Last Week Tough Mudder sent out a blog to their World's Toughest Mudder athletes changing the prize structure for the team events. Below is from Tough Mudder HQ and an open letter for professional obstacle racer Miguel Medina.
Due to high levels of interest in the exciting new National Team Relay category and with the desire to constantly evolve and improve the overall event, we’ve removed the prizing money from the regular 2+ team category and shifted prize money to deepen the overall pool for the National Team Relay. With over a dozen teams from countries around the globe already registered into the National Team Relay category, we’re expecting this competition to be a fierce and exciting new addition to this year’s event. The updated prizing for World’s Toughest Mudder 2017 competition is as follows:
WTM 2017 Prizing & Awards (USD)
Top Male (Individual)
Top Female (Individual)
National Team Relay (4+)
100 Miles (Indiv. Female)
110 Miles (Indiv. Male)
Now, this does not mean the 2+ Team category is going away, and as always we will support and encourage athletes declaring and running as a team. The spirit of this event has always been one of teamwork and shared, brutal suffering, whether running alone or with your drinking buddies. Any athletes currently planning on running as a team who wish to sign up for the National Team Relay category can do so through this link. Be advised – the National Team Relay bibs are now on a first-come, first-served basis, so sign up quick if you’d like to try this new format. Some general information about the competition can be found here.
In response to this former team race winner, Miguel Medina wrote this open letter to Will Dean and Tough Mudder HQ.
An Open Letter to Will Dean and TMHQ:
I can’t believe we are less than a month out from our final dance in the desert. For the last time, we line up at Lake Henderson and hear Sean Corvelle ask us “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” 2017 has brought some amazing changes and accomplishments on behalf of Tough Mudder and its athletes. From the introduction of the Holy Grail to competitive categories such as Tougher and Toughest Mudder, along with your epic short course introduction TMX, Tough Mudder has made waves in the world of OCR and its communities. You’ve created a tribe that has bonds that extend beyond individual athletic prowess, borders, or political ideologies with a pledge that asks us to place teamwork and camaraderie before anything else. For this, I want to say thank you.
Thank you for giving us an event that is the manifestation of the human spirit in the face of adversity. That with heart and desire we can overcome sandstorms, freezing temperatures, and that little voice in our head that begs us to stop while we continue to push our bodies beyond their known limits. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make unbreakable bonds with others on that same road through adversity.
In 2014, I was fortunate enough to partner with three of my best friends to end up winning the Team Division of World’s Toughest Mudder and whether we look back to the 2014 team competition, or to last year’s team competition, there has always been a constant truth: the two-man (or four-man) competition is based on the fundamental principles of Tough Mudder to the fullest.
This year, by removing the prize money, you are devaluing the purpose of the two-man event and the effort and energy it takes to complete such a harrowing course with no allocated rest time. It feels like this may be a business move to attract more competitors and TV time, but ultimately you are making a last minute decision without considering the community, its athletes, and the core of this event. This seems both hasty and unprofessional and is, quite frankly, infuriating given that many of us have been training for close to a year.
Many athletes who would be racing in the two-man competition plan on registering the day of or are still waiting for their WTM registration after placing appropriately at Toughest (myself included). We dance in the desert together for 24 hours or more- rising, falling, bonding, overcoming and pushing together with a UNIFIED goal. To finish, to win, and to be recognized for our accomplishments with the legitimacy of added prize money is not just about the monetary value, but recognizing the team as the original basis for the idea on which TM stands. Reinstating the prize money also means a shot at compensation for the inevitable debt incurred when training for this type of race. I implore you to reconsider.
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