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Total solar eclipse 2017: When is it, why is it happening and how can I see it in the UK?

Total solar eclipse 2017: When is it, why is it happening and how can I see it in the UK? What's happening? On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will witness an eclipse of the sun for the first time in 99 years, where the Moon will pass in front of the Sun casting darkness across swathes of the Earth's surface. Dubbed the Great American Eclipse, the moment will see the Sun, the Moon and the Earth become perfectly aligned in a once-in-a-lifetime celestial spectacle seen from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Although we won't see a perfect alignment in the UK, we will be able to see a partial eclipse (where the moon covers only a part of the sun). 10 amazing places in America to watch the 2017 solar eclipse Who will see it? Everyone in North America, parts of South America, Africa and Europe - including the UK - will see at least a partial solar eclipse, where the moon covers only a part of the sun. However, 14 states across the United States will experience a total solar eclipse with more than two minutes of darkness descending in the middle of the day over the course of 100 minutes. More than 12 million Americans live inside the path of totality and more than half of the nation live within 400 miles of it. Millions more are expected to travel to cities along the path to witness the phenomenon.  Where and when to see the eclipse What causes an eclipse? The diameter of the Sun is 400 times that of the Moon but it lies 400 times further away - which means if you are in exactly the right alignment on the surface of the Earth at the right time, you will see the two celestial bodies overlap exactly. What creates a total solar eclipse Where can I see the eclipse in the UK? Sadly Brits won't get a total eclipse like our friends across the pond, but we will be treated to a slight partial eclipse which will still be worth watching.  It will be visible in parts of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from around 19:35 on August 21 - but make sure you're in a spot where there's no cloud.  UK eclipse circumstances for August 21 2017 What areas will see total blackout? Anyone within the path of totality will see the sky become dark for several minutes as the moon completely covers the sun. The path is relatively thin, around 70 miles wide, and stretches from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. It will first be seen at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 PDT, with totality beginning at 10:16 PDT. Over the next 90 minutes, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and end near Charleston, South Carolina at 14:28 EDT. The lunar shadow will leave the US at 04:09 EDT. Its longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds. What time can I see the total eclipse? Here are the mid-eclipse times for some of the major towns and cities along the path of totality, according to Nasa. All times are local.  Where to see it | The Great American solar eclipse Will there be a live stream? Yes - Nasa will host an Eclipse Megacast for four hours during the eclipse which will be picked up by local, national and international TV stations. You can also follow all the action via the Telegraph. How can I see it safely? Never look directly at the Sun, even through sunglasses or dark material such as a bin liner or photographic negative. Makeshift filters may not screen out the harmful infrared radiation that can burn the retina of the eye risking permanent eye damage and blindness. Also, viewers must never use binoculars or a telescope. Wear special eclipse viewing glasses - not ordinary sunglasses - or construct a simple pinhole camera which projects an image of the Sun onto a blank piece of paper. Solar eclipse: how to watch the eclipse safely When will Britain next see a solar eclipse? There was a pretty spectacular eclipse in Britain in March 2015, but the last total eclipse in the UK was in August 1999. You might be waiting a while for the next decent one too - it won't take place until August 12, 2026. On that date up to 95 per cent of the Sun will be obscured. Britain will not see a total solar eclipse until September 23, 2090. How we watched the 1999 solar eclipse - in 90 seconds 01:42 Total solar eclipses in history Eclipses have both fascinated and terrified civilisations for centuries. When King Henry I of England, the son of William the Conqueror, died in 1133, his death happened to coincide with a total solar eclipse plummeting the nation into darkness for four minutes and 38 seconds. Historian William of Malmesbury wrote in 1140 that "the darkness was so great that people at first thought the world was ending."


Total solar eclipse 2017: When is it, why is it happening and how can I see it in the UK?

