The Tough Mudder course has 20 obstacles that challenge participants' mental and physical stamina and strength. Some involve jumping into ice-filled water, traversing a field full of live electric wires, and crawling on hands and knees through water with live wires closely overhead. There also are two endurance-exercise areas and three mystery-terrain challenge areas.
Throughout the 11-mile course, part of which runs through Virginia, there are an estimated 700,000 gallons of mud and a vertical change of 1,775 feet. Participants must be at least 18 years old and sign a liability waiver.
"It is impossible to remove risk entirely from these kinds of events," Baxter said, "but we work very hard to make our participants as safe as we can."
Amphibious Medics provides onsite first-aid support for Tough Mudder events. The number of emergency services personnel, lifeguards and divers in place at the West Virginia event was unavailable. Baxter didn't know an exact number, and neither Amphibious Medics nor the sheriff's department responded to telephone calls requesting comment.
To help manage the number of participants, groups are sent onto the course every 15 minutes.
"We're glad to have them back," said Cole McCulloch, the training center's owner, who said the community remains "heartbroken" over Sengupta's death.
It will be the first Tough Mudder event for Eric Bonardi of Catonsville, Md. He was talked into it by his twin brother, Jason, who participated in a Tough Mudder event in Michigan.
"I'm as excited as I am nervous," Eric Bonardi said Thursday.
He doesn't like the potential of getting shocked or taking an ice-water bath, but it's a way for the pair to celebrate their 43rd birthday.
Bonardi became aware of Sengupta's death after his wife showed him a newspaper article. Bonardi said he has no concerns for his own safety.
"When you have an event like this, there's a chance of things going wrong," Bonardi said. "I feel better about my brother and me doing this together."