It goes without saying, when you hear the name “Tough Mudder” you picture getting down and dirty. The Pittsburgh event for my second year in a row has delivered big time, only in two different ways. Last year’s event located at Powerline Park, in Southeastern Ohio, was mud drenched throughout the course. It was my first try at any OCR and I thought they would all be as muddy. Unfortunately however, I was wrong. Most of the Tough Mudders this year in the Mid-Atlantic have been on the dry side with spots of mud only here and there, leaving Mudders with a thirst for more mud in their mouth.
Tough Mudder Pittsburgh, located this year at Coopers Lake Campground about an hour north of the city will be remembered as the mud mile Mudder! The first obstacle of the day was the famous mud mile 2.0, guaranteeing Mudder s to begin their day with a fresh coating of mud to act as a sunscreen for the beautiful late August weekend.
This mud mile was different than any other I have experienced in that it was seven trenches wide and most of the trenches on Saturday morning were around nine feet deep. This prevented the elite Mudder from circumnavigating the mile on his/her own and required the help of not only one person but small groups to help out. This obstacle, without a line easily took 30 minutes to complete, but there was no complaining on the course.
Everyone seemed to be talking about the mud mile while drinking their Shock-Top at the Mudders Village. To make things even better, the designers of this course decided to make the mud mile a repeat bonus obstacle not listed on the map towards mile seven! To a true Mudder, this is awesome; getting to fully submerge yourself in mud at two different stages of the course is something I have been asking for all Summer.
The course itself as a whole was challenging. There was a nice mix of hills both in the open fields as well as a great use of the surrounding woods. The lake on sight at the event was only used for a bonus obstacle where you swam under a series of barrels. I am guessing that the owners of the campground didn’t want Tough Mudder to do too much damage to the ecosystem in and around the lake.
The obstacles themselves were challenging to both the upper and lower body. Here is one suggestion from this Mudder, put a little bit of spacing between obstacles where you get drenched and ones where precise grip is paramount. There were some safety issues with Berlin Walls and Balls to the Wall being too slippery. An event should be challenging, but the safety of the Mudders should be of highest priority. Mudders with me included struggled with Berlin Walls this event more because the walls were mud-slicked and not so much because of wall height or the training level of the Mudder.
As always, the volunteers were wonderful! People with smiles greeted us at every obstacle. On the back half of my second lap, the mud mile was empty except for a volunteer. He took the time to help me over the first few walls which was greatly appreciated. The wonderful volunteers have become a routine at all of the events over the last year. Another unique quality this course had been the castle that Mudders ran through in the opening mile of the race. It was something more geared for kids, but also unique to Tough Mudder.
Room for Improvement
On the negative side of things, Mudders were grumbling again over the t-shirt quality, or lack thereof in the Mudder Village. This event also ran out of headbands for some of the Legionnaires, hopefully, these “mistakes” are not sending people home with too sour of a taste after such a great course. The lasting memory that will remain with me from the “Tough Mudder Pittsburgh 2015” is the hellishly awesome mud mile and the great people that make this event a wonderful experience.
Have you done a Tough Mudder? Share and rate your own experience on our site…