The 2016 World’s Toughest Mudder at Lake Las Vegas was epic! By showcasing to the world many new obstacles along with improving a few from the past, Tough Mudder was able to utilize the same Lake Las Vegas track while making the course feel new and even more exciting and challenging than 2015. The weather cooperated in 2016: minimal wind and this year’s mean temperature was almost 10 degrees warmer, with the lowest temp during the night 50 vs. 39 in 2015, a huge difference for WTM 2016!
OCR popularity continues to climb, and thanks to world class events like WTM continuing to push the obstacle limits, more and more competitors are getting into the races. This year was no exception and the competition was fierce. While everyone who tackled this event should be proud of stepping up to the plate, the winners really busted tail. The winners of the team competition were “Team Goat Tough”, Ryan Atkins and Jonathon Albon, who logged 105 miles with “Team America”, 2015’s individual male winner Chad Trammell and Robert Killian, Jr., just behind logging 100 miles. Trevor Cichosz won the individual male competition with 105 miles, while Austin Azar (2nd) and Kristopher Mendoza (3rd) each logged 100 miles. Stephanie Bishop won the individual female competition with 85 miles followed by Susanne Kraus with 80 and Morgan McKay with 80, a mere 6 minutes behind Susanne! There were some all female teams, although the team competition doesn’t differentiate, and “Lions, Tigers, Bears, Oh My!” logged 50 miles and “Bounce Squad 55” logged 50 miles a mere 10 minutes behind!
2016 saw 6 racers achieve the magic 100 mile mark…an honor that, until now, was held solely by Ryan Atkins.
Compared to only a year ago, this year’s WTM had a slew of new and absolutely E.P.I.C obstacles including Stage 5 Clinger, Funky Monkey Revolution, Double Rainbow (the new rendition of King of Swingers), and Kong. You can listen to Matt B. Davis’ podcast with Eli Hutchison of TMHQ here: Obstacle Podcast
If you completed those on every lap you should have come away with some uber extra satisfaction. Those afraid of falling or heights had a hard time with these and all required solid grip strength and mental fortitude. The Cliff was again the final obstacle, opening at Midnight. Roughly the same height as last year, about a 1.5 second free fall, water just as soft for the landing (or hard depending on your technique). Change this year was if you didn’t have a 50-mile bib on the final lap you were not allowed to make the final jump (which alleviated the back-up seen last year).
Only a few obstacle snafu’s that this author heard about while on the course. Twinkle Toes was shut down in the early AM due to low water levels for safety reasons, so when you fell (and this author did a few times) you felt it where you didn’t need to. Second, during nighttime ops, they changed Kong to overhead pipes and a slack line. Apparently, someone jettisoned themselves off the slack line a bit too close to the edge of the crash pad so they took the slack lines away (which made the obstacle challenging again). And third, grips. Difficult to keep the bars dry but TM make a good attempt to do so on Double Rainbow by adding sticky tape – unfortunately, the tape came off of most of the bars throughout the event. Not a big deal and to be expected.
WTM Experience 2016 vs. 2015
As a second year participant in WTM, this year was quite a different experience than last. For one, last year I had no idea what to expect and was able to “just get out to Vegas and get it done”. This year, knowing what I went through last year, I was able to think about what I was about to undergo. This “thinking” started shortly after Labor Day and occupied more and more of my thoughts up until Saturday. Thoughts like “will I land wrong on The Cliff”, “will I be able to suck it up through the cold”, and “will my tent be in a good place” began to take up more and more of my thoughts.
There have not been many things in my life that have caused me so much anxiety. Checking the Henderson temps on a daily basis somewhat dissipated my hypothermia fear, but The Cliff kept coming back. Turns out, the only thing that really bothered me this year was the cold, and if I’m honest with myself that was mostly mental. The obstacles, and The Cliff, after completing each one each lap, reminded me that people can overcome their fears if they just give themselves the opportunity. One of the things I really love about OCR is, like life, once you get on the course, you can be amazed at what you can do if you JUST TRY.
Few things I’ll likely do different next year (yes, I’m already committing to WTM 2017): 1) bring a pit crew, 2) not change my wetsuit/shoes/socks (if it’s working, why did I change? – bad idea), and 3) train a bit for long distance as my body this year didn’t handle it as well as last year. I’ll also not sweat it as much as the WTM 2017 draws nearer.
This year’s WTM was a huge success and better than last year (although last year was darn good as well). The camaraderie among the participants was exceptional, the pit crews seemed as awesome as ever, and the bagpipes kept spirits lifted throughout the event!
Overcoming obstacles is something we all have an opportunity to do every day. Most of the time, overcoming obstacles is easier than we think!
Latest posts by Sean Hastings (see all)
- WTM 2016 – Drop it Like it’s Hot! - November 20, 2016
- Spartan Race Chicago Sprint 2016: New Venue, New Mud, Crazy Chicago Spring Temps - June 14, 2016