Toughest Mudder Northeast unexpectedly dished up a race harder than anyone anticipated. With unpredictably cold temperatures, steep, slick, grassy hills, and an insane amount of strength based obstacles each loop. Participants completed up to 40-miles of the course, which is 10 miles less than what the top competitors have hit at previous Toughest Mudders this season–that alone demonstrates the difficulty of Toughest Mudder Northeast. 2016 World’s Toughest Mudder Champion, Trevor Cichosz, walked away with $5,000 for his first-place finish and 40 miles in 7 hours, 33 minutes while Canadian Allison Tai completed an impressive 35 miles in 7 hours, 19 minutes, winning the race as first female. Reigning Toughest Mudders leaders, Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster, did not compete due to injury and family matters, respectively.
For the first time, Toughest Mudder Northeast had a one loop format (instead of the former two loop format), meaning that obstacle-free laps were almost entirely nonexistent. Slick mud and uneven footing meant that fast laps were hard to come by here, and tough obstacles like Kong were made harder as grips became slippery. Drastic temperature drops over the weekend into the 40’s overnight were a big factor in an overall low contender rate, with just 29% qualifying as contenders for World’s Toughest Mudder this fall.
Temperatures dropped overnight to a high in the 40s, and the cold weather combined with a wind chill made obstacles like Arctic Enema especially freezing. While Toughest Mudder Northeast saw most Mudders donning full wetsuits, Allison Tai kept hers on the light side to move quickly and efficiently each lap. “Without Lindsay there,” says Tai, “there was obviously a question mark on that top spot.”
Says Tai, “Chikorita [Alex Roudayna] is an incredible all-around athlete and runs fast. Sarah [Knight] did the Toughest Mudder UK just last weekend and was planning to take it easy, but if anyone could pull off a back-to-back podium, it’s her. Stef [Bishop] was sick but you just never know. If she felt good, she’d be in the mix for sure. And Morgan McKay is a beast on the obstacles and is very fit to run fast and far.” It was Zoe Chazen, however, who ultimately came through to claim second-place.
Roudayna battled hard for third, while McKay missed the opportunity by a mere 3 minutes. Says Roudayna, “The race started off chill but the first lap tricked me into thinking it wouldn’t be so bad (then again, the obstacles weren’t all there yet.)” The one loop format also altered the overall feel of the course. “On two laps you can take advantage of that final lap before it’s time to change [to the next one], and that can create a gap between competitors. Going into all of the obstacles every lap really was something.”
Tai held strong and completed 35 miles, even with her fear of heights. “I loved conquering hang time each lap because I have a huge fear of heights and jumping…so I feel like I’ve really overcome something in doing Toughest. In fact, I probably spent more time over the past few years jumping off diving platforms than training grip!”
1st–Allison Tai, 35 miles in 7 hours, 33 minutes
2nd–Zoe Chazen, 35 miles in 8 hours, 22 minutes
3rd–Alex Roudayna, 30 miles in 7 hours, 7 minutes
4th–Morgan McKay, 30 miles in 7 hours, 10 minutes
5th–Adriane Alvord, 30 miles in 8 hours, 9 minutes
With Ryan Atkins out due to injury, the male front runners ran tight for the first few laps. While Cichosz held back a minute or so on the first lap, he would ultimately take the win, completing 40 miles of the cold, obstacle-ridden course in 7 hours, 33 minutes with second-place winner, Jordan Mcdougal, only 8 minutes behind.
Says Mcdougal, “I wanted to run strong and comfortable through the night, which I did. I wasn’t sure where that would put me but I was comfortable being up front.”
Toughest Mudder Northeast doled out cold weather and plenty of obstacles which, as Mcdougal says, made for a course that was tougher than expected. “It wasn’t until the last 1.5 hours that I really started to struggle and at that point I knew there were a couple guys real close behind me so I was just trying to hang on.” Cichosz passed Mcdougal at Everest, but Mcdougal managed to hold off third-place Austin Azar until the end.
When asked how Toughest Mudder Northeast compared to other events in the series, Cichosz claimed in what harder. “THis course was more difficult because of the uneven and muddy terrain, higher obstacle density, and overall WET course.” For Cichosz, staying warm and completing the often extremely slippery obstacles were the most challenging parts. Look at it,” he summarizes. “The race was won with 40 miles instead of 50.”
Eventual fourth-place, Mark Jones, battled in the top five for the majority of the race, although, he says, having Ryan Atkins in the race would have made for even better competition. Ultimately the course provided plenty of difficult on its own. As Jones approached Azar on the last loop, Jones knew the battle would be close. Says Jones, “After cutting the time down to 1 minute, I saw Austin on the horizon of the Funky Monkey penalty loop. This was the moment of truth. A pass would mean time made up. A fail would mean not enough distance to make up the ground.” Unfortunately a fail at Funky Monkey proved fatal, meaning Jones secured 4th place but was unable to secure 3rd.
1st–Trevor Cichosz, 40 miles in 7 hours, 33 minutes
2nd–Jordan Mcdougal, 40 miles in 7 hours, 41 minutes
3rd–Austin Azar, 40 miles in 7 hours, 56 minutes
4th–Mark Jones, 40 miles in 8 hours, 1 minute
5th–Jesse Bruce, 40 miles in 8 hours, 21 minutes
For full results, click here.
Toughest Mudder Whistler
June 17, 2017
Whistler Olympic Park, B.C.
To register for an upcoming Toughest Mudder event, click here.