The good times continued to roll in Colorado with the return of Tough Mudder after being canceled last year. The location was once again in the foothills of Littleton, Colorado. The years of having courses on the ski slopes in the mountains seem to be gone as all of the major race companies have moved away from the likes of Copper, Aspen, and Breckenridge. The atmosphere was electric as racers from all over were excited to be back on the course. There was rain in the forecast for later that day and the area had seen several days of rainfall in the previous few weeks, so the course was muddy and ready for everyone that toed the start line. Tough Mudder Colorado 2021 was nearly sold out and provided a triumphant return to racing for the area.
After having done over 30 Spartan Races and many others, this was the first time I took on a Tough Mudder. The course was set in the middle of a developing neighborhood in the foothills just outside of Denver. I was skeptical after having run many races in the mountains with a lot of elevation gain. However, TM was able to scratch out 1,000 ft of elevation gain across their 10-mile course. The biggest benefit of using the developing neighborhood was they were able to dig and move dirt around as needed. There was more mud and water on this course than all of the other local races combined. The recent rain also posed a different issue as it left the ground very uneven as different hoof prints and ripples caused by the wind and uneven drying made the course difficult to run on. There were many areas where it was nearly impossible to run without twisting an ankle. Overall, the course had a great design with the TM Classic runners completing a large loop outside of the 5K course and meeting back with those runners for the gauntlet of obstacles at the end.
This is where I was the most impressed with this race. The obstacles were much different than anything else I had encountered in all my years of running OCRs. The rigs were built taller, longer, and had more water underneath if you fell. The rolling mud was made in a way that you almost could not complete them without the help of a fellow Mudder and the infamous electroshock therapy did not disappoint at the finish line. Specifically, the Funky Monkey was one of the most fun obstacles I have had in recent years and presented quite the challenge for mud-soaked hands and being over 7 miles into the Classic course. Adding in the team aspect with obstacles like the Hero Carry, Blockness Monster, and Texas Hold’em was also new for me. It was a welcome change that made runners talk to each other and work together. One of the most formidable obstacles was the Mudderhorn that was erected directly over the entrance. Anyone entering or leaving the festival area was showered with falling dirt and mud as participants looked to finish the course. It was much taller than the A-frame or any cargo net I had climbed in the past. TM has an impressive collection of obstacles and after this race, I am eager to try them all.
Festival and Swag:
The festival area was one large party full of vendors and free things galore. Many racers stayed well after their heats to eat, drink, and talk to their fellow Mudders. The headband instead of a finisher’s medal was a new concept for me, but it was proudly worn by everyone in the festival area. Runners were made aware late the night before that the shipment of finisher’s shirts was delayed and that they would not be receiving them on race day. A form was sent out after the race for you to provide your shipping address by July 28th and that the shirt should arrive to your door by the middle of August. This was a little disappointing as race shirts are my everyday gym apparel but when it does arrive it will allow me to relive the course and the special day that was Tough Mudder Colorado.
Overall, Tough Mudder Colorado walks away with a 5 out of 5. The only possible ding on this race was the shirts did not show up on time, but that was not enough of a deterrent to knock down their score. The heats were well organized, the obstacles were a refreshing change to the cheaper plastic obstacles that Spartan has shifted to, the teamwork aspect made the atmosphere lighter and more enjoyable, and the amount of mud was more than I have ever experienced at any race in Colorado. This is a race that I plan to circle on the calendar every year as it is right in my backyard, and I may look to travel to try their brand on different terrain and climates. I highly recommend this race to anyone looking to up the difficulty on their OCR without getting into the crazy competitive world of Spartan and some of the other bigger brands.
Have you done an Tough Mudder?
Leave your own Tough Mudder review and feedback...
This author is part of the Mud Run Crew and received a free race entry in return for an independent review. All opinions are those of the author and were not influenced by the race sponsor or Mud Run Guide.