Tough Mudder’s first west coast event of 2016 kicked off this past Saturday at Glen Helen Raceway in southern California. Participants at this year’s event were greeted with blue skies, new obstacles, and some hellacious winds.
The party officially got started at 8am, with the launch of the Captain America: Civil War Challenge. This was a promotion that Tough Mudder made in conjunction with the release of the new Marvel movie. Essentially you had 250 participants dressed up as either Iron Man or Captain America charging out of the starting corral as the first wave of the day.
The course itself was a good one. Anyone who has run this event before can tell you that there is no shortage of hills in this area. Tough Mudder made sure to incorporate just about all of them into their 10-mile course this year. Close to six of the first miles of the course were spent either ascending or descending the steep, calf burning terrain that surrounds this motocross haven.
More than a few of those superhero costumes could be found strewn along the course in these hills. As participants quickly realized that running in a poorly ventilated costume on a hot day with a full-faced hood, may not have been the best decision.
As has been the case in previous years, Tough Mudder rolled out some new obstacles for 2016. One of the most popular of which was Block Ness Monster. Veterans of World’s Toughest Mudder 2015 will remember this obstacle as Roll the Dice. The obstacle consists of two large rectangular blocks that stretch across a chest-deep pool of water. Participants must work together to rotate the blocks and get each other over them. Teamwork and camaraderie are something that Tough Mudder is known for, and this obstacle requires a good portion of both.
Also new for 2016 was Rain Man. This one could essentially be called Cage Crawl 2.0. Participants wade into the obstacle under a black plastic tarp, before floating on their backs and pulling themselves through the water. The fencing over the obstacle is considerably closer than on the original Cage Crawl and definitely caused a few panic attacks. As an added twist, at two different points along the obstacle, they had fountains of water spraying down on people. In all, it was a fun upgrade to an obstacle that many were happy to see return.
Mother Nature was kind enough to provide her own unexpected obstacle, in the form of 40 to 50 mile per hour winds that blew for most of the day. Dust and debris was flying all over the course, and the sand that it kicked up was stinging any exposed skin. Many veterans of World’s Toughest Mudder 2014 were having flashbacks to the now legendary sandstorm that occurred during that event.
At the end of the course, Legionnaires who chose to bypass Electroshock Therapy were treated to a new obstacle called Frequent Flyers Club. After climbing up three tiers of elevated decking, participants come to a ledge. Extended out in front of them at various distances are colored tubes, one for each color of a Legionnaire headband. The goal is to leap out and hit the tube which corresponds with the headband that you are about to earn, before landing softly on the airbag below.
As a whole, Tough Mudder Los Angeles was an excellent event. The course was definitely challenging, and there were more than enough new wrinkles to keep things interesting. Obstacle spacing was varied, and the seemingly endless hills were relentless.
Carlo is one half of the not yet world famous YouTube duo known as "The Pis-N-Cox Show".