Playing with fire, barbed wire and beer

A year ago, Tough Mudder was a semifinalist in the Harvard Business School’s annual Business Plan Contest. A British student named Will Dean thought he could attract 500 people to run a grueling race through mud and man-made obstacles. Professors generally considered the plan too optimistic. But on Sunday, 4,500 will pay $100 each to compete in a race that requires negotiating a seven-mile obstacle course of muddy hills, cold water and flaming bales of straw near Allentown, Pa.

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