Five questions for World’s Toughest Mudder 2016

World's Toughest Mudder Black and White

Tough Mudder held its fifth annual “World’s Toughest Mudder” race last month. World’s Toughest Mudder is the final event on the Tough Mudder calendar and is widely known as the most difficult championship race in Obstacle Course Racing. It is a 24 hour race on a five mile looped course with 21 obstacles each lap. This years course was considered to be one of the most difficult Tough Mudder has held.

Following the victories by Chad Trammell, Amelia Boone, and Team Sinergy, and as we look forward to WTM 2016, here are five questions we would love to have answered.

1. Can Junyong Pak win another WTM? Can he FINISH another one?
Junyong Pak Is Cold

Junyong Pak became a bit of a legend in the Tough Mudder community by winning the first two WTM’s ever held and finishing second in year three to a rookie named Ryan Atkins.

However, in 2014, Pak had his first truly disappointing performance at a World’s Toughest Mudder. He finished with “only” 45 miles and his first WTM DNF. Atkins repeated as champion with 95 miles. 

For the 2015 race, Atkins and several other strong racers moved to the team division, leaving the perfect opportunity for Pak to reclaim his throne, but it would not happen this year. Pak had his second WTM DNF in a row, leaving with 50 miles.

We won’t know the answer to this question until November of 2016, but here’s a hint: This past December, Pak raced in the inaugural Viper 2 Four race in Malaysia. Viper 2 Four is the only 24-hour race in Asia. Pak won the race handily, completing 87 miles. The race was held during monsoon season in Malaysia and two hours were lost when they stopped the race because of lightning strikes.

The competition at WTM will be more intense and more skilled than Viper 2 Four, but I would never bet against Junyong Pak.

2. Will Amelia Boone 3-peat?
Amelia Boone Gutting It Out

Amelia Boone has won the past two WTM’s and three of the past four. In 2012, she was nine minutes shy of winning first place overall, narrowly losing to Junyong Pak. She is unquestionably the most dominant WTM racer in the women’s division and maybe overall. Tim Ferriss recently called her “The Michael Jordan of Obstacle Course Racing”. When they sell tickets to World’s Toughest Mudder, they have to pay royalties to Boone because she OWNS this race.

But for how long?

Lindsay Webster, the best female racer not named Amelia Boone, told Matt B. Davis in a recent interview that she’s going to compete for the first time at WTM 2016. Webster had an amazing 2015. She won both the independent OCR World Championship and the Battlefrog Championship. She also placed second in the Spartan Race World Championship, finishing one minute and change ahead of Boone. 

World’s Toughest Mudder 2016 will be a great race.

3. Will Ryan Atkins keep chasing the $100k or go back to the individual category?
Ryan Atkins Leaping Logs

Tough Mudder and Cellucor announced a new prize this year: $100,000 to the winning team, but only if they completed 100 miles. 100 miles has only been reached once, by Ryan Atkins in 2013 when he had three guys on his tail who each finished with 95 miles. After winning the solo championship in 2013 and 2014 Atkins moved to the Team Division for 2015. His team, Sinergy Sports, won with 80 miles. Sinergy finished well ahead of second place but well behind its 100-mile goal.

First place in the solo division comes with a $10,000 prize. First place in the team division comes with a $12,000 prize split (at least) four ways. If you can’t reach 100 miles with a team, it’s much more profitable to go for 100 miles by yourself.

Atkins is recently engaged to Lindsay Webster. You can pay for quite a honeymoon with $100,000. Go for it Ryan!

4. Can the Wolfpack make a comeback?
Spartan Wolfpack on the WTM Podium

The Spartan Wolfpack entered the 2014 WTM unknown and if you asked them, disrespected. They won the WTM Team Division last year with 76 miles. For 2015, they were considered one of the favorites to make a run at the “$100,000 for 100 miles” team prize.

They had a disappointing race this year. One of their team members had an injury and the team was unable to finish the race. Wolfpack chose to disband in the middle of the night. Adding to the disappointment was Team Sinergy Sports’ winning with 80 miles, just above Wolfpack’s total from last year. The anticipated Wolfpack/Sinergy battle would have been great to watch if Wolfpack was at full health.

Wolfpack hasn’t announced their plans for 2016, but everyone loves a good comeback story. Come back fellas!

