Runners say the California Tough Mudder race triggered a bacterial infection

For hours, Noa Ambo and her five friends ran, crawled and pulled each other through an obstacle course at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Tangles of barbed wire and rows of planks forced them to submerge themselves in pits of muddy water.

It was all part of the appeal of the 10km race put on by Tough Mudder, the race organization company that prides itself on the sloppy challenge of its own obstacle courses. Ambu and her friends celebrated after completing the course on August 20. And they washed off the mud and went home.

But the next morning, Ambu woke up and discovered a rash of red, painful bumps covering her legs and stomach. It was painful and hot to the touch. Her friends had them too. Her concerns heightened when she found more stories on social media of other Tough Mudder participants with similar symptoms.

“It was disgusting,” Ambu, 26, told The Washington Post.

The doctor diagnosed Ambo with folliculitis, a skin infection sometimes caused by bacteria, and prescribed antibiotics. She’s not alone, said an announcement from the Sonoma County Health Services Department later that week: Several participants reported feverish rashes, muscle aches, and vomiting after running the Tough Mudder Run. to caution In public health advice.

Tough Mudder, Sonoma Raceway and the Sonoma County Health Services Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday night.

Ambu was running her second Tough Mudder race after completing the course for the first time the previous year, also at Sonoma Raceway. The event, which included several obstacle courses of various lengths over the weekend, seemed like a fun challenge for her and her group of friends, an outdoor picnic group.

Nothing was amiss until the next day, when Ambu woke up with a rash. She was afraid that the small cuts she got on her knees while climbing around the rocks on the obstacle course might have contributed to the infection.

“I looked in the mirror, and my knees were completely covered, my legs, and my stomach too,” Ambo said. “It was like nothing I’d seen before.”

And I soon discovered that she wasn’t the only one. The increasingly troubling posts on the Tough Mudder subsite, a forum for race participants, Describe the runners who visit Emergency room and receive a diagnosis of bacterial infections. She added that Ambu was prescribed antibiotics, but her condition was not tested to identify the bacteria responsible for the infection.

A Sonoma County official said they have confirmed at least 15 cases of people experiencing symptoms after the race, the Santa Rosa Democratic Press reported. mentioned Wednesday. Some of the participants showed symptoms consistent with a bacterial infection, and one patient tested positive for Aeromonas, a waterborne bacterium.

Ambu said Tough Mudder acknowledged the reports of infection and said in a letter to participants sent after the Sonoma County health alert that it was investigating the incident, but that the company had not responded to its request to refund the $150 race entry fee.

Ambo is concerned about whether regulators tested the site, where she said the animals were grazing. Sonoma Raceway uses a flock of sheep to run its grassland. according to the race site. Sonoma Raceway did not immediately respond to an inquiry about whether the animals grazed the fields where the Tough Mudder races were held.

She said that after one week, Ambu’s rash had decreased, but not completely gone. She is thinking of seeing her doctor again.

She and her friends spent the week nervously telling each other about their symptoms. They will choose to hike rather than the muddy obstacle course The next time they get together.

“I wanted to try it,” Ambo said. “But I won’t do it again.”

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