At the beginning of the year I hadn’t planned to travel to the USA to race, but at some point during the summer my plans changed and I found myself booking tickets across the pond. The new plan was to do the Tougher Mudder World Championships in Seattle before heading to Tahoe for the Spartan World Championships. With the Skyrunning world championships just the weekend before, this made a three weekend trifecta of world championship races.
Tough Mudder aren’t known for being races, but rather fun events to take part in that are not usually timed. They do have more endurance obstacle racing competitions, like their 8 hour or 24 hour events, but racing around their usual 15km course was never something that was officially rewarded. This seems to have changed a bit this year, which saw me compete in the Tougher Mudder European Championships and now World Championships.
The course would be the usual 15 kilometers, with the favourite Tough Mudder obstacles. A few of these would be adapted slightly so they were possible to complete alone and at least one (the carry a buddy obstacle) wouldn’t be necessary. The organisers also said the racers could skip the electrocution obstacle if they liked…but I prefer to get my money’s worth.
Following the Skyrunning World Championships I came down with a cold. I had 4 days to get over it before I flew to Seattle, then a further 36 hours before the race would begin. Luckily, come the flight all that was left was an incredible amount of phlem and snot. The course was set to be flat and fast and not training through the sickness meant my legs were as fresh daisies, but my lungs and system felt like it was a petrol engine trying to run diesel.
The first obstacle pretty much decided the race; mud ditches that were dug so deep it was nearly impossible to get out alone. Starting my way through, Ryan Woods caught up by managing to jump some. I followed suit, and we therefore jumped the ones we could or helped each other up the ones we couldn’t. This gave us a gap on the rest of the field and the final few ditches gave me a gap on Ryan.
Even though course was two laps, some obstacles, like the ditches and nets, we would do on both rounds and others we would just have to do on one of the laps. The second lap included the more hanging, technical obstacles. With the wet weather it was never a sure thing I could do these penalty free, so I worked on building my lead to over a minute on the first go round. With some relief, I made it through everything fine on the second lap, finally crossing the line still ahead taking just over an hour.
A short holiday to Yosemite National Park before making my way to Lake Tahoe; let’s see if 6 days of acclimatisation can improve my chances at this notoriously hard event.