5. Who will win WTM 2016?
Nobody knows – but I’ll tell you.

First, the dark horse picks.
Men: Trevor Cichosz
Women: April Hartwig
Team: Getting Tough

Cichosz has finished in third and second in the last two WTM’s. 2016 could be his breakthrough year. Hartwig led the women for most of the 24 hours, before Boone passed her for the win, and will only be better next year. Getting Tough won second place last year and did it with six guys. If they trim down to four guys, they’ll be faster and could give Atkins and Sinergy Sports trouble.

My actual picks to win.
Men: Junyong Pak
Women: Amelia Boone
Team: Sinergy Sports

Yes – those are mostly favorites. Yes – Chad Trammell had an impressive win (and Trammell could easily repeat. He’s a stud!), but the way it looks now, these are my picks to win.

Here’s a bonus pick: Amelia Boone and Lindsay Webster are going to push each other hard. Whoever wins the battle between them will also finish in the top three overall.

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Check out 4 years of WTM Archives over here.

World’s Toughest Mudder Podcast – Part III

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Episode 159

It’s the conclusion of World’s Toughest Mudder 2015. We start you off with a little treat from the past. A snippet from Amelia Boone just days after winning her first WTM Crown back in 2012.

Then after a convo with Christian Griffith from his 5th Lap, we head straight into Sunday morning/afternoon interviews with

Ben Greenfield
Deanna Blegg
Juliana Sproles
Jimmy From BearFace
Ryan Atkins
Chad Trammell
Eli Hutchison from TMHQ
Amelia Boone

Today’s show is sponsored by 

Stunt Run – Save $15 using code ORM15 for all cities.

Udder Mud Run – RUNORM saves you $10 off this awesome, family friendly event!

Click here to listen or press the large red button below.

You can also find this and all past episodes on iTunes and Stitcher or wherever you like to listen.

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Show Notes

The Matt B Davis Runs Podcast – The predecessor to this show running from July 2012 to May 2013. Here you can find the 2012 WTM podcast coverage and much much more.

Our 2015 WTM Video on Facebook and Youtube.

World’s Toughest Podcast 2015 Part II

Episode 158

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On today’s show we bring your the 2nd installment of audio coverage from World’s Toughest Mudder.

We begin with a Thanksgiving leftover that should have been on Part One as we talked to Joshua “Cox” Cox and Carlo(s) Piscitello prior to the race beginning.

We then dive deep into the race already in progress as we follow:

Team WolfPack
Yancy Culp
April Hartwig
Trevor Cichosz
Allison Tai
Chad Trammell
Team 4 Eyes
Robert Killian
Ashley Seeger
Team Getting Tough
Morgan McKay
Sara Knight
Junyong Pak
Miguel Medina

Today’s episode is sponsored by Mad Anthony Mud Run. 5th year for this awesome race. Price is only $40 right now.

It is also sponsored by Obstacle Guard – Get 5% and Free U.S Shipping when you use code ORM.

We are also sponsored by Savage Race. Get in now for early 2016 pricing. Code ORM gets you an additional 10% off.

Click here to listen or press the large red button below.

You can also find this and all past episodes on iTunes and Stitcher or wherever you like to listen.

 

Show Notes

Google any of today’s athletes for a rockin’ good time.

How To Get 40 Miles at World’s Toughest Mudder

I was able to watch first hand as two friends of mine, J.D. Allen and Jared Campanella, competed in this year’s  World’s Toughest Mudder.

Jared spent half of the event in his sleeping bag curled up with his significant other.  J.D., on the other hand, never stopped.

They both finished the event on Sunday afternoon,  earning their black headband, after completing 8 laps.

I reached out to both men and emailed them identical questions to learn more about their experiences.

Name
J.D. Allen

Age
46

JD Run The ATl

City, State you reside in
Acworth/Kennesaw, GA

Height
5’10 ¾”

Weight
165# for WTM, Usually closer to 175# plus (didn’t try to lose weight – I actually tried to eat more and more often to prevent losing too much mass in the last couple of months leading up to WTM).

Best OCR finishes to date
2nd Place AG 2011 Carolinas Super Spartan
2nd Place AG Spring 2013 Atlanta Savage Race
2nd Place AG 2014 Superhero Scramble Georgia
3rd Place Elite AG Spring 2013 Savage Race (completed all obstacles, kept wristband)
(btw, I wasn’t aware of some of those finishes. I just looked them up on Athilinks.com)

Best road finishes to date
Didn’t die during #RuntheATL 2015
I finished the 2007 Ironman Wisconsin in just under 13 hours.
3rd Place AG, 25th Overall 2008 Motor City Triathlon
3rd Place AG 2006 Anchor Bay Triathlon
4th Place AG 2004 Pleasant Prairie Triathlon (This is the only time I have ever actually stood on the podium to get a medal during the awards ceremony – I got the third place medal, but later a timing error was corrected and I was actually in 4th. The other races either didn’t have awards ceremonies or I wasn’t able to attend)

Longest training run leading up to WTM
I ran 20 miles once or twice from my home to the top of Kennesaw mountain and back.
I also ran a couple of shorter (18 and 17 miles) from my home to top of Kennesaw Mountain and back.

