A year of Sun Investigates
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Tough Mudder( Doug Kapustin, Baltimore Sun / May 18, 2013 )
On the day that Avishek Sengupta of Ellicott City drowned during a Tough Mudder series race in West Virginia, 19 other people were treated at a nearby hospital for injuries ranging from heart attacks to electric shock to hypothermia.
The casualties raised questions about the safety of such events, and though Sengupta's was the first death at a Tough Mudder race, a review by The Sun found at least three others at similar events sponsored by other organizations around the country.
Experts said the deaths and injuries highlighted problems in the fast-growing industry, which employs mud pits, electric wires and a long-distance run to test participants' endurance. Some called for greater industry-wide oversight. Organizers of the most popular obstacle events — Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and Spartan Race — said safety is their top concern.
The Berkeley County sheriff's office, which heard from witnesses that Sengupta was under water for up to 15 minutes before being pulled out, ruled that circumstances of the April 20 incident did not warrant criminal charges. The office closed the case about a month later. Race officials said their own review had found satisfactory safety measures in place.