Tough Mudder descended upon Olympic Park in Whistler, British Columbia this past weekend. If there is a more beautiful location for TM to hold an event, I’d love to see it.
On Saturday, over 8000 people braved the cold and rainy weather for the opportunity to tackle the 20 kilometer course (that’s 12.4 miles to us Americans). A total of 21 obstacles were scattered throughout, including 6 that were water based (and particularly bone chilling, given the weather conditions).
Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights (and one low-light) of this wonderful event.
The People: Seriously, I know it’s a bit cliché…but these Canadian folks are some of the nicest people that I have ever met. Whether it was a fellow participant on the course, or a volunteer at the water station, or even some guy I accidentally bumped into while walking past…all of them, and I mean ALL of them seemed to greet me with a smile (or an apology). No wonder we’ve never invaded them.
The scenery: Here’s the thing. If you ever do this event, do yourself a favor and take the time to look up. This course is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking views that I’ve ever seen. There are snow capped mountains on all sides, lush green forests with crystal clear streams carving through them. There was even the occasional black bear sighting. This didn’t happen to me personally, but there were a few reports of guest appearances on Sunday.
Bigger/Badder obstacles: There were two instances on this course where “standard” TM obstacles were larger and more difficult than in other events that I’ve done this year. Skid-marked, which is a basic slanted wall obstacle, was considerably taller in Whistler. For a shorty like me, this is a bit of a problem. Normally I can maneuver this obstacle on my own with no assistance. This one however, I had absolutely no shot.
The other was Pyramid Scheme, an obstacle that already seems to induce a high rate of injuries. In Whistler, this obstacle wasn’t necessarily taller, but it was certainly steeper. The soft mud at the bottom only served to slicken the obstacle more, making it even more challenging. I’ve seen a few people clear this obstacle solo at other events, but that was not happening in Whistler.
Nature’s own obstacles: When people hear that you’re headed to Whistler, they warn you of two things…the bears, and the potential for rapid changes in weather. While bear sightings were minimal, and the weather closely matched the forecast, there was one thing that we were not warned about. Mosquitoes. Lots and lots of mosquitoes. We’re not talking about little fellas either. Some of these buggers could have had guest appearances in the movie Jumanji. They were HUGE, and everywhere. I lost count of how many times on course a conversation with a fellow Mudder was cut short due to an accidental mosquito ingestion. Not to mention the ones that seemed to fly directly into your eyes, like some kind of insect kamikaze. I know I mentioned earlier that there were 21 obstacles, well I’d live to revise that and make the Whistler mosquito population an honorary 22nd obstacle.
No Block Ness? Just a few days after it was named Tough Mudder’s #1 most popular obstacle, Saturday’s competitors were saddened to discover that Block Ness Monster was not operational. Actually, it was more than just not operational, it was still being constructed. This was the second to last obstacle on the course, and to come that far and discover that it was down was definitely disappointing. I spoke with a rep from TMHQ after my lap, but could not get an explanation as to why it was not ready. Whatever the reason, the obstacle was completed and ready for use on Sunday.
It’s easy to see why Whistler ranks right up there with Lake Tahoe as one of Tough Mudder’s most popular events. It is truly a “destination event”, which draws people from all over the world. From the idyllic scenery of the Whistler Blackcomb area, to the friendliness and generosity of the locals, to the challenging course that the folks at TMHQ always seem to put together, this event truly has something for everyone.
Photo credit: Gameface media
Carlo is one half of the not yet world famous YouTube duo known as "The Pis-N-Cox Show".