Just over a week away from World’s Toughest Mudder. Yesterday the official race packet was released as well as schedule and race day forms. Some in the community are up in arms as the release of the race packet brought about some new information from TMHQ as well as some changes to existing award structure. Here at the biggest changes in my mind.
Distance: 5 Mile Course
Tough Mudder has always been known for longer races (10-15 miles). In fact in past years they have put down other race organizers who hold shorter races. But for WTM this year a shortened 5 mile course promised to be jam packed with obstacles is on tap. This is not truly news as rumors have been flying for a little while that a 5-mile course would probably be the distance this year.
What it means?
This is open for debate exactly how it will effect each team and racer but a few factors have changes with a shorter course; more pit time, and more obstacles per mile than in the past. This is no longer just a running race with obstacles mixed in, now it appears to be an obstacle race with running mixed in. But the final outcome will have to wait until race day.
This is up for debate, but the notes from TMHQ says if you do all the obstacles perfectly you will stay mostly dry. Looks like maybe we will be avoiding the smelly pond this year. One thing is for sure as close to dry as you may stay, you are still going to get wet and the water will still be cold.
This is the hot button item right now. For the majority of the year the awards for this year have been listed:
40 Miles – special color bib, free entry to a race in 2014
60 Miles – special color bib, free season pass 2014
100 Miles – special bib, possibly kettlebell, something else (wasn’t planning on this one so didn’t pay attention
Black Ops – most laps between 10pm – 7am. special bib, free WTM entry 2014
Fastest Lap – Fastest first lap
Updated awards from the Tough Mudder Website
The miles have ramped up and the Black Ops times changed. Earlier their was some confusion about the 75 mile award, it does in fact come with a 2014 season pass. The initial PDF document was incorrect.
Traditionally spectators are charged to watch a Tough Mudder event, now sometimes up to $40 per spectator. But for WTM spectators are free. This is a welcome change and should be commended as if anyone is crazy enough to watch a 24-hour race they should be able to watch for free.
For the first year and official crew is allowed. One individual per athlete. The pit crew is allowed in the tent area until 5pm (changed from the original 10pm) on Saturday. Interesting as most endurance races you don’t really start needing crew until late in the race.
For the first time the first lap of the race is obstacle free! Just running and sprinting for some. So that fastest lap award is now the person who crosses the line first in a 5 mile race. This should spread out the 1500 or so participants they say might be there and will make for some interesting race day strategy.
With the changes to the race format this year some people are stoked others outraged. Some are now calling it World’s Toughest Warrior Dash. Change is something I have come to expect in this industry, in 2011 I was outraged when rules were changing two weeks before the event. I even wrote an impassioned post (Changing it Up) in 2011 when the rules changed and found out new things about Tough Mudder as a whole. I was pissed then, now I am just adjusting my race day strategy and moving forward. No stress no anger, just a shoulder shrug and moving forward.
With all the changes, amendments, and such at the end of the day this is still a 24-hour race and thus it’s about planning accordingly. My only advice I can give to those who might be heated by the new changes, let it go, roll with it and run your race the way you want come next Saturday!