If you did a Tough Mudder this year, you probably came across some new obstacles – including Black Widow, Spread Eagle and Overtired. Tough Mudder is known for their challenging, yet fun obstacles with cheeky names. Each year they roll out new obstacles, this year, many of the new obstacles and updated obstacles (Funky Monkey to name one) came out of the all-female Obstacle Innovation Lab.
The lab is comprised of four women, who are in charge of new obstacles from the initial design of the obstacle, the construction, site operation and to the event direction. The goal of the lab is to make the Tough Mudder courses more dynamic and varied while retaining what Tough Mudder says are their core values are centered around challenge and personal accomplishment.
Rachel Norris, a Senior Manager of Event Services and team member of the Obstacle Innovation Lab, explained the goals of some of this year’s new obstacles.
“We have recognised the shift in the demographic taking part in our events, with participants now of all shapes, sizes and fitness abilities. We acknowledge that one size does not fit all so have introduced new elements this season to allow a variety of levels of challenge. Although our lab is run by females, we are looking at a more rounded approach to innovation with the hope to create greater enjoyment for all, whether you are a first-timer or a dedicated Mudder. Not all obstacles can be fit for just a 6ft tall bloke!”
Liz Fischer, another member of the team and the Tough Mudder European Operations Director, spoke about the all-female nature of the team.
“Being honest, we hadn’t set out to be an all-female team, and hadn’t actually recognised that until somebody pointed it out. We are a dynamic team, although, in my experience, the most practical and hands-on team members in the office also happen to be females.”
The new and revised obstacles are just the beginning of what’s coming out of the Innovation Lab. Norris said, “There are also other concepts we’re looking at testing with a view to introducing to events later in the season.”