Canada and Australia rock WTM 2013

By SOLO

Now, you may or may not have been in New Jersey this weekend, but chances are, your heart was there.

Congratulations to every single racer who toed that start line this Saturday. You are all insane freaks, and I love you.

I am proud to announce that Ryan Atkins, a mountain biker and a fellow Canadian became the World’s Toughest Mudder 2014, beating the unbeatable Pak.

Pak came in second, followed by Olof Dallner.

Deanna Blegg came first for women – hardly a surprise after 1) her fantastic performance at the Vermont Beast, and 2) Amelia Boone’s announcement of not running this year. Magdelene Thorne and Amy Pajcic came second and third respectively. Full results can be seen here (and someone tell the timing company to stop the timer already).

Now am I the only one noticing that the WTM is owned by non-Americans this year? A Canadian and an Australian at the top.

As for the event itself, you may remember that the changes in format announced back in May spurred quite a bit of controversy. (Read my detailed review of the changes here). Margaret posted another great review of new rules and procedures about a week before the event.

As Tough Mudder did away with the qualifying times and shortened the course, some wondered whether the event would be easier, harder or more dangerous.

Out of 1,107 that started, 819 finished. The 5-mile course had 22 obstacles. Although in the words of Jason Gidusko, “running through a muddy forest should not be named an obstacle, running up a dry dirt hill should not be named an obstacle, hopping over a small concrete tube should not be named an obstacle(hello warrior dash)”.

Gidusko was also surprised to see that going against the WTM ethos of making typical Tough Mudder obstacles harder, some signature obstacles were made significantly easier. For example, Funky Monkey had a rest halfway through, and Twinkle Toes was much smaller.

Electric Eel, on the other hand, seemed to be really amped up, delivering shocks that were harder than ever. On the course that is cut in half, it means you are getting shocked twice as much.

Leap of Faith was a new obstacle introduced at WTM this year, where the racers had to leap into the air to land onto a cargo net. Those who missed landed in the water. This obstacle sounds like great fun, and very much in the spirit of Tough Mudder, however, the logistics may need to be better thought through. Fingers were broken, as people landed on each other. I don’t really expect to see Leap of Faith at a regular Tough Mudder – it would be a recipe for a disaster, indeed.

Punishment for failing an obstacle was extra distance, while carrying a log. Compare this with last year – dip in Arctic Enema. The latter was absolutely brutal at night, when the temperatures fell sharply. Jason Gidusko,

Like any 24-hour endurance race, it remains a brutal event. However, the comments from the racers already surfacing are consistent:

The course was shorter, dryer and easier. The temperature played a huge role, as this was the warmest WTM yet.

YOUR TURN: Were you at WTM 2014 this weekend? Was this your first WTM? What was your experience like? Most importantly, would you do it again? 🙂

Disclaimer: Please note that I myself have not been at the event, and cannot vouch for the accuracy of the above. Intel has been gathered from friends who were there. 

Signing off,
Solo

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Posted November 18, 2013

4 responses to “Canada and Australia rock WTM 2013”

  1. Gus Bisbal says:

    So what you need to understand is that an obstacle judged as a standard obstacle, on its own is one thing. An obstacle in the context of WTM is another thing completely.

    The repetition of the obstacles wears you down in a way that you would not expect. The run through the forest at night with 100 places to role your ankle IS an obstacle. I stepped a little further than I should off at one point and I was up to my mid thigh in mud and couldn’t pull my leg out without help from a fellow mudder. See how “a run through the forest” doesn’t describe what was actually there?

    That unmuddied hill you described was so steep after 6pm, because peoples feet were removing dirt by walking over it, that I almost fell backward at the top at one point. On top of that it sapped you of energy for the next section making the next obstacle twice as hard.

    This course is not about the obstacles. Its about HUNDREDS of obstacles beating you down again and again and wearing at you body like a continuous never ending assault on your physical structure. Go compete in it and you will see what I mean. This event is way beyond anything any other race provides. It is the closest a civilian will come to special forces selection.

    Most get injured during the race. MOST. Think about that. Have you ever see a crowd of 200 people where 100% of them are limping. I mean limping when they are wishing with everything in their heart that they could run but they can’t.

    Have you ever seen that before. I have but it was in the military. To focus on obstacle construction and course length or even the temperature is missing the point. This course is about a question asked of you. That question is “can you last, can you make it. Will you be there in the end or will this course swallow you up before you can make that happen. What are you made of, at the core, how have you built your body and your soul.” No other obstacle course does that like WTM.

    I have no issue with your review but it was missing a little bit of experiential details.

    • Brandon Welling says:

      Couple of things. Solo doesn’t need anyone to defended her. Reading your comment makes me come to the conclusion you don’t know who she is and the accomplishments she has achieved. DR ring a bell? That being said what I gathered from her comments about how a hill, large or small or running through a forest should not be called an obstacle is a little different. There are so many OCR events that claim 15, 20, 25 obstacles when they are just using the natural landscape and calling that an obstacles to boost their obstacle claim. The number they claim should reflect what they add to or modify to the course. Usually it is the small OCR events that I have noticed that are guilty of this.

      • SOLO says:

        Awww, thanks, Brandon. 🙂

        Yes, this approach is quite common, isn’t it? I think this is from the racers were referring to at WTM – the NUMBER of actual OBSTACLES is somewhat overpromised.

    • SOLO says:

      Gus, thank you for the feedback! Now I have not been at the WTM, thus, this is definitely not a race review. 🙂 I simply wanted to shout out a congrats to Ryan and Deanna, and share some feedback from the racers that were there. If you read the post, you saw that the quote that you are referring to was not mine. It came directly from a racer.

      You are absolutely right – I have never competed in WTM, however, I am hardly a stranger to obstacle races.

      I also don’t think that a high injury rate is necessarily the best measure for how difficult a race is. But, I’ll think about that. 🙂

      Hope to see you at a race sometime.

      Hugs,
      Solo

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