Total solar eclipse 2017: When is it, why is it happening and how can I see it in the UK? What's happening? On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will witness an eclipse of the sun for the first time in 99 years, where the Moon will pass in front of the Sun casting darkness across swathes of the Earth's surface. Dubbed the Great American Eclipse, the moment will see the Sun, the Moon and the Earth become perfectly aligned in a once-in-a-lifetime celestial spectacle seen from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Although we won't see a perfect alignment in the UK, we will be able to see a partial eclipse (where the moon covers only a part of the sun). 10 amazing places in America to watch the 2017 solar eclipse Who will see it? Everyone in North America, parts of South America, Africa and Europe - including the UK - will see at least a partial solar eclipse, where the moon covers only a part of the sun. However, 14 states across the United States will experience a total solar eclipse with more than two minutes of darkness descending in the middle of the day over the course of 100 minutes. More than 12 million Americans live inside the path of totality and more than half of the nation live within 400 miles of it. Millions more are expected to travel to cities along the path to witness the phenomenon.  Where and when to see the eclipse What causes an eclipse? The diameter of the Sun is 400 times that of the Moon but it lies 400 times further away - which means if you are in exactly the right alignment on the surface of the Earth at the right time, you will see the two celestial bodies overlap exactly. What creates a total solar eclipse Where can I see the eclipse in the UK? Sadly Brits won't get a total eclipse like our friends across the pond, but we will be treated to a slight partial eclipse which will still be worth watching.  It will be visible in parts of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from around 19:35 on August 21 - but make sure you're in a spot where there's no cloud.  UK eclipse circumstances for August 21 2017 What areas will see total blackout? Anyone within the path of totality will see the sky become dark for several minutes as the moon completely covers the sun. The path is relatively thin, around 70 miles wide, and stretches from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. It will first be seen at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 PDT, with totality beginning at 10:16 PDT. Over the next 90 minutes, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and end near Charleston, South Carolina at 14:28 EDT. The lunar shadow will leave the US at 04:09 EDT. Its longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds. What time can I see the total eclipse? Here are the mid-eclipse times for some of the major towns and cities along the path of totality, according to Nasa. All times are local.  Where to see it | The Great American solar eclipse Will there be a live stream? Yes - Nasa will host an Eclipse Megacast for four hours during the eclipse which will be picked up by local, national and international TV stations. You can also follow all the action via the Telegraph. How can I see it safely? Never look directly at the Sun, even through sunglasses or dark material such as a bin liner or photographic negative. Makeshift filters may not screen out the harmful infrared radiation that can burn the retina of the eye risking permanent eye damage and blindness. Also, viewers must never use binoculars or a telescope. Wear special eclipse viewing glasses - not ordinary sunglasses - or construct a simple pinhole camera which projects an image of the Sun onto a blank piece of paper. Solar eclipse: how to watch the eclipse safely When will Britain next see a solar eclipse? There was a pretty spectacular eclipse in Britain in March 2015, but the last total eclipse in the UK was in August 1999. You might be waiting a while for the next decent one too - it won't take place until August 12, 2026. On that date up to 95 per cent of the Sun will be obscured. Britain will not see a total solar eclipse until September 23, 2090. How we watched the 1999 solar eclipse - in 90 seconds 01:42 Total solar eclipses in history Eclipses have both fascinated and terrified civilisations for centuries. When King Henry I of England, the son of William the Conqueror, died in 1133, his death happened to coincide with a total solar eclipse plummeting the nation into darkness for four minutes and 38 seconds. Historian William of Malmesbury wrote in 1140 that "the darkness was so great that people at first thought the world was ending."


Grace Mugabe absent from S.Africa summit as assault claim lingers

Grace Mugabe absent from S.Africa summit as assault claim lingers Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe failed to appear Saturday at a summit in South Africa attended by her husband, an event overshadowed by her effort to obtain diplomatic immunity over assault allegations. The wife of President Robert Mugabe has not been seen since being accused of attacking a 20-year-old model with a electrical extension cord last weekend in a Johannesburg hotel where the couple's two sons were staying. The alleged assault is a political headache for South Africa and Zimbabwe, close neighbours with deep economic and historical ties.


Father jumps car over open drawbridge in terrifying stunt to save family

Father jumps car over open drawbridge in terrifying stunt to save family A father drove his car over an opening drawbridge in a death-defying stunt to avoid plunging into the water below. Terence Naphys was crossing New Jersey's Middle Thorofare Bridge with his family when its steel ramp began to lift beneath them. Mr Naphys was reportedly already near the centre of the bridge and was forced to accelerate his Toyota RAV 4 to jump the 6ft gap out of fear the car would fall 65ft into the deep bay below.


