World’s Toughest Mistakes By TMHQ?

The-Stacks-1028x514

Over my seven previous World’s Toughest Mudder (WTM) races I’ve seen a lot of changes. Some of these changes are made during the race and others happen year after year. However, a number of these alterations could actually be considered poor decisions or ones made as a knee-jerk reaction to things happening as the race progresses.

The one thing that has remained pretty constant over the years is those people actually running the race for Tough Mudder headquarters (TMHQ) have had a good amount of experience with this event. The racers put a lot of trust in these individuals to make quality decisions that will keep the race both “enjoyable” as well as competitive. This year TMHQ has decided that WTM will no longer be a competitive event. This in and of itself is a pretty big change but, in addition, they have a new race director as well as a new medical team. This event is Different in what way?different than any other on the planet so it leads me to wonder how things are going to go. It’s one thing to watch from the outside as an observer or to read and watch videos about WTM, but the veteran racers who have been there and experienced this event as it transitioned from New Jersey to Las Vegas and then last year to Atlanta will tell you that to extremely”really understand WTM you need experience. How the 2019 WTM will go with the new “replacements” is a real question so I figured I’d put together a few nuggets for these young pups to chew on leading up to their first real go at this.

One of the great genius ideas that TMHQ has come up with over the years as we progressed through a race is that should the weather get extremely cold they will remove water submersion in an attempt to keep us warmer. Back in 2013, racers were told that as long as we didn’t fail obstacles then we would remain “relatively dry.” This of course was ridiculous for almost every racer except for some rookie from Canada named Ryan Atkins who came out of nowhere and destroyed the field.

In theory, keeping us dry would keep us warmer. However, once you’re a little wet the danger of hypothermia increases significantly, so even if we were only getting wet a couple times a lap the danger was there and very real. The difference with WTM versus nearly every other obstacle course race on the planet is that participants are prepared to run overnight in the cold by wearing wet suits. that are showing their ignorance. It should be assumed that WTMers have arrived at the race with the proper gear. A racer who as the proper equipment will be able the handle water no problem. By removing the water submersions TMHQ wasn’t allowing our neoprene gear to do its job.

The reality is that in order for our wet suits to be effective we need to be in the water regularly. The warmest time in the 2012 New Jersey event as well as in Atlanta last year was when we were in the water. When the air temperature is 30° and the water temperature is 50° one could make the argument it’s obvious where are the racers would be safer. I’m sure it was the medical staff that said “cold water is dangerous.” The difference is we were wearing wet suits so after approximately 20 seconds in the water the wet suit has done its job and the water inside the suit is much warmer than 50°. This would allow us to regain feeling in our hands and feet again. Once the swim was removed last year in Atlanta I always looked forward to the Cage Crawl but if I remember right that was eventually removed as well. This meant that we were left relatively wet running/walking around Wakanda in the dark with basically no way to warm up.

World's Toughest Mudder Atlanta

The secondary effect of the water submersion removal last year in Atlanta was that we were running dirty most of the race. Heck we didn’t even have a way to clean off before the pit which means we came into there filthy. Some of us even developed a post-race bacterial rash the was a bitch to eliminate. I contend that an obstacle that allowed us to rinse off you have helped immensely. I spoke to Eli Hutchinson at the brunch after the race last year mentioning that we needed a way to clean off before entering the pit so hopefully that will be addressed this year but who knows. The bottom line is if the water submersions are left in the race and the participants are wearing their wet suits it will not result in them “colder” on course.

Another point of contention I have always had with World’s Toughest Mudder is the use of the medical tent as a rewarming area. While I’m not going to get into a long explanation of how human thermoregulation works in this event for that you can check out the WTM Cliff Notes podcast where I discuss thermoregulation, gear and just about everything else you need to know; I do want to address the use of warming stations. The body has a natural defense to the cold. Most people when exposed to the elements have the immediate thought, “I need to get warm!”

When you know you’re going to be out in the cold for an extended period of time you need to get “comfortably cold” and stay that way. When your body rewarms it decreases this defense system against the cold. As you grow increasingly fatigued this defense system is compromised. By rewarming you essentially shut off the defense system. To quote Admiral Ackbar…

It’s at this time that you may experience “after drop” which is more dangerous and one of the reasons why when you enter the med tent they want to monitor you as you’re in there. If it is your intention to go back out and race again, you’re then asking a now compromised cold defense system to kick back fully.