WTM mileage goal
35 – 55 miles (but I really wanted to get 50 miles)

At what point in the race did you decide you could make/not make that goal?
At 2 am I had 30 miles, felt great and knew I could get 50 miles. I kept trying to tell myself “don’t trust your high” which I learned from the only entry I read on Nickademus’ blog.

At some point on lap 8, though, I decided that I couldn’t get up for The Cliff three more times. I could do it one more time, but that was it. I was also worrying that I wouldn’t be able to do The Liberator anymore because my strength was depleted. I didn’t want to get DQ’d and sacrifice all the mileage I had already put in. I sandbagged the rest of the lap until it was impossible to get even 1 more lap after lap 8.

What was your crew plan?
I brought my childhood friend Andy who was a runner and who had done a few Tough Mudders.
I knew he’d do what I asked and think of things I didn’t.
I knew he’d have food ready and waiting for me.
I knew exactly what food / Drink I wanted and when. I told him and he had it waiting.
I knew he’d be empathetic, trustworthy, and responsible.

I had instructions written on 3×5 cards. I planned on lamenting them but didn’t get to it. Instead I just put them in a zip lock bag and Andy carried them with him. 

At some point you made a decision to suffer more or suffer less, when was that and what had you make that decision?
I was never in much pain. I was never cold.
When I went out on lap 8 I decided that I wouldn’t put myself through the mental anguish of The Cliff (and I wouldn’t take the electroshock therapy penalty) I couldn’t face The Cliff more than 1 more time. I wasn’t going to do any more laps. Every jump was very difficult for me psychologically. I was terrified every time and it wasn’t getting better. It took everything to jump each time. I didn’t think I’d have the mental resolve to do it any more. It took mental grit to jump, but I was afraid that I didn’t have the toughness to do it any more.

JD Cliff

What did you think of the other person as you saw each other at 2am?/10am?
2 am: I thought he was done and he wasn’t going to be coming back. He was asleep after being near hypothermic.
I thought “Won’t the folks at home be surprised when they see that I completed the most mileage out of our guys from Georgia” (I was sure I was going to get at least 9 laps and have more mileage than Christian, and I was sure that Jared was done).

Because Jared is such a great athlete I thought it would be fun to finish with more miles/laps than he.

Mostly, though, I was just thinking about my race and (since he didn’t seem to be in any danger) I wasn’t giving Jared much thought.

10 am: When I left our tents for lap 8, Jared was in a sleeping bag. I didn’t give him much of a thought. He passed me the first time on that lap before Mile 2. He passed me the second time after mile 4. I was surprised he got up and went back out to run again. I knew he was fast enough to make up a lot of miles. He was flying, but I didn’t think he could catch up to my mileage. But he did.

Is there anything you want to say to the other person?

Good job rallying back and getting back out there.
Let’s talk about cold weather gear/strategies for next year.
I have an extra wet-suit you can borrow if you need it.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.45.02 PM
J.D. Allen

Name

Jared Campanella

City, State you reside in

Woodstock, GA

Age

25

Jared Warrior

Height

5’11

Weight

163 lbs.

Best OCRs finish to date

This year I took home a paddle for most laps completed in BattleFrog Extreme (BFX), Came in 2nd overall in Rugged Maniac, and 3rd overall in the Gwinnett Jailbreak Challenge.

Best road finish to date 

In October 2014, I came in 3rd overall in a 5k road race called Superheroes vs. Villains and I hit a PR of 18:54

Longest training run leading up to WTM

My longest training run was about 15 miles but my real training was done while competing in ultra-marathons this year. Between 6 ultra/endurance events, I ran a combined total of 320+ miles

WTM mileage goal

To hit at least 50 miles

At what point in the race did you decide you could make/not make that goal?

Once the sun went down and the temperature dropped into the 40s with wind coming off the lake, I started shivering very badly even though I had 2 wetsuits on. I knew at that point that I had to wait until the sun came back up to continue running or risk getting hypothermia. That decision lead to me coming short of my goal.