Father jumps car over open drawbridge in terrifying stunt to save family

Father jumps car over open drawbridge in terrifying stunt to save family A father drove his car over an opening drawbridge in a death-defying stunt to avoid plunging into the water below. Terence Naphys was crossing New Jersey's Middle Thorofare Bridge with his family when its steel ramp began to lift beneath them. Mr Naphys was reportedly already near the centre of the bridge and was forced to accelerate his Toyota RAV 4 to jump the 6ft gap out of fear the car would fall 65ft into the deep bay below.


Boston free speech protests: Far-right demonstrators 'outnumbered 10 to 1 by anti-fascists'

Boston free speech protests: Far-right demonstrators 'outnumbered 10 to 1 by anti-fascists' Far-right demonstrators in Boston appeared to be greatly outnumbered by their opponents - perhaps as much as ten to one - as the city braced for two competing rallies. The Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, issued an appeal to the many thousands of people taking part in the two events to be peaceful and show respect. The events were taking place a week after clashes at a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in more than 20 people being injured and one young woman, Heather Heyer, being killed.


Boston free speech protests: Far-right demonstrators 'outnumbered 10 to 1 by anti-fascists'

Boston free speech protests: Far-right demonstrators 'outnumbered 10 to 1 by anti-fascists' Far-right demonstrators in Boston appeared to be greatly outnumbered by their opponents - perhaps as much as ten to one - as the city braced for two competing rallies. The Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, issued an appeal to the many thousands of people taking part in the two events to be peaceful and show respect. The events were taking place a week after clashes at a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in more than 20 people being injured and one young woman, Heather Heyer, being killed.


Boston free speech protests: Far-right demonstrators 'outnumbered 10 to 1 by anti-fascists'

Boston free speech protests: Far-right demonstrators 'outnumbered 10 to 1 by anti-fascists' Far-right demonstrators in Boston appeared to be greatly outnumbered by their opponents - perhaps as much as ten to one - as the city braced for two competing rallies. The Mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, issued an appeal to the many thousands of people taking part in the two events to be peaceful and show respect. The events were taking place a week after clashes at a white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, that resulted in more than 20 people being injured and one young woman, Heather Heyer, being killed.


Spain hunts suspect over Barcelona carnage

Spain hunts suspect over Barcelona carnage Spanish police on Saturday hunted for a Moroccan man suspected to have carried out one of two terror attacks that killed 14 people, injured 120 more and and plunged the country into shock and grief. Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said the cell behind the carnage in the holiday cities of Barcelona and Cambrils had been "dismantled," although local authorities took a more cautious tone. Police said they had cast a dragnet for 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub.


Spain hunts suspect over Barcelona carnage

Spain hunts suspect over Barcelona carnage Spanish police on Saturday hunted for a Moroccan man suspected to have carried out one of two terror attacks that killed 14 people, injured 120 more and and plunged the country into shock and grief. Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said the cell behind the carnage in the holiday cities of Barcelona and Cambrils had been "dismantled," although local authorities took a more cautious tone. Police said they had cast a dragnet for 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub.


Spain hunts suspect over Barcelona carnage

Spain hunts suspect over Barcelona carnage Spanish police on Saturday hunted for a Moroccan man suspected to have carried out one of two terror attacks that killed 14 people, injured 120 more and and plunged the country into shock and grief. Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said the cell behind the carnage in the holiday cities of Barcelona and Cambrils had been "dismantled," although local authorities took a more cautious tone. Police said they had cast a dragnet for 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub.


Tribes hope for renewal in solar eclipse; not all will watch

Tribes hope for renewal in solar eclipse; not all will watch FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — While much of the country gawks at the solar eclipse, Bobbieann Baldwin will be inside with her children, shades drawn.


Nearly 600 dead in S. Asia floods

Nearly 600 dead in S. Asia floods Nearly 600 people have died and millions have been affected by monsoon floods in South Asia, officials said Saturday, as relief and rescue operations continued. Indian authorities sought military help in two districts of northern Uttar Pradesh state after fresh heavy rains left hundreds of villages marooned. "We have sought army's help to reach out to the affected people," T P Gupta, a senior official from the state's disaster management authority, told AFP.


