Daniel Villarruel went to Tough Mudder SoCal and got the story…
Tough Mudder 2.0 arrived in SoCal last weekend bringing along Classic Obstacles Revamped, New Obstacles, Camaraderie, Challenges, and Good old fashion OCR fun. Although, fun is an understatement . Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge an experience like no other. This was my first Tough Mudder and I was like a kid in a candy store feeding my addiction in an OCR Utopia. I completely lost myself in a bliss of OCR Euphoria. At the end of the day I found it difficult getting myself to leave.
TMHQ 2015 successfully launched 2.0 by innovating their classic core obstacles and integrating them with new favorites to compliment the TM experience. ” Everest, ” was literally raised 20 % taller making it even more challenging. This is where camaraderie and team work comes into play. For a newbie like myself it makes it almost necessary one to rely on your team mates on helping each other to reach the top of Everest. Another classic favorite, ” Funky Monkey, ” was also given a make over by incorporating a swinging bar mixed with a rig bar to traverse across. Not your typical monkey bars, this clever innovation requires some momentum and coordination making it Funky fun. Other classic obstacles included the Arctic Enema and the Shock Therapy.
In addition to the classics TM introduced new obstacles to the course like , ” King of Swingers, ” ” Cry Baby, ” and ” Birth Canal. ” Although King of Swingers made it's Debut at Worlds Toughest Mudder in 2014, this is it's introduction to the regular season TM course. ” Cry Baby” had me crying like a baby to get out as quick as possible. Crawling through a covered area filled with a mysterious gas that tickled my throat and caused teary eyes caused me a brief moment of panic since I'm claustrophobic . But that was all alleviated when I emerged from the gassy crawl and hugged it out with one of the volunteers. Of course I'm a sucker for hugs. Speaking of tight spaces going through the ” Birth Canal ” obstacle gave a whole new meaning to the term “tight squeeze.” Imagine crawling in a very tight space with the pressure and weight of a very large large water balloon pinning every inch of your body to the ground. I'm 5'10 ,165 lbs and it certainly challenged me trying to maneuver my way through the canal. Some of my larger Mudders I'm sure found it even more challenging. But hands down my favorite obstacle at Tough Mudder is ” King of Swingers, ” and I am not alone as most Mudders I spoke with felt the same. There's something empowering about leaping from a platform 20 ft off the ground to grab a trapeze bar and then swinging across to ring a bell mid air and then dropping into a pool of water. You know the feeling you get during and after having a dream that you can fly, well it's sort of like that. I had so much fun on King of Swingers that I did it five times. This is the best Obstacle in the industry that I've experienced so far.
Behind the scenes TMHQ has an innovative design team that is constantly brainstorming to bring to the course quality, fun, and challenging obstacles. Ben Johnson, Director of Global Relations at TMHQ, gave me insight to just how serious they are about creating the obstacles and creating an event that is a ,” visceral physical experience that bonds people, and pulls people together.” He says,
” We've got an innovation team at Tough Mudder that focuses on the experience just about year round. They come up with the creative ideas, they really spend a lot of time innovating what we've already designed and then focus on scaling it out through out the course of the year.”
The hard work and think tank at TM has paid off not only for it's Brand, but also for it's clientele both Veterans, or Legioneers rather , and also for newcomers to the sport. I've done a lot of OCRs , but TM by far is the most organized and well managed event that I have ever participated in.From the event staff and volunteers, to having the most water and hydration stations I've ever seen on a course. The meticulous attention to details such as course layout, obstacles, and participants is why TM is at the top of the OCR industry. But it goes beyond the planning and business aspect of creating a great event. The real success of TM stems from it's own Mantra which they not only preach, but follow. It's best explained by the voice of Tough Mudder, Sean Corvelle. At the start line of each wave Sean Corvelle starts with the Mudder Pledge emphazing that Tough Mudder is about, ” Team work and Camaraderie before course time, ”
Something else that Johnson mentioned that is at the heart of Tough Mudder's success is how people relate to each other and pull each other through the obstacles on the course. He says one of his favorite things that that he's ever heard after an event was,
” If everyone acted in the real world like they do on a Tough Mudder Course the world would be a better place. It brings out the best of people, helping strangers, taking the time to look out for somebody that they wouldn't otherwise. “
The philosophy of team work and Camaraderie resonates with the Tough Mudder community also adding to it's success. Two time participant Michelle Gillett says,
” Tough Mudder is centered around Team Work. Some of the obstacles you need to depend on one another to complete and I like that about Tough Mudder. I like that Tough Mudder says it's a challenge and not a race. Don't get me wrong I love competing for time but sometimes its nice to eliminate that and just do it for fun. Because OCRs are just that, FUN! “
The key word is FUN and I can testify that FUN was happening all over the 10.2 mile course at Glen Helen Race Way. Tough Mudder made excellent use of the terrain and the course design wasn't random obstacles scattered around, but rather a well developed and smart course layout that was fun, challenging, and encouraged team work when needed to overcome obstacles. After my talk with Johnson it was time for the obligatory post TM Free Beer provided by Shock Top. Because no Tough Mudder is complete without having a cold one so I'm told. Or in my case two.
As I was driving home into the sunset , (true story wait for it) with my windows down and my Tough Mudder head band still on my head, I looked out to the vehicle on my right and couldn't help but notice the guy also wearing a Tough Mudder head band. The driver looked over to me smiled, and without any exchange of words nodded his head. I in turn nodded back and with that I knew we had an understanding. And for me I left the Tough Mudder Course with a deeper understanding of what the Tough Mudder Experience is all about . It's about people coming together , sharing, and working together to overcome any obstacle on any course and in life. Because together, we are stronger in numbers and together we can accomplish anything, anywhere, at anytime.
Overall Rating: 5/5
Check out this week's episode of Obstacle and Adventure Weekly from Tough Mudder 2.0.
Obstacle and Adventure Weekly Episode 24 – Tough Mudder & Moun…Want to know what's up with Tough Mudder 2.0 this week's episode has the scoop on what's new at Tough Mudder this year. Plus some gear from Mountainsmith that is going to be on your wish list. All that and more this week on Obstacle and Adventure Weekly Posted by Obstacle and Adventure Weekly on Thursday, April 9, 2015
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