World’s Toughest Mudder 2015 was an epic clusterf*ck from so many different angles. And yet it was absolutely perfect; magnificent even. – Me

Can’t you just taste the contradiction oozing out between each of the letters in that sentence? Good, then we’re off to a flying start. Needless to say, I f*ing loved and hated just about every second of this weekend, and can’t wait to do it again next year… and you should too*.


24 Hours of Glerf

I’m still at a loss for words to describe WTM2015, so I figured I’d make one up. Glerf is a perfect word for Las Vegas, it’s equal parts glee and barf, and best described as the feeling of relief when you don’t puke, yet realize you’re still out-of-your-mind intoxicated and not sure how you’re going to make it through the night. Vegas can do that to a person, so can WTM. 50-something miles with a few hundred obstacles can fill just about any athlete with a sense of glerf, (except the unsinkable Matty Gregg. Seriously, that ^&#%* dude smiled and laughed the whole time, something’s got to be deeply wrong with him) knowing they need to keep “embracing the suck” for hour after hour to reach their self-imposed goals.

I started out on Friday with the plan of just pulling together some media coverage WTM2015, and maybe taking a lap or two. I packed my wetsuit just in case, but was still skeptical about whether I’d get a chance to use it. As I was piloting the MRG RV somewhere in Kingman, Scott Keneally and I got into a conversation while he waited to for his Vegas-bound flight, and within minutes we’d hatched a plan for me to run along and coax him through 50 miles. Looks like I’d have some use for that wetsuit after all!


ken-cardboardFriday was a little bit nuts as about 2000 Mudders took over the first floor of the Westin at Lake Las Vegas. When I say “a little bit” I actually mean it; despite the long lines that queued from the main entrance all the way to the real ballroom folks were pretty content to stand and wait, some were even quite jovial. This is where I started to understand the Mudder mentality a little bit. When talking with Will Dean the following day, I actually understood what he meant when he explained that Tough Mudder is a community that’s totally different from the rest of OCR… but we’ll get to that later.

Registration was actually quick & painless once they opened the lines and rerouted the Pit Crews away from the athletes – TMHQ had to split them up like Jets and Sharks before some choreographed knife fight / dance went down. Truth be told, it was less of a “line” and much more akin to a receiving line at the end of a wedding; I got to meet hundreds of people I only knew from Facebook and spend quality time with some good friends. Hell, I even took part in some WTM ritual involving Ken Jacobus’ carboard cut-out. (don’t ask)

One of the great things about being “in the media” is usually not having to worry about registration much; usually I’ll get a press pass or bib at the info tent on the day of and it’s no big deal. Jodi Kovacs was the go-to resource for all of us media schlubs, and she was faaan-tastic. I watched her seamlessly orchestrate the interviews with Will Dean for all of us (MRG, ORM, Rise of the Sufferfests, all the international media, etc.), the parking of the MRG RV right by TMHQ, and answering every question with a smile and a confident answer. Huge thumbs-up, and I happily made her really uncomfortable by telling Will so right in front of her.

TMHQ crew & volunteers were helpful, friendly, and completely on the ball despite the thousands of bodies all anxiously awaiting their turn to pick up their bib, and buy some cool merch. Right about now I started adding check marks to my mental list of all the things Tough Mudder HQ seemed to be getting right, a list that grew as the next 2 days progressed.

The Venue

I’m a sucker for special treatment, and Jodie at TMHQ set us up with a great spot for the MRG RV, and I even got to spend the night right on the WTM course completely and totally alone. A little after midnight, I wandered around the course a little bit in shorts and a t-shirt to approximate how cold it actually would be on Saturday night mid-race. The temperatures were somewhere in the high 40’s so it wasn’t really that bad – but of course I hadn’t jumped in the 40-something degree water either.

The Lake Las Vegas WTM course is pretty similar to the landscape from a particular movie from my childhood – the desert of Tatooine. It’s actually quite remarkable how the “resort section” of Lake Las Vegas has lush green colf courses replete with water fountains, finely manicured lawns wrapping the easments from hotel to hotel. As soon as you reach the cul-de-sac at the top of the hill and enter Tough Mudder land there’s a dramatic shift in scenery:


Tatooine or World’s Toughest Mudder course?

Don’t get me wrong, the desert was absolutely perfect for this type of race, and I can’t imagine how less interesting this event was in New Jersey. Despite the fact that I remember reading that TM signed a 5-year lease on this property the rumor kept popping up throughout the weekend that 2016 would be back on the east coast, possibly at Raceway Park. I know I’m not in the minority of athletes who are hoping they stay right here for years to come.

The Course

Shit, this is turning into a race recap, and that’s absolutely not what I intended to do at all. So, let’s just sum it up like this:

Sandy, rocky desert w/hills, freezing f*ing cold water, and really cool obstacles followed by a jump off a 35-foot cliff into more cold water. Throw in some high winds that kicked up just after noon on Sunday and you’ve got yourself a WTM-style paaartaay.

Personally, I absolutely loved the course even though it completely kicked my ass. During the first lap, we got to run by all the obstacles, and get somewhat of an idea what we were in for next lap. That first “dry lap” is actually brilliant, as the WTM obstacles aren’t all that wide – in some cases there was only throughput for 2-3 athletes at a time (the Cliff during high winds) and the first 5 mile loop spread the competitors out. Aside from the huge backup at the Cliff at 2pm on Sunday, the longest line I witnessed was 5-6 athletes deep on King of the Swingers.

