Tough Mudder held its fifth annual “World’s Toughest Mudder” race last month. World’s Toughest Mudder is the final event on the Tough Mudder calendar and is widely known as the most difficult championship race in Obstacle Course Racing. It is a 24 hour race on a five mile looped course with 21 obstacles each lap. This years course was considered to be one of the most difficult Tough Mudder has held.
Following the victories by Chad Trammell, Amelia Boone, and Team Sinergy, and as we look forward to WTM 2016, here are five questions we would love to have answered.
1. Can Junyong Pak win another WTM? Can he FINISH another one?
Junyong Pak became a bit of a legend in the Tough Mudder community by winning the first two WTM’s ever held and finishing second in year three to a rookie named Ryan Atkins.
However, in 2014, Pak had his first truly disappointing performance at a World’s Toughest Mudder. He finished with “only” 45 miles and his first WTM DNF. Atkins repeated as champion with 95 miles.
For the 2015 race, Atkins and several other strong racers moved to the team division, leaving the perfect opportunity for Pak to reclaim his throne, but it would not happen this year. Pak had his second WTM DNF in a row, leaving with 50 miles.
We won’t know the answer to this question until November of 2016, but here’s a hint: This past December, Pak raced in the inaugural Viper 2 Four race in Malaysia. Viper 2 Four is the only 24-hour race in Asia. Pak won the race handily, completing 87 miles. The race was held during monsoon season in Malaysia and two hours were lost when they stopped the race because of lightning strikes.
The competition at WTM will be more intense and more skilled than Viper 2 Four, but I would never bet against Junyong Pak.
Amelia Boone has won the past two WTM’s and three of the past four. In 2012, she was nine minutes shy of winning first place overall, narrowly losing to Junyong Pak. She is unquestionably the most dominant WTM racer in the women’s division and maybe overall. Tim Ferriss recently called her “The Michael Jordan of Obstacle Course Racing”. When they sell tickets to World’s Toughest Mudder, they have to pay royalties to Boone because she OWNS this race.
But for how long?
Lindsay Webster, the best female racer not named Amelia Boone, told Matt B. Davis in a recent interview that she’s going to compete for the first time at WTM 2016. Webster had an amazing 2015. She won both the independent OCR World Championship and the Battlefrog Championship. She also placed second in the Spartan Race World Championship, finishing one minute and change ahead of Boone.
World’s Toughest Mudder 2016 will be a great race.
3. Will Ryan Atkins keep chasing the $100k or go back to the individual category?
Tough Mudder and Cellucor announced a new prize this year: $100,000 to the winning team, but only if they completed 100 miles. 100 miles has only been reached once, by Ryan Atkins in 2013 when he had three guys on his tail who each finished with 95 miles. After winning the solo championship in 2013 and 2014 Atkins moved to the Team Division for 2015. His team, Sinergy Sports, won with 80 miles. Sinergy finished well ahead of second place but well behind its 100-mile goal.
First place in the solo division comes with a $10,000 prize. First place in the team division comes with a $12,000 prize split (at least) four ways. If you can’t reach 100 miles with a team, it’s much more profitable to go for 100 miles by yourself.
Atkins is recently engaged to Lindsay Webster. You can pay for quite a honeymoon with $100,000. Go for it Ryan!
4. Can the Wolfpack make a comeback?
The Spartan Wolfpack entered the 2014 WTM unknown and if you asked them, disrespected. They won the WTM Team Division last year with 76 miles. For 2015, they were considered one of the favorites to make a run at the “$100,000 for 100 miles” team prize.
They had a disappointing race this year. One of their team members had an injury and the team was unable to finish the race. Wolfpack chose to disband in the middle of the night. Adding to the disappointment was Team Sinergy Sports’ winning with 80 miles, just above Wolfpack’s total from last year. The anticipated Wolfpack/Sinergy battle would have been great to watch if Wolfpack was at full health.
Wolfpack hasn’t announced their plans for 2016, but everyone loves a good comeback story. Come back fellas!
5. Who will win WTM 2016?
Nobody knows – but I’ll tell you.
First, the dark horse picks.
Men: Trevor Cichosz
Women: April Hartwig
Team: Getting Tough
Cichosz has finished in third and second in the last two WTM’s. 2016 could be his breakthrough year. Hartwig led the women for most of the 24 hours, before Boone passed her for the win, and will only be better next year. Getting Tough won second place last year and did it with six guys. If they trim down to four guys, they’ll be faster and could give Atkins and Sinergy Sports trouble.
My actual picks to win.
Men: Junyong Pak
Women: Amelia Boone
Team: Sinergy Sports
Yes – those are mostly favorites. Yes – Chad Trammell had an impressive win (and Trammell could easily repeat. He’s a stud!), but the way it looks now, these are my picks to win.
Here’s a bonus pick: Amelia Boone and Lindsay Webster are going to push each other hard. Whoever wins the battle between them will also finish in the top three overall.
Check out 4 years of WTM Archives over here.
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