15 Facts on the World's Toughest Mudder
What is WTM?
World’s Toughest Mudder (WTM) is a 24-hour around-the-clock version of Tough Mudder. Whereas regular Tough Mudder is “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet,” WTM (or “World’s Toughest” as it’s colloquially called) lays legitimate claim to actually being THE toughest event on the planet. WTM this year will be held November 15-16 at Lake Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. (Yes, we said “Vegas.”)
What is the point of it?
WTM was created to push participants to their mental and physical limits—and to find the world’s toughest male, female, and 4+ person team of Mudders. WTM is also the end-of-year gathering of the Mudder Legion—basically a huge social event for Multi-Mudders to make new friendships and get to know other Mudders from around the globe. It’s pretty great.
What is the format?
This year’s event will feature a 5 mile looped course with over 20 badass Tough Mudder obstacles—double the obstacles/mile of a “regular” Tough Mudder course. Participants are allowed to set up a tent in the “Pit Area” and have up to two “Pit Crew” stationed there to help them with gear, nutrition, and morale. To get a glimpse of past WTMs, click here for the 2011 video, here for the 2012 video, and here for the 2013 official recap.
Wait, it’s competitive?
Yes. WTM is Tough Mudder’s only “competition” format. The winners are the male, female, and team of 4+ Mudders (running together, and all finishing) who complete the greatest number of laps within 24 hours (in the event of a tie, the first team to finish the final lap wins). Last year the winner, Ryan Atkins of Pickering, Canada, ran 100 miles in 23:02:420, completing over 400 obstacles in the process, at the iconic Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, USA. You can find the 2012 results here and 2013 results here. But ultimately, the event isn’t at all about distance, or time, or competition. Rather, it’s about pushing yourself over 24 hours to accomplish one of the world’s most challenging events, and becoming a stronger person in the process.
Who the hell does it?
We’d need a team of psychologists to really answer this question, but the short version is that this event is for anyone who has done a Tough Mudder (or more likely, multiple TMs) and wants to really step up their training and push themselves to accomplish the biggest challenge of their life. If you’re a Mudder, you’re invited. If you’re a member of the Mudder Legion, you are encouraged to attend. If you’re a past WTM participant, you are expected. Want to get to know that little voice in your head that tells you to stop—and then tell it to fuck off? Then WTM is for you.
How do people train for it?
Training regimes for World’s Tough Mudder are are as unique as the day is long. But clearly no matter what you have to do, you need to build up to some seriously long training runs, and most WTM competitors use normal Tough Mudder events as training practice, starting by running on Saturday and again on Sunday, and working their way up to multiple laps each day. Here’s a comprehensive look at Junyong Pak’s training regime that he used to win the 2011 World’s Toughest Mudder (and follow up the next year). Ryan Atkins also posted about his training to win the 2013 WTM. Here’s an article on Deanna Blegg’s preparation for the 2013 WTM, and a “WTM Commandments” blog post from Amelia Boone. Keep your eyes peeled as well as we’ll be posting blogs with 25 mile, 50 mile, 75 mile, and 100 mile training plans over the next few months.
Do I have to qualify to participate?
No. In years past this was the case, but we decided that a self-reported time in a 10-mile Tough Mudder was unrelated to someone’s ability to safely complete 24 hours of non-stop Tough Mudder. That said, while there is no official qualification process, be careful what you wish for: 24 hours of non-stop Tough Mudder is basically a looney-toon endeavor. It isn’t for the faint of heart and it isn’t for those who are unwilling to put in the hard time training. Best to work your way up through the Mudder Legion before pulling the trigger on WTM.
Are there obstacles I won’t see on a regular Tough Mudder course?
There are double the obstacles per mile of a regular Tough Mudder course. But in addition, there will also be obstacles on course that we are prototyping for 2015, and certain obstacles that due to throughput considerations (i.e. concerns about lines) we wouldn’t ever be able to have on a regular TM course. We’re not promising this or this, but we’re not ruling them out either.
Who are some of the people to watch this year on the men’s side?
On the men’s side… Ryan Atkins, last year’s winner, and Jungyong Pak, the 2011 and 2012 winner will both be running again. We’d love to see Knut Hohler come back as he was in the lead and looking strong before injuring his foot. Third-placer Olof Dallner would also be a great addition, and there are a bunch of dark horses sitting just beyond that could definitely step up to the title. (That is, if Andy “Mustache Man” Thom doesn’t bring his nunchucks and make them the “final obstacle.”)
Who are some of the women to watch?
On the women’s side we’re looking forward to having Deanna Blegg, our 2013 winner, back again, and Maggie Thorne, who finished runner-up last year, will also be back. We’ll also excited to see the return of Amelia Boone, the 2012 winner who missed last year due to injury. It’s going to be a real one to watch, and given their past performances, it’s not out of the question for one of these women to win the whole damn thing either.
What is this about teams?
In 2012 we introduced the team category, because that’s the heart and soul of Tough Mudder. To qualify as a team, you must be 4+ Mudders, and it’s not a relay. You must run together at all times, meaning cross the start and finish lines on each lap together. This year we’re hoping to have back Three AM Waterfalls, last year’s team winner, and expect the rivalry to be thick again between the US Army’s West Point cadets and US Naval Academy midshipmen. We’re also giving prizes for largest team (in addition to oldest World’s Toughest Mudder, Most Money Raise for WWP®, and Farthest Traveled to get to WTM.
Is it really the gathering of the Mudder Legion?
Yes. At the end of the day, this event isn’t about winning or being top 3. It’s about the community. Mudder Legion is the Official Organization of Multi-Mudders, and if you’re in that group, you don’t want to miss this event. It’s the one time all year when Mudders from around the world will get together to take on the toughest thing that TMHQ can throw at them. Ken Jacobus does a fantastic job of running the “World’s Toughest Mudder Community” (not TMHQ, it’s organic) page on Facebook. If you’re serious about running WTM, you can apply to Ken to get in the group as it’s a great place to go for advice and tips. But you have to be serious about running WTM or else Ken’s a pretty intimidating FB-Bouncer, and will deny you like Lebron James defending against Pee Wee Herman.
How can I get involved? And how much does it cost?
Participant tickets currently cost $450. Pit crew tickets are $40. Spectator tickets are FREE. For full info go to: https://toughmudder.com/events/worlds-toughest-mudder.
If I’m not running, can I follow the action?
We’ll be posting quite a bit of content on this blog over the next five months, but also on our other channels as well. Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and follow us on Instagram. Come the week of November 10th, all of our content will begin to focus heavily on the November 15-16 WTM event, and we’ll have live-action updates all through the weekend.
BONUS QUESTION: Let me get this straight, I can justify a Tough Mudder team trip to Vegas this year?