed, endurance and mental toughness.So how do you train for that kind of overall challenge? The Chelsea Piers Sports Center has always sought to provide athletes with the equipment they will need to train for a variety of sports and events. To prepare for the toughest challenges, the Sports Center provides three key pieces of equipment: Jacobs Ladder, Marpo Rope and the jungle gym. Using these three tools and other equipment, athletes can better condition themselves for the challenges they can expect to encounter in an obstacle course competition. • The Jacobs Ladder - This piece of equipment has been named the “ultimate fitness experience” by top universities and professional sports teams because it provides a challenging anaerobic and aerobic workout. Through the use of a patented treadmill climber, Jacobs Ladder simulates sprinting or stair climbing without the high impact on joints. It's also 100% self-powered. Most obstacle course races include challenges such as uphill sprints, uphill climbs, and climbing up and over walls, all of which can be simulated on Jacobs Ladder. • Marpo Rope – This rope climbing machine mimics the experience of pulling your body up a rope. The machine allows you to sit or stand while you pull on a rope from a variety of different angles. The height of the rope and the weight resistance can also be adjusted. This is a great tool for practicing rope climbing, which is almost always part of an obstacle course. • Jungle Gym – Remember the monkey bars from your recess days? If you thought the jungle gym was easy as a kid, chances are you’ll be surprised by how tough it is now. The jungly gym works your entire body as you propel yourself from one bar to the next, some of which are higher or lower than the one before. Challenges that include the motion of climbing over monkey bars are a popular obstacle in mud runs. While mud runs can be exciting, they require great skill and a great amount of physical training. Yet the chance to accomplish the challenge of braving the conditions, surviving the mud and finishing the race can be a rewarding and unforgettable adventure. To find out more about mud training, visit the Chelsea Piers Sports Center.