Nearly 600 dead in S. Asia floods

Nearly 600 dead in S. Asia floods Nearly 600 people have died and millions have been affected by monsoon floods in South Asia, officials said Saturday, as relief and rescue operations continued. Indian authorities sought military help in two districts of northern Uttar Pradesh state after fresh heavy rains left hundreds of villages marooned. "We have sought army's help to reach out to the affected people," T P Gupta, a senior official from the state's disaster management authority, told AFP.


Nearly 600 dead in S. Asia floods

Nearly 600 dead in S. Asia floods Nearly 600 people have died and millions have been affected by monsoon floods in South Asia, officials said Saturday, as relief and rescue operations continued. Indian authorities sought military help in two districts of northern Uttar Pradesh state after fresh heavy rains left hundreds of villages marooned. "We have sought army's help to reach out to the affected people," T P Gupta, a senior official from the state's disaster management authority, told AFP.


Pakistan holds state funeral for German nun who fought leprosy

Pakistan holds state funeral for German nun who fought leprosy Pakistani soldiers on Saturday carried the flag-draped coffin of German-born Catholic nun Ruth Pfau to a state funeral where she was honored after devoting her life to eradicating leprosy in the country. Widely known as Pakistan's Mother Teresa, Pfau died last week in the southern city of Karachi at age 87. Mourners paid their last respects as Pfau's coffin was carried to the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre that she founded before being taken on to St. Patrick's Cathedral for the official service.


Pakistan holds state funeral for German nun who fought leprosy

Pakistan holds state funeral for German nun who fought leprosy Pakistani soldiers on Saturday carried the flag-draped coffin of German-born Catholic nun Ruth Pfau to a state funeral where she was honored after devoting her life to eradicating leprosy in the country. Widely known as Pakistan's Mother Teresa, Pfau died last week in the southern city of Karachi at age 87. Mourners paid their last respects as Pfau's coffin was carried to the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre that she founded before being taken on to St. Patrick's Cathedral for the official service.


Pakistan holds state funeral for German nun who fought leprosy

Pakistan holds state funeral for German nun who fought leprosy Pakistani soldiers on Saturday carried the flag-draped coffin of German-born Catholic nun Ruth Pfau to a state funeral where she was honored after devoting her life to eradicating leprosy in the country. Widely known as Pakistan's Mother Teresa, Pfau died last week in the southern city of Karachi at age 87. Mourners paid their last respects as Pfau's coffin was carried to the Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre that she founded before being taken on to St. Patrick's Cathedral for the official service.