I’ve done a couple of multi-lap OCR’s before, and the joy of completing an obstacle is followed by either “I can’t wait to do that one again” or “shit, I have to do that one again”; I found myself saying the former on every obstacle I completed – except for the water crossings. During lap 2 our crew (Daniel Villarruel, Scott Keneally, Tod Brilliant, and myself) hadn’t changed into our wetsuits before the sun set, and for 2 of us it was a game-changer. There was a *lot* of cold water on the course, and way more swimming than I expected. Once the sun slipped behind the LV hills, there was no chance of getting warm in-between obstacles and many, many athletes joined Tod and I in the med tent to warm up, and were forced to donate our timing chip and call it a day.

Let me reiterate: I loved the course, and developed a raging case of FOMO while in the pits watching so many awesome athletes crush it. Once I got my core temp back up to 98.6º I really, really wanted to go back out there and play on some of the ingenious obstacles. Alas, my role had shifted into crewing and selfies with athletes.

24 Moments From WTM2015

Some of these moments are purely mine, some were shared with select athletes (who I may be betraying their trust right now), and the rest were universal to the WTM experience. And for my friends that somehow didn’t make it in this list, that’s purely because I had more fun hanging out with you rather than taking photos. (Trust me, that’s a good thing.) Here they are in no particular order:


1. Sean Corvelle *is* Tough Mudder for so many people, and was on the mic working hard for 24 hours straight – with a cold, and after emceeing the comedy show the night before. Always a pleasure seeing this dude. (


2. Waiting in a registration line ain’t no big thing when you have so many good friends to see! I’m lucky enough to see Shawn Chapele and Nina Acuña on a pretty regular basis at events!


3. I think this might be Chad Trammell, but in reality it was a little bit of everyone trying to get in the final lap as the dust storm started whipping up everything that wasn’t tied down


4. Awesome people will become a recurring thing in this post, as that’s what makes WTM magical. Morgan Mckay and Clo Godbout post-WTM chillin’ like normal


5. Mudders travel in packs: WTM athletes & crew representing MRG and Salsa Picante


6. Happy Muddymoon! This couple from the UK tied the knot on Saturday morning at the start line, then went out and tried to hit their 60-mile goals (after they changed outfits)


7. Mandatory Obstacle Completion… what a beautiful thing


8. Huge, theatrical obstacles. King of Swingers can cause a little bottleneck as only 12 athletes can get through it per minute, but it’s well worth the wait. A perfect blend of “Oh Shit!” and “I want to try again”


9. A Happy Amanda is a good Amanda. Amelia Boone is a rare unicorn who eats Pop Tarts and farts excellence. This year she claimed her 3rd WTM title despite trailing for over 40 miles. Don’t let this face fool you, she’s a tactical weapon.


10. Since we were in Vegas, we checked the odds on Scott Keneally making it 50 miles at the start, and the line was -10. By 2pm on Sunday, this Muppet proved all the haters and doubters wrong.


11. Pit Plan Excellence. Mark Jones provided his lovely (and pregnant) wife a the most comprehensive checklist we’ve ever seen – everything from electrolytes to pee breaks and even including pit-stop hugs.


12. Muddy Hugs from Sean Corvelle as shown by the mud on his back. Did I mention earlier that he’s a really great dude? I’m taking steps for him to outlive me just so he can read my eulogy.


13. Happy Pak. 2012 & 2013 WTM Champion Junyong Pak battled hypothermia last year, so this year he brought along his secret weapon: The Steamer. You can see the confidence in his face before we toe the start line.


14. I gave Clo this nickname, and was honored to see it inscribed on her WTM2015 bib. See mom, I told you I’d see my (nick) name in the Vegas lights.


15. The Dean of TM University. I’d never met Will Dean before Saturday, and now we’re pen pals. Ok, not really, but I raise a toast to what he’s created and genuinely hope to work with him more in the future.


16. Thalia and Melpomene. Actually, no. Amelia was mid-laugh along with Matty, but somehow I managed to capture the two of them doing their best comedy and tragedy mask impression.


17. Yancypants. Even the Energizer Bunny needs to change into comfy clothes and recharge, and here’s Yancy Culp after rocking 50 miles, throwing up some rock ‘n roll horns.


18. Megawatt smile after completing the Cliff, Daniel Villaureal realizes he’s going to make his 50 mile goal!


19. Big Bundle of Atkins. Even the greatest OCR athlete in the world is human, somewhere around 85 miles Team Sinergy’s pace had slowed to a crawl when Matt Murphy’s hips seized up, and Atkins, Albon, and Eric Batty (welcome to OCR, Eric) were forced to slow down, and 20 laps/$100k was out of reach


20. Give Your Teammate a Hand… or a few fingers. Jon’s hand after Ryan crushed it on an obstacle, and apparently he enjoyed the rush of adrenaline that comes from shearing all the skin off a few digits. Really, he actually said so.


21. The Only Prescription is More Corvelle. Sean’s TM Mohawk hat makes an appearance at 2pm, official finisher of 50 miles, Scott Keneally


22. From Sweden, With Love. If all Swedes are as awesome as Anna Lee Markstedy-O’Dwyer and Adam Egerblom, homey I’m packing my bags. Love seeing these guys!


23. Unsinkillian. Robert Killian, Jr. didn’t win, didn’t hit his (insane) goal (watch the video) and still didn’t seem to care. One of the great guys for sure, RBK has a day of rest after 65 miles of WTM before Best Ranger selection. 72 hours of torture… really.


24. Mudder on a Mission. Yeah, this is the best photo ever, I know. You’re welcome. Scott is 3.5 miles from hitting his 50 miles, and 15 seconds away from stealing my hat.