November 15 11:30pm Update
We arrived at Raceway Park at 3:00 in the afternoon to find many of the 1100 racers had already pitched their tents inside. The excitement was palpable.
Here is a taste of what we saw and heard:
After seeing many familiar faces at the registration desk, we talked to Nolan Kombol, the course designer from TMHQ. I him asked about the shorter five-mile course this year.
“We really wanted to promote obstacle completion and athleticism,” he said, going on to explain that Tough Mudder wants to see the 100 mile barrier broken. He thinks giving athletes more chances to pit will give a better chance of that happening.
Maggi Thorne, who was crowned Mrs. Nebraska 2013, is the only sashed competitor that we are aware of. She just got into obstacle racing this year as a spokesperson for Soles4Souls, and is looking to go the full 24 hours.
Nick Conklin, who may be the youngest competitor at 18 years of age, has set a goal of 50 miles. That distance gets you of a brown bib and a free entry into a Tough Mudder next year.
The colored bib system is a new addition this year which also will give awards for going 75 and 100 miles.
Morgan Mckay (whose name I discovered tonight actually rhymes with McPie and not Mcvay), did not bring a tent. Instead she set up her camp with inspirational signs that said things like “It’s 24 Hours, You Can Do It!” and “Pretty Much Useless Extra Clothes” on a waterproof box of clothing. We’re guessing she’s not planning on stopping there very much.
Junyong Pak set up camp next to his Boston buddies of Team Bostonstrongmen and seemed as calm as we have ever seen him before a race. He revealed some of his strategy, but we promised him we wouldn’t publish it until after the race is over.
Olof Dallner was equally as cool saying “I like to keep this as fun and on the side (in my life), I feel very little pressure”.
By the time it got dark, the Raceway was almost empty, so we headed to a pre-race meal set up through the “World’s Toughest Mudder Community” Facebook Page. There, we found around 100 competitors trading war stories and camaraderie before the big day. Ken Jacobus from Toms River, NJ, is one of the admins of that page who put together the dinner. He was very proud of the turnout and was also proud to tell us that he believed he was the oldest (and heaviest) competitor at 53-years of age and 260 pounds.