This blog will be about my experience at the World's Toughest Mudder event. As my very first experience at an event like this, I definitely learned a lot! In future blogs I will detail about things that worked, along with things that didn't work, but today will mainly be a description of what I experienced at the event and how the World's Toughest Mudder stacked up against your regular Tough Mudder events.
I ended up completing 2 laps of the course in just under 7 hours (about 30 minute rest between laps). I will give my insight into each obstacle and lap below.
The Start (0:35-3:19 in video above)
It was pretty humbling at the start of the race being surrounded by so many fit individuals. It was pretty remarkable to think that after all of the Tough Mudder events held in 2012 (over 450,000 participants), that I was standing in a crowd of just over 1300 of the best Mudders!
There was a great atmosphere and mood in the crowd, especially when there was gratitude given to the military personal in attendance. The speech given before the race was definitely moving. Reminding us all of the sacrifices folks make every day, not only in the military, but also those fighting illness or disease, and that we have this opportunity to test our mental and physical strength. It was quite inspiring!
Once the race began, there was a good mile or so of running through some mud and water before hitting the first obstacle.
Cliffhanger (3:20-3:29 in video above)
This obstacle was not much of a challenge on the first lap. I tried to get out of the starting gate somewhere in the front half of the pack, so not too many Mudders had traversed this hill at that point. By the time I reached this obstacle on the second lap, things were a bit more interesting, as the hill was a little worse for wear, but still not too much of a challenge to get up.
Berlin Walls 1
For those of you who have completed regular Tough Mudder events, you will be familiar with the Berlin Walls obstacle. There are 2 walls that you must get up and over, both being around 7 feet I believe. We are talking about the top echelon of competitors in this competition so people were flying over these walls like they were hardly there. Certainly not one of the most difficult obstacles on the course.
This obstacle was the first to have a "penalty", where if you could not get yourself over the walls, then you had to make your way through an "Arctic Enema" instead. I don't believe I saw anyone doing the Arctic Enema as I believe everyone was able to make it over the walls.
Kiss of Mud 1
Again, not the most physically demanding obstacle. You army crawl, or barrel roll, through mud, underneath barbed wire. I actually reached this obstacle and had an entire lane to myself so I tried the barrel roll technique. I wouldn't necessarily say that I made it through the obstacle any quicker, and ended up being dizzy by the time I reached the end, so I switched back to your standard army crawl for subsequent attempts at this obstacle.
One thing to note. I felt that this obstacle seemed considerably easier with the wetsuit and with lots of mud. I was able to slide on top of the mud much easier in the wetsuit, making the second time through this obstacle quite easy.
Rock Out with Your Block Out (new obstacle)
The next obstacle on the course involved carrying a standard cinder block along a hairpin loop. You would walk about 100m in one direction and then turn around and come back. Pretty basic stuff. If you have even a decent amount of strength this obstacle was a breeze.
Ah yes, good ol' Funky Monkey. The course was set up so that you actually did this obstacle twice. First time through in one direction, then the course looped back on itself and you ended up having to do it again a second time.
First time through this obstacle I made it with no problems at all. Second time through on the first lap was a totally different story. They had the second bout of Funky Monkey follow almost immediately after "Trench Warfare" so everyone was covered in mud, making for very slippery monkey bars. I fell in the water and had to take a short 1/8th mile penalty lap.
I would say that this was one of my most challenging obstacles (mentally) on the course because of how muddy the rungs became. It was very challenging to make it from one side to the other!
Underground tunnels that have a few sharp turns. The main difference I noticed here is how muddy these tunnels were. At the Toronto event that I competed in earlier this year, the tunnels were essentially bone-dry when crawled through.
These tunnels, on the other hand, had to have at least a foot of sloppy mud in them. As I said above, it made for a very interesting second bout of Funky Monkey.
Ladder to Hell (new obstacle) (3:30-3:53 in video above)
A relatively basic obstacle, but still requiring some coordination and strength to complete. I am not a huge fan of heights, so this one was interesting for me, but it wasn't too high that I felt unsafe at the top. Pretty basic really, climb up one side and then down the other!
I believe they had this obstacle at the side of a hill last year's WTM basically combining it with "Cliffhanger". This obstacle was pretty weak in my opinion. The design of it is a tight cargo net, about 50 feet long (approximately) securely fastened to the ground. You must crawl/walk/roll underneath the net. The idea here is that it forces you to stay low to the ground, potentially burning out your legs or other body parts depending on how you complete it.
This obstacle can be completed rather easily be bending over and walking under the net either sideways or backwards. The net should then slide right over top of your body.
Sometimes called by a different name, this obstacle requires climbing over and crawling under a series of logs. Nothing too exciting or different here when compared to your traditional Tough Mudder course.
Another 'staple' obstacle from regular Tough Mudder events, here you slide down a tube (head first) into some mudder water, and then crawl back out the other side, also heading up through a tube.
I felt as though the water on this obstacle was higher than usual. I actually had to fully submerge my head in order to get out of the 'down' tunnel. The toughest part about this obstacle is trying to get out of an inclined tube, while muddy and wet. Wearing a wet wetsuit certainly doesn't help the situation either...
Quote of the day:
"Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future."
- Denis Waitley
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