How Tough Mudder and its 'adult obstacle courses' became a £100m business

How Tough Mudder and its 'adult obstacle courses' became a £100m business One Sunday morning, Will Dean informed his girlfriend Katie: “I am going to electrocute thousands of people.” Unfazed, she continued reading her newspaper. But the Sheffield-born founder of Tough Mudder – the now-globally successful obstacle course series which comes to Gloucestershire’s Badminton Estate this weekend – was devilishly serious. “I started calling engineering companies, saying: ‘Hello, we’re Tough Mudder, we want to shock people with electricity,’” explains Dean, 36, who launched his first “weekend obstacle course for adults” in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in May 2010, after studying a MBA at Harvard Business School. “You’d get a pause and then the line would go dead. People thought they were being pranked.” In the Tough Mudder innovations lab, human guinea pigs spend their mornings running through hay bales and dipping their extremities in buckets of ice The obstacle called Electroshock Therapy, which involves running through wires fizzing with 10,000 volts (triple the sting of your average electric fence), is now the event’s signature challenge. “As CEO, I have a unique role in all this because I am also the majority shareholder. People said: “Will, we can’t do this.” I was saying: “Yes, we can. We can have a board meeting and get it approved in two seconds. Look, it just happened…’” Dean spent five years working as a UK counter-terrorism officer in the Middle East and Afghanistan until, stifled by bureaucracy, he sought entrepreneurial fulfilment. His Harvard tutors called his business plan “optimistic”. At the inaugural edition, he prayed for 500 customers and got 4,500. There are now 130 annual Tough Mudder events in 11 countries with 3 million entrants worldwide so far. This weekend’s clientele have paid up to £139 to take on a 10- to 12-mile course littered with tunnels, nets, walls, fire, ice and mud. The company’s annual revenues now exceed $100m. Mud Run Electroshock Wire Caught on Neck 00:27 Obstacles are conjured up at an “Innovation Lab” in Pennsylvania where human guinea pigs spend their mornings running through hay bales and dipping their extremities in buckets of ice. Cry Baby, an obstacle which requires people to crawl through eye-watering smoke, was tested by spraying staff with homemade tear gas. Spider Box (a pit full of tarantulas) and Acid Rain (a container of floating acid bubbles) didn’t make the cut. “The Innovation Lab is as crazy as it sounds,” says Dean. “I joke that you will never get a Nobel Prize unless you test it on yourself. We start by saying: let’s think of the unthinkable. We finish by saying: now we have to make this work in Dubai, Germany and Mexico and get several thousand people of all shapes and sizes through in one hour. It is a strange remit.” Splashdown: a Tough Mudder comptetitor comes to grief Credit: Ben Birchall /PA Obstacle races have become wildly popular, with 5 million people in 40 countries taking part in events each year. Tough Mudder attracts a mix of couples, families, friends, work colleagues, students and executives. “The mud is a leveller,” says Dean. But why pay money to endure manufactured suffering? Dean believes the trend may be in part a reaction to our risk-averse society, with desk-bound workers seeking raw experiences to share on social media and in pub chats. But he insists the benefits are real. “I believe in challenging oneself to take on new things and I believe that is the secret to developing confidence. In a funny way, running through electric wires gives people the confidence to take on other challenges and changes in their life.” Tough Mudder's latest obstacles 01:05 He says Tough Mudder’s fun values have helped them outsmart rivals like Spartan Race, launched by Joe De Sena, a former Wall Street trader, in 2007. Miss an obstacle at Spartan Race and you have to do 30 burpees. At ToughMudder, nobody cares. Spartan Race times and ranks all contestants (accountability is the real secret to better health, insists De Sena), but Dean refuses, haunted by a 2008 triathlon when time-conscious athletes wouldn’t stop to help him unjam the zip of his wetsuit. “My belief came from me saying: I would do this. My friends would do this. I genuinely believe there is a market for a race that is not a race.” There are now 130 annual Tough Mudder events in 11 countries, with 3 million entrants worldwide so far Credit:  Andrew Crowley Dean now lives in New York with his lawyer wife Katie and their one-year-old daughter, Isobel. He still tackles the courses himself and joins in “Breakfast Club” workouts at the company’s Brooklyn HQ. His events deliberately inspire this same sense of community – what he calls his “tribe”. He hates seeing runners plodding side-by-side on gym treadmills and never speaking. His event forces you to seek help from strangers to scale walls and nets. “Tough Mudder gives you a sense of personal accomplishment, a sense of a team and being a part of something bigger than yourself, and hopefully a sense of fun.” He is not surprised it has proven popular in the UK. “More than any other culture, we believe in not taking ourselves too seriously. In our school sports, we have second and third teams. No American would play in that. It would be an embarrassment. You do get differences around the world. Germans ask six times more customer service questions. Australians sign up last-minute. But it’s a bit like kids and ice cream – it’s universal in its appeal.” Tough Mudder - are you tough enough? Next month, Dean is publishing a new business book, It Takes a Tribe, which analyses the social psychology, corporate theory and personal stories behind his success. It also documents the fierce battles that shaped the company. Dean and De Sena used to fly provocative advertising banners over each other’s events. De Sena once declared in an interview: “There’s not a person on this planet I despise more than Will Dean.” They have since bonded over lunch, but the rivalry bubbles away. “I have a lot of respect for Joe De Sena, as much as I tease him. I have said before when asked if we have anything in common: yes, we both wake up every morning and the first thing we think about is Tough Mudder. But I do think the rival philosophy has meant we ended up creating two companies which superficially may seem similar, but are very different.” “Tough Mudder gives you a sense of personal accomplishment, a sense of a team and being a part of something bigger than yourself," says founder Will Dean Credit: Andrew Crowley More troubling was the multimillion dollar lawsuit Dean faced in 2010. Billy Wilson, a former soldier who launched Tough Guy, an obstacle course in Wolverhampton in 1987, had granted Dean access to his company information for his Harvard studies and then accused him of stealing his idea. Dean countersued for defamation. After a vitriolic battle, the pair agreed a confidential settlement in 2011, with Dean reportedly paying $725,000. “There is only so much I can say, but one thing I can say is that we had to literally quadruple our pace. We weren’t just fighting for the survival of the company. Suddenly everything was on the line: personal bankruptcy, reputation. It was incredibly stressful. But it is part of the narrative now. I don’t think we would be as ambitious were it not for that experience.” The Four Phases | Chris Hall's Tough Mudder Workout Prep Aware of the perennial need to innovate, Dean has in recent years added events like Mini-Mudder (for kids) and World’s Toughest Mudder (a 24-hour elite event). He has signed television deals with CBS and Sky Sports, and he is now launching Tough Mudder boot camps around the UK, offering high-intensity, 45-minute group workouts. “There are a few things in society right now which are worrying,” he explains. “Obesity and diabetes rates are up, loneliness is up, people spend more time on social media and less time with friends. It all comes back to our mission to grow a global tribe. The boot camps are the local community hub and the event is the pilgrimage when the tribe comes together. I don’t pretend we are curing cancer. But I do think in our own small way we are making the world a better place.” For event details, go to toughmudder.co.uk. Jeep has launched a limited edition Tough Mudder Renegade: jeep.co.uk/tough-mudder


