TMHQ Q&A with Defending World’s Toughest Mudder Champion, Deanna Blegg
Ironically, however, they won’t be direct competitors.
This year, the WTM defending women's champion will compete in the team category as a key member of Under Armour’s Team Australia. With 24 hours separating her from becoming the first Mudder in history to win both individual and team WTM titles, we caught up with Deanna last week as she relaxed in Key West, appreciating the calm before the storm.
With a title to defend, why have you chosen to go the team route?
In all honesty, I never feel I have to defend a title. Racing is something I do for fun. I set goals and then set out to achieve them. They are personal goals that are not always about winning, and the sense of achieving them is overwhelming. Winning World’s Toughest Mudder 2013 was a goal I set in 2012. I ticked the box. Job done. The opportunity to race as a member of Under Armour’s Team Australia came up, and it was different and appealing to me, so I went to the trials.
Who are the other members of your team and where are they from?
My team members are as follows: Darren Clarke, an adventure racing teammate of mine who finished fifth place at WTM 2013; Lachlan Dansie, a brilliant, multi-talented athlete who is the most relaxed Aussie you’ll find; Mick Crossley, a strong, determined and friendly all-around athlete; and Luke Atkins, a WTM 2012 and 2013 contender who is fitter and stronger than previous years. Darren, Mick, Luke, and I are all from Victoria, and Lachie is from Sydney.
What was Under Armour’s Team Australia selection process like?
First, athletes were put through a two-hour, non-stop combination of crossfit style exercises and running. This gave coaches an ability to see athletes in their groove and see how they coped. They looked for team qualities as well as brute strength. From there, thirty or so athletes were chosen to proceed to “O-School,” a gruelling 25-hour test which broke a lot of athletes. Only a handful of athletes were left standing, and from there, a team was formed.
Have you had ample time to train and plan together in person or have you mostly stayed in touch electronically?
Under Armour organized our team travel to the Tough Mudder events across Australia. At these events, were were able to go over the course together as a team. Most of us are from Victoria, so we have been catching up on our own time too.
How does running on a team change your training regimen?
Running on a team doesn't change too much for me in regards to training. Whether I am racing as an individual or on a team, I am determined to do the best that I can. I train to be at my optimum.
There’s a major time zone swing from Victoria to Vegas. How long have you been here to get acclimated to the environment?
I've been in the States since October 22. I came over for another event and stayed. The rest of Under Armour’s Team Australia arrived on November 9. I met up with them the next day, and I’m really excited that they’re here.
How will the venue change from a speedway in New Jersey to the desert sands of Las Vegas change your approach to WTM 2014?
My motto is this: Be prepared for anything. This is how I approach every event. I train in as many different ways as I can in as many different environments as I can. That way, whatever is thrown at me should be achievable. The event could have horse riding, shooting, netball, puzzles or knitting in it. Whatever it has, I’ll be ready.
Last year, you completed 85 miles at WTM as an individual. The returning team champs, 3am Waterfalls, covered 80 miles last year. Does your team have a mileage goal?
It is hard to predict mileage goals, as every event is different and has different conditions. We have spoken of our goals, but what they break down to in mileage is hard to say. What I can say is that Under Armour’s Team Australia is fit, ready and raring to go.
To track Under Armour's Team Australia and all the other WTM contenders in realtime, follow Tough Mudder's live coverage of WTM 2014.