Hundreds sick with pustules, fever, and more after participating in Tough Mudder Sonoma

Hundreds of participants in the Tough Mudder event held August 19 and 20 at Sonoma Raceway have become sick with red rashes, pustules, fever, and body aches. Fox 2 KTVU explains:

People who crawled through the mud and water, and maneuvered under obstacles like a barbed wire fence, posted on social media that they came down with an infection after the event. 

KQED provides more details:

Sonoma County public health officials on Wednesday released a health advisory — urging anyone with symptoms to see their doctor or go to a local emergency room, and notify the county via a form on their website. An email and text message from event organizers also went out to participants, with Tough Mudder noting it was working with local health officials.

A Tough Mudder event involves hundreds of people climbing over and crawling through mud and muddy water, which is likely how participants picked up the infection, officials said.

"Most affected persons have pustular rash, fever, myalgias, and headache. These symptoms could be indicative of a minor illness called 'swimmer's itch,' but they can also indicate a staph infection or other more serious bacterial infection such as Aeromonas," reads the health advisory.

There are several Reddit threads—here's an original one and here's an update—where participants are sharing information, posting correspondence they've had with Tough Mudder officials, and strategizing about next steps. In this post, the author states that almost 450 participants have been impacted. 

In the updated thread, folks are sharing their frustration with Tough Mudder and are describing both some of the ways they'd like participants to be compensated and some of the changes they'd like the company to make for future events. Here are some of the comments I read in the updated thread–including some asserting that the location of the event wasn't "poo free," that the Tough Mudder organization held the event at the same venue where there had been known illnesses the previous year, and that the organizers failed to notify participants about the possibility of infection:

Thank you for being our voice. Honestly I would also be satisfied if they changed the location to a poo free area, put some regulations on safety/sanitation, and gave us all refunds. Seeing as how they knew about this outbreak before and didn't do anything about it, I highly doubt they will compensate us.

Thank you! I'm not going to speculate on what may happen financially but I do think a change in safety protocols/sanitation & a change of venue are necessary and they'd be bananas not to do that

I'm still feeling sick but have no health insurance

I agree it's a great next step, but would like response about WHY TM did the race at the same venue after the illnesses the prior year, and especially without warning participants. The Bay Area TM needs to be held at a different location. Thanks

What is Tough Mudder? Again, KQED:

Tough Mudder is a type of obstacle course race (commonly called "OCR" among athletes who race them frequently). Over a distance of anywhere from 5 kilometers to 15 miles, depending on the event, participants complete a range of "obstacles" that can include anything from crawling through the mud under barbed wire to climbing over walls and logs to traversing through complicated rope courses and monkey bars.

Tough Mudder, which was founded in 2010, is one of several companies that organize these kinds of obstacle course races. Spartan Race, which acquired Tough Mudder in 2020, is the other major race organizer and specializes in more competitive events.