How Tough Mudder and its 'adult obstacle courses' became a £100m business

How Tough Mudder and its 'adult obstacle courses' became a £100m business One Sunday morning, Will Dean informed his girlfriend Katie: “I am going to electrocute thousands of people.” Unfazed, she continued reading her newspaper. But the Sheffield-born founder of Tough Mudder – the now-globally successful obstacle course series which comes to Gloucestershire’s Badminton Estate this weekend – was devilishly serious. “I started calling engineering companies, saying: ‘Hello, we’re Tough Mudder, we want to shock people with electricity,’” explains Dean, 36, who launched his first “weekend obstacle course for adults” in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in May 2010, after studying a MBA at Harvard Business School. “You’d get a pause and then the line would go dead. People thought they were being pranked.” In the Tough Mudder innovations lab, human guinea pigs spend their mornings running through hay bales and dipping their extremities in buckets of ice The obstacle called Electroshock Therapy, which involves running through wires fizzing with 10,000 volts (triple the sting of your average electric fence), is now the event’s signature challenge. “As CEO, I have a unique role in all this because I am also the majority shareholder. People said: “Will, we can’t do this.” I was saying: “Yes, we can. We can have a board meeting and get it approved in two seconds. Look, it just happened…’” Dean spent five years working as a UK counter-terrorism officer in the Middle East and Afghanistan until, stifled by bureaucracy, he sought entrepreneurial fulfilment. His Harvard tutors called his business plan “optimistic”. At the inaugural edition, he prayed for 500 customers and got 4,500. There are now 130 annual Tough Mudder events in 11 countries with 3 million entrants worldwide so far. This weekend’s clientele have paid up to £139 to take on a 10- to 12-mile course littered with tunnels, nets, walls, fire, ice and mud. The company’s annual revenues now exceed $100m. Mud Run Electroshock Wire Caught on Neck 00:27 Obstacles are conjured up at an “Innovation Lab” in Pennsylvania where human guinea pigs spend their mornings running through hay bales and dipping their extremities in buckets of ice. Cry Baby, an obstacle which requires people to crawl through eye-watering smoke, was tested by spraying staff with homemade tear gas. Spider Box (a pit full of tarantulas) and Acid Rain (a container of floating acid bubbles) didn’t make the cut. “The Innovation Lab is as crazy as it sounds,” says Dean. “I joke that you will never get a Nobel Prize unless you test it on yourself. We start by saying: let’s think of the unthinkable. We finish by saying: now we have to make this work in Dubai, Germany and Mexico and get several thousand people of all shapes and sizes through in one hour. It is a strange remit.” Splashdown: a Tough Mudder comptetitor comes to grief Credit: Ben Birchall /PA Obstacle races have become wildly popular, with 5 million people in 40 countries taking part in events each year. Tough Mudder attracts a mix of couples, families, friends, work colleagues, students and executives. “The mud is a leveller,” says Dean. But why pay money to endure manufactured suffering? Dean believes the trend may be in part a reaction to our risk-averse society, with desk-bound workers seeking raw experiences to share on social media and in pub chats. But he insists the benefits are real. “I believe in challenging oneself to take on new things and I believe that is the secret to developing confidence. In a funny way, running through electric wires gives people the confidence to take on other challenges and changes in their life.” Tough Mudder's latest obstacles 01:05 He says Tough Mudder’s fun values have helped them outsmart rivals like Spartan Race, launched by Joe De Sena, a former Wall Street trader, in 2007. Miss an obstacle at Spartan Race and you have to do 30 burpees. At ToughMudder, nobody cares. Spartan Race times and ranks all contestants (accountability is the real secret to better health, insists De Sena), but Dean refuses, haunted by a 2008 triathlon when time-conscious athletes wouldn’t stop to help him unjam the zip of his wetsuit. “My belief came from me saying: I would do this. My friends would do this. I genuinely believe there