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Tough Mudder Pittsburgh made its return to the Pittsburgh area last week. Coopers Lake Campground hosted the event for the second year in a row. Some weather that rolled through the area Saturday night helped create some muddier conditions than those experienced on Saturday. For anyone considering which day of the weekend to run, I can try and shed some light on the differences between a Saturday run versus one on Sunday.

20160911_131946On Saturday, large crowds were on hand for the 10.5 mile course. Temperatures were in the mid 80’s and the sun was shining all day. Crowds that day were expected to be at or around 8,000 participants. The course offered the same obstacles that have been at all of the courses I have run this year. Teamwork was the theme of the day as the biggest smiles were found at Blockness Monster, Pyramid Scheme and Everest. Each of these obstacles demanded communication and the willingness to sacrifice course time to help additional Mudders. One of the downsides to running on Saturday is that the crowds tend to be larger. Some of the obstacles can have lines build up that cause you to lose any rhythm you may have had on the course. A major advantage to running on Saturday is that those obstacles that require a helping hand are always filled with legionnaires assisting those in need.

Running a Tough Mudder on Sunday is a very different experience. The crowds shrink down to about 2,000 people for the entire day. While 2,000 people sounds like a lot, there are often obstacles with only one or two people around to help out. There was a point on Sunday where I had to wait at Blockness Monster for a few minutes for enough people to complete the obstacle. I also noticed on Sunday that some obstacles have really taken a beating from the day before. The walls were mud-caked and very slippery. The most disappointing thing I noticed was that the mud mile was cut down the middle making this an easy challenge to almost walk through at times. Sunday Tough Mudders have no lines to wait in, and most obstacles allow you to get a “do-over” with the smaller crowds and openness of the course.

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It really boils down to what you really want to get out of your Tough Mudder experience. If you want the energy from the huge crowds and don’t mind waiting in the lines, then Saturday is the day for you. If you are more concerned about your time and want to complete the course as quickly as possible and maybe want to try a few of the obstacles a couple of times, Sunday may be the better option.

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I had the privilege of running Saturday with three gentlemen whom I had never met until the second mile on the course. Getting to spend the next several hours learning about them and their families made this a memorable experience for me. Seeing a 69-year-old man attack each obstacle with determination is inspiring! While not every obstacle was conquered that day, total effort was spent at each and every obstacle. It is the people you meet at events like this that really make OCR’s an amazing experience.

Rating: 3.5/5

 


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