Ryan Woods Ok To Race Spartan and Tough Mudder 2018


Ryan Woods WTM 2017

**Update 12:00pm EST 12.24.2017 Listen to Ryan Woods and Nolan Kombol here.

One month ago, the OCR World Championships disqualified Ryan Woods for a positive drug test. In addition, they banned him from their competition for one year. The OCR community at large has patiently awaited how this would affect the rest of industry, and specifically waiting for Tough Mudder and Spartan to respond.

Today, Tough Mudder decided to strip Ryan’s Team (aka Team USA 7) of Ryan, Chad Trammel, Brian Gowiski, and Glenn Racz of their 1st place finish and the prize money won at World’s Toughest Mudder 2017. They would not be banning him or them from any 2018 competition.

The new official rankings for the 2017 WTM National Team Category are:

Team USA 8 (aka Team US-Eh)

Team Germany

Team Canada 2

Please see below for the official email which was sent to Team USA 7 yesterday (Ryan Woods, Chad Trammel, Brian Gowiski, and Glenn Racz).  This has also been discussed individually with each of these athletes.  

RE: Violation of World’s Toughest Mudder Anti-Doping Policy

After careful review and consultation with industry experts and our full Tough Mudder Race Team, the decision has been made to formally disqualify Ryan Woods for violating the 2017 World’s Toughest Mudder Anti-Doping policy. As a result of his individual disqualification, Team USA 7 will be forced to forfeit its first place finish due to team rules requiring all athletes to remain eligible for the duration of the race.

As a result of the violation, Ryan Woods and Team USA 7, the following actions have been issued:

  1. Forfeiture of official Race Results, Awards, and Prizing
  2. Forfeiture of 2017 World’s Toughest Mudder National Team Relay First-Place Finish
  3. Official race finish and results to be adjusted to reflect the forfeiture of results

As of now, there is no formal action taken against Ryan Woods or the members of Team USA 7 for the upcoming 2018 Tough Mudder competitive event season. This decision from Tough Mudder Inc and 2017 World’s Toughest Mudder is final and not subject to appeal or dispute.

Nolan Kombol

Race Director – 2017 World’s Toughest Mudder

The Violation/s


Section 3.02    ANTI-DOPING

Each athlete acknowledges notice of the Anti‐Doping Rules (as such term is defined below), and acknowledges that he/she is bound by, confirms he/she shall comply with, and voluntarily consents to all provisions of the Anti‐Doping Rules.

  1. “Anti‐Doping Rules” means all anti‐doping rules adopted by World’s Toughest Mudder including, without limitation, the World Anti‐Doping Code (the “WADA Code”), the International Standards and List of Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods (the “Prohibited List”) as issued by the World Anti‐Doping Agency (“WADA”), and all other rules, policies, and/or procedures adopted by World’s Toughest Mudder.
  2. Each athlete acknowledges that the WADA Code and WADA’s Prohibited List may be amended from time to time and at any time by WADA without notice to athlete other than, as the case may be, posting such amendments on WADA’s website.
  3. Each athlete is personally responsible for knowing what constitutes a violation of the Anti‐Doping Rules (including, without limitation, all substances and methods that have been included on the Prohibited List). Certain medications, common beverages, supplements and other “over‐the‐counter” or otherwise legal products may contain banned substances.
  4. Each athlete is fully responsible for knowing what substances are banned in accordance with the Prohibited List and for monitoring his/her own compliance with the Anti‐Doping Rules;
  5. If World’s Toughest Mudder suspects any athlete of being in violation of any of these terms, World’s Toughest Mudder reserves the right to investigate and disqualify at World’s Toughest Mudder’s discretion.

Article X.  TEAM RELAY The following rules pertain to Athletes registered in the National Team Relay competition only.

Section 10.01  ELIGIBILITY

  1. Teams must have registered in the National Team Relay category and received approval from TMHQ Race Director prior to the start of the event.
  2. Teams must be a minimum of 4 athletes. There is no maximum.
  3. All athletes registered to a team must complete the first -and- last lap of the race together, as a full team;
  4. If any member of a team is disqualified or has to drop out of the competition

What Else Does This Mean

Breaking News: As this article was going to print. Spartan HQ released a statement through Robert Coble, Spartan’s Pro Race Director:

Spartan Race will allow Ryan Woods to race events in 2018. He did not receive a positive drug test at the 2017 Spartan World Championships and consequently is not subject to an anti-doping sanction. Results from doping controls conducted for corporations such as Adventurey LLC (the New York marketing company that owns the OCRWC), and not in the WADA/USADA system are not applicable for Spartan racing or to the wider sporting (federation) system.

We reached out to Adrian Bijanada from OCRWC who updated the TM situation by telling us:

I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ryan woods as a person and an athlete. It’s my personal view that this was an honest mistake by Ryan. However, I understand that mistakes often have consequences. This entire incident stresses the need for better educational resources for athletes. This is an initiative that our team will be tackling in 2018.

We also had a call with Nolan Kombol from TMHQ, and we will publish that conversation on a special podcast that is going up later today.

Lastly, we reached out to Ryan Woods himself who told us:

I am disappointed to learn my teammates and I have been disqualified from World’s Toughest Mudder. I again find myself apologizing to teammates I once stood beside on the top of OCR’s biggest podiums. Brian, Chad, and Glenn are three of the most honorable men in the sport and I am sorry I let them down. This most certainly is unfair to them. I wish there was a way they could keep their accomplishments while punishing me but Tough Mudder had rules in place and are principled enough to make a hard decision. It is not fair to these three athletes to be punished for my stupidity. I take full responsibility and will live with this guilt forever.

I am surprised and fortunate to be able to compete in 2018. My ability to compete is based in large part on a technicality and I understand not everyone will be pleased. I’ve learned a hard but valuable lesson and I hope others in the sport have as well. I also hope OCR can grow from this. My failed drug test has put performance enhancing drugs front and center and the industry as a whole showed many flaws. An opportunity exists for rival events to come together and be unified in ensuring OCR is drug free.


Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.
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