is a market for a race that is not a race.” There are now 130 annual Tough Mudder events in 11 countries, with 3 million entrants worldwide so far Credit:  Andrew Crowley Dean now lives in New York with his lawyer wife Katie and their one-year-old daughter, Isobel. He still tackles the courses himself and joins in “Breakfast Club” workouts at the company’s Brooklyn HQ. His events deliberately inspire this same sense of community – what he calls his “tribe”. He hates seeing runners plodding side-by-side on gym treadmills and never speaking. His event forces you to seek help from strangers to scale walls and nets. “Tough Mudder gives you a sense of personal accomplishment, a sense of a team and being a part of something bigger than yourself, and hopefully a sense of fun.” He is not surprised it has proven popular in the UK. “More than any other culture, we believe in not taking ourselves too seriously. In our school sports, we have second and third teams. No American would play in that. It would be an embarrassment. You do get differences around the world. Germans ask six times more customer service questions. Australians sign up last-minute. But it’s a bit like kids and ice cream – it’s universal in its appeal.” Tough Mudder - are you tough enough? Next month, Dean is publishing a new business book, It Takes a Tribe, which analyses the social psychology, corporate theory and personal stories behind his success. It also documents the fierce battles that shaped the company. Dean and De Sena used to fly provocative advertising banners over each other’s events. De Sena once declared in an interview: “There’s not a person on this planet I despise more than Will Dean.” They have since bonded over lunch, but the rivalry bubbles away. “I have a lot of respect for Joe De Sena, as much as I tease him. I have said before when asked if we have anything in common: yes, we both wake up every morning and the first thing we think about is Tough Mudder. But I do think the rival philosophy has meant we ended up creating two companies which superficially may seem similar, but are very different.” “Tough Mudder gives you a sense of personal accomplishment, a sense of a team and being a part of something bigger than yourself," says founder Will Dean Credit: Andrew Crowley More troubling was the multimillion dollar lawsuit Dean faced in 2010. Billy Wilson, a former soldier who launched Tough Guy, an obstacle course in Wolverhampton in 1987, had granted Dean access to his company information for his Harvard studies and then accused him of stealing his idea. Dean countersued for defamation. After a vitriolic battle, the pair agreed a confidential settlement in 2011, with Dean reportedly paying $725,000. “There is only so much I can say, but one thing I can say is that we had to literally quadruple our pace. We weren’t just fighting for the survival of the company. Suddenly everything was on the line: personal bankruptcy, reputation. It was incredibly stressful. But it is part of the narrative now. I don’t think we would be as ambitious were it not for that experience.” The Four Phases | Chris Hall's Tough Mudder Workout Prep Aware of the perennial need to innovate, Dean has in recent years added events like Mini-Mudder (for kids) and World’s Toughest Mudder (a 24-hour elite event). He has signed television deals with CBS and Sky Sports, and he is now launching Tough Mudder boot camps around the UK, offering high-intensity, 45-minute group workouts. “There are a few things in society right now which are worrying,” he explains. “Obesity and diabetes rates are up, loneliness is up, people spend more time on social media and less time with friends. It all comes back to our mission to grow a global tribe. The boot camps are the local community hub and the event is the pilgrimage when the tribe comes together. I don’t pretend we are curing cancer. But I do think in our own small way we are making the world a better place.” For event details, go to toughmudder.co.uk. Jeep has launched a limited edition Tough Mudder Renegade: jeep.co.uk/tough-mudder


Violence erupts between white nationalists, counterprotestors in Charlottesville: Part 5

Violence erupts between white nationalists, counterprotestors in Charlottesville: Part 5 White nationalists had gathered in the Virginia city to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.