What was your crew plan?

My significant other, Cassy Aslani, was my one pit crew member and her main goal was to keep me hydrated and consuming as many calories as possible throughout the race. Cassy would check with me at an obstacle that was close to the finish line to see what I needed and she would run back to the pit to grab everything so she can pass it off to me at the completion of the lap. This plan made for little to no transition time at the pit between laps which worked very well.

At some point you made a decision to suffer more or suffer less, when was that and what had you make that decision?

Part way through my 5th lap, my core temperature started dropping and I couldn’t regulate my body temperature leading me to shiver very badly for the second half of the lap. Each time I would dunk into the cold water at an obstacle, my muscles would start to crap, an issue which I had never experienced before, and my hands were feeling cold and stiff making it hard to complete obstacles. When I came into the pit after completing my 5th lap, Cassy wrapped me in a space blanket and no matter what I did, I couldn’t stop shivering. At this point, I decided since the temperatures were only going to go down more and the wind was picking up, I needed to get the wetsuits off and try my best to warm up and rest so I could hit the course hard in the morning when the sun came back up.

Jared Bunked InWhat did you think of the other person as you saw each other at 2am?/10am?

2 AM: I was very impressed by J.D. Despite the cold and lack of sleep, he was dancing and singing at 2 AM and he looked like he was having the time of his life out there.

10 AM: I saw J.D. right as he was heading out for his 8th and final lap and though he still had a smile on his face, I could tell that the lack of sleep was wearing on him paired with the constant physical exertion he was putting forward to complete the obstacles.

Is there anything you want to say to the other person?

I want to say to J.D. that he’s champion in my book and that I wish I could have been out on the course with him throughout the night instead of shivering under a space blanket in the south pit. I also want to tell him that I’m thoroughly impressed by the huge effort he put forward to keep hitting lap after lap for a full 24 hours. To some endurance athletes, 8 laps or 40 miles in 24 hours may not seem that impressive but anyone who was out there with us at Lake Las Vegas in the middle of the night would understand just how big of an accomplishment that really is.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 3.47.30 PM

Jared Lap 8

 

Photo credits: Jared Campanella, J.D. Allen, Tough Mudder, The MudCrusher, Cassy Aslani

Episode 156 – World’s Toughest Podcast 2015 – Part I

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The coverage of WTM that you have come to count on from the podcast.

It’s our 4th year in a row talking to as many people as we can get to in the time allotted at World’s Toughest Mudder

This year’s Part I is Saturday interviews with the following people prior to the race, er challenge, starting. (In order of appearance)

Will Dean
Amelia Boone
Junyong Pak
Josue Stephens
Robert Killian
Ben Greenfield
Morgan McKay
Team Sinergy
Team Spartan Wolfpack

Today’s show is sponsored by:

Men’s Health Urbanathlon – Code ORM saves you 10% in SF and NY this year.

Stunt Run – Save $15 using code ORM15 for all cities.

Udder Mud Run – RUNORM saves you $10 off this awesome, family friendly event!

Click here to listen or press the large red button below.

You can also find this and all past episodes on iTunes and Stitcher or wherever you like to listen.

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Show Notes

All ORM WTM Coverage!

 

PS That top photo is of Tod Brilliant and Joshua Cox collecting rocks to hold down tents in the pit. Neither one of them is in this episode, but isn’t it a neat photo.

World’s Toughest Mudder Periscope Replays!

Oh, The miracles of technology. As you already know, our crack team was on the ground all weekend capturing the action at the 2015 World’s Toughest Mudder.

Thanks to Periscope, we were able to bring you live highlights as we never could before.

They were all saved to this awesome site called Katch.me and now you can enjoy them all again. Forever.

How about for starters, we go straight for the jugular with the Champions Brunch Sneak Peak Video that TM put together!?!?!

TMHQ Video
Now that you have calmed down, how about another gem like our little chat with Amelia after she got her big check?

WTM Amelia

Continuing our way backwards in time, how about when The Cliff opened?

The Cliff

But, really, who are we kidding, the TRUE star of our Periscopes this weekend was MudCrusherWTM                                                              Haruko aka The Mud Crusher

Here’s a classic example of Haruko doing what she did so well, showing the folks at home “Operation”.

Operation

 

Our entire Periscope world can be found here. In her excitement, Haruko forgot to title many of them, so think of it like a little treasure hunt. They are in order by time (most recent ones are at the top of the page), so that’s a good start.

KATCH WTM PM

 

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