Mud Masters bij Jaarbeurs Utrecht

Mud Master Indoor: A jungle gym for adults at Jaarbeurs

If you think of an intense workout in the open air, you think of Mud Masters. Thousands of participants storm the muddy course to push themselves to their limit. Last year, the organisers decided to do something different: Mud Masters Indoor. Founder André Skwortsow is here to tell us more about this event.

Mud Masters, isn't that held outside in the mud?
“Yes, exactly. With Mud Masters, we have been organising outdoor obstacle courses filled with mud, water or ice since 2012. It is a workout inspired by our background in the Dutch Marine Corps, which we made accessible to a wide audience. As a Mud Master, you complete an obstacle course of various lengths, based on real military obstacle courses. These days, we have a large community of circa 50,000 participants.”

Yet this event was held indoors.
“Right. Mud Masters Indoor was a pilot to determine whether it was possible to offer our audience an event during the winter season as well. Normally, the outside temperature has to be somewhat pleasant. Nobody wants to swim in an ice bath in the middle of winter. With an indoor event, we can keep our community vibrant and offer our fans seasonal workouts. As far as I know, this was the first time an event like this was held indoors in the Netherlands.”

So you didn't fill Jaarbeurs with mud?
“No, this was a mudless Mud Masters. We did construct a giant course in the main hall. It was like an athletics track with all kinds of extra activities in the middle. Participants started by running around the track before moving on to the obstacle course in the centre. There, they had to do things like swing from a monkey bar or run up a quarter pipe. Contrary to a footrace or an outdoor course, everything was very close together here.”

Weren't you afraid that this iteration would differ too much from a “normal” edition of Mud Masters?
“It was definitely a challenge. How do you manage people's expectations? They have come to expect Mud Masters to literally be a large-scale event. Normally, it is held on festival grounds of circa 200 hectares. Our keywords are intensity, heights, cold, water and mud. We resolved this issue by positioning Mud Masters Indoor as an indoor workout event. Our goal was to offer an incredible preparatory training that people could never get at home. It was like a jungle gym for adults, complete with a DJ and awesome lighting effects.”

Why did you choose Jaarbeurs instead of a gymnasium?
“There were several reasons for that. Jaarbeurs' team thought along with us from the very first meeting we held. They helped us with everything from power to waste and from security to first aid. Rather than having a traditional client-supplier relationship, our organisations were more akin to colleagues. Jaarbeurs’ image was also important to us. This was our very first indoor event, so it was important to have some credibility, right? The Jaarbeurs brand certainly helps with that.”

So, was the pilot a success?
“Yes! We are thrilled with how things turned out. The collaboration with Jaarbeurs was excellent and everything to do with the organisation basically went without a hitch. The Mud Masters who came to the event also gave us a ton of positive feedback.”

Has this event led to anything new, in addition to the positive feedback?
"We noticed that some companies used this event to turn their traditional drinks on Friday afternoon into an athletic gathering. People came here in their company shirts to have a workout. We also found this to be an excellent gateway event. Some of our visitors are a bit hesitant when they first start out. In Jaarbeurs, we were able to boost their confidence and make the event more accessible. In other words, this indoor event has given us an entirely new target group.”