Violence erupts between white nationalists, counterprotestors in Charlottesville: Part 5

Violence erupts between white nationalists, counterprotestors in Charlottesville: Part 5 White nationalists had gathered in the Virginia city to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.


Violence erupts between white nationalists, counterprotestors in Charlottesville: Part 5

Violence erupts between white nationalists, counterprotestors in Charlottesville: Part 5 White nationalists had gathered in the Virginia city to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.


Venezuela's ousted chief prosecutor flees to Colombia

Venezuela's ousted chief prosecutor flees to Colombia BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Venezuela's ousted chief prosecutor and her husband — two of President Nicolas Maduro's most outspoken critics — fled the country and landed Friday afternoon in Colombia.


Venezuela's ousted chief prosecutor flees to Colombia

Venezuela's ousted chief prosecutor flees to Colombia BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Venezuela's ousted chief prosecutor and her husband — two of President Nicolas Maduro's most outspoken critics — fled the country and landed Friday afternoon in Colombia.


Canada struggles with refugee surge from US

Canada struggles with refugee surge from US Soldiers busily assemble tents with wooden floors, lighting and heating in Canada's Quebec province near the US border to temporarily house a surge in asylum seekers from the United States. Children run between rows and rows of the military green tents as their parents line up to speak with immigration officials and file refugee claims. Most of the new arrivals are Haitians who face expulsion from the United States at the end of the year.


Expert: Arkansas may have reliable source of execution drug

Expert: Arkansas may have reliable source of execution drug LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A death penalty expert says Arkansas' recent purchase of a lethal injection drug — in a small amount and at a cheap price — suggests the state has found a reliable supplier to help it move 30 inmates from death row to the execution chamber.


Expert: Arkansas may have reliable source of execution drug

Expert: Arkansas may have reliable source of execution drug LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A death penalty expert says Arkansas' recent purchase of a lethal injection drug — in a small amount and at a cheap price — suggests the state has found a reliable supplier to help it move 30 inmates from death row to the execution chamber.


Expert: Arkansas may have reliable source of execution drug

Expert: Arkansas may have reliable source of execution drug LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A death penalty expert says Arkansas' recent purchase of a lethal injection drug — in a small amount and at a cheap price — suggests the state has found a reliable supplier to help it move 30 inmates from death row to the execution chamber.


Judge rejects bid by Polanski's 1977 rape victim to end case

Judge rejects bid by Polanski's 1977 rape victim to end case A Los Angeles judge on Friday rejected a request by the woman who was raped by director Roman Polanski 40 years ago to have the criminal case against him dismissed. The ruling follows the first appearance in June in the case by Samantha Geimer, who was 13 years old when Polanski sexually assaulted her in Los Angeles in 1977.


No Human Remains Found In Search For Natalee Holloway: Prosecutor

No Human Remains Found In Search For Natalee Holloway: Prosecutor Dave Holloway, father of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, said on national television this week that he found human bones in Aruba, where his daughter vanished a dozen years ago, and submitted them for DNA testing.


No Human Remains Found In Search For Natalee Holloway: Prosecutor

No Human Remains Found In Search For Natalee Holloway: Prosecutor Dave Holloway, father of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, said on national television this week that he found human bones in Aruba, where his daughter vanished a dozen years ago, and submitted them for DNA testing.


No Human Remains Found In Search For Natalee Holloway: Prosecutor

No Human Remains Found In Search For Natalee Holloway: Prosecutor Dave Holloway, father of missing Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, said on national television this week that he found human bones in Aruba, where his daughter vanished a dozen years ago, and submitted them for DNA testing.


Huge Confederate flag near Interstate is one man's mission

Huge Confederate flag near Interstate is one man's mission TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Marion Lambert is unapologetic about the abundance of Confederate flags that surround him.


Huge Confederate flag near Interstate is one man's mission

Huge Confederate flag near Interstate is one man's mission TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Marion Lambert is unapologetic about the abundance of Confederate flags that surround him.