As much effort as to tap a beach ball…

Reading time: About 1 minute

I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about two similes from Lizzie Widdicombe…

Call me naive, but I had never before heard of what’s called a Tough Mudder, which is a 10-to-12-mile obstacle race including fire pits, tightly enclosed spaces, mud baths and vats of ice water that  make the ice-bath challenge sound like a walk in the park.

Not my idea of a good time — I’d much rather read a book, thank you very much — but I enjoyed being introduced to the concept by New Yorker writer Lizzie Widdicombe in her Jan. 27/14 feature headlined, “In Cold Mud.”

The relatively recent explosion of obstacle races is riveting. Some 50,000 people took part in them in 2010. But last year, the number was 3.5 million. (Where do these people come from?) Tough Mudder alone brought in a $115 million in revenue.

Widdicombe, who was a good enough sport to participate in a real live Tough Mudder event in Tahoe, has a particularly good ear for similes. Here are two of my favourites from her story:

Walking around the base camp was like being in the Bahamas during spring break—but all the unhinged high jinks were in the name of health, not of getting wasted


Dean and I clambered over the wall (actually, a nice, muscular man behind us pushed me over it with about as much effort as it would have taken to tap a beach ball), and found ourselves with a group of very young, very tough-looking individuals. 

I admire Widdicome for having the guts to take on this challenge. Better her than me.

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