In the past, Tough Mudder and their medical staff has forced you out of the warming tent after 30 minutes. The reality is if it takes you longer than 30 minutes to get warm you probably shouldn’t be racing anymore anyway. However, if you’re not going to head back out you’re going to face an uphill battle to stave off hypothermia.

When your body sees you as constantly attacked it holds up his defense. If you let your mind get the best of you and you head into the rewarming tent for longer than a cup of Joe then you are becoming our own worst enemy. You are now of weak mind and weak body trying to head back out into a hostile environment. The last thing I would want in a firefight is to go out there half-cocked. This year TMHQ and their Med staff has decided not to remove you from the medical tent and they’ve even doubled down by possibly putting a rewarming tent out with Coach Kyle on course?

It’s my guess this will be placed by The Stacks to get a crowd out there. I recommend that athletes stay out of this area other than to grab food because as stated above you are only going to compound your problems if we have cold temperatures like last year. I remember these on course warming stations back in New Jersey. Walking into one of those was like walking into a tent in Europe during World War I. The racers looked like zombies! I would drink my hot chicken broth, pour a couple cups on my shoes and in my gloves, grab a couple bags of Sharkies and get the hell out of there. You see, as you sit your body temperature drops and in a warmer environment as stated you’re cooling defense decreases resulting in a whole world of shit, but I digress.

World's Toughest Mudder Atlanta

The final area of concern that I’m going to discuss here is regarding reporting injuries to Medical. It has always been a concern of athletes at World’s Toughest Mudder to report injuries fearing getting a “Med Pull” (where the medical will no longer allow you to continue). In more recent years participants have been encouraged by Molly Kenneth to report injuries to Medical citing they will not pull you unless you are in danger. I know of one athlete who actually broke his/her foot during the race last year and didn’t realize the severity of the injury because the foot was numb from the cold. When the racer was done, he/she entered the Med tent to warm up and saw bruising on the foot and approached the Doctor who told the participant that he/she MUST go to the hospital to have it looked at. This racer was not allow to be driven to the hospital. He/she had to go by ambulance. Once at the hospital they confirmed a fractured metatarsal. The racer would have to have it treated when he/she got home. What followed was what I had always thought and feared would happen… An eight month fight with the hospital and the Tough Mudder’s insurance company to get the REQUIRED ambulance ride and hospital visit covered for an injury that wasn’t treated. The persistence of the athlete prevailed ultimately as everything eventually was taken care of, but only after this person just plain refused to pay for it. This athlete told me, “I will never go into the med tent again unless I require immediate medical assistance!”

I am writing this article out of concern about how our “weak in the knees” society may be invading our beloved WTM and changing it and not for the better. Hopefully my fears detailed above are all unwarranted and turn out to be non-issues. Matt B. Davis eloquently stated in a recent ORM podcast (I’m paraphrasing), “Races always say “The safety of the participants is our #1 concern” but we know this not to be true. It may rank highly on the list, but it’s not their #1 concern. They are there to make money and provide a great experience.

I would add they are also looking to cover their own asses. Some of these changes are there to keep the underwriters happy. All the above notwithstanding, Kyle McLaughlin and his staff at TMHQ gave Tough Mudder a fantastic rebirth in 2019 and I hope that continues into WTM but only time will tell. The event is nearly upon us and the racers will be ready.

I only pray Tough Mudder has something amazing and memorable for us! I want this event to be a new beginning for World’s Toughest Mudder. Not the race where we had the WTM funeral at the same place where Tony Stark had his. We shall see!

You Don’t Have A Business, You Have A Hobby.

Is Your Business A Hobby

I sell advertising for our media company. It is how we pay most of the bills around here. The phrase I have heard the most from our potential customers in the last 7 years from new companies we speak with are “We don’t really have a marketing budget”.

Which prompts me to think “You don’t really have a business then do you?”

I am consistently surprised by this notion of a business refusing to put dollars into marketing or advertising. So many self-starters think that by creating a webpage, and essentially “turning the lights on”, that they will be successful.

Many of my potential customers are in the race business. They say things like “I don’t have sufficient enough sales from participants to spend money on an advertising budget”. As if, this is how a business has ever worked. You aren’t massively successful by doing nothing, and then able to snag ever more participants. No magical cash flow was ever created by never promoting your events on the front end.

If you don’t want to put money towards growing your product and only want to spend money on executing your event, which is totally fine. Just know that you do not have a business, you have a hobby.

Nothing wrong with having a hobby. Hobbies bring us a way to put energy towards passions, a way to serve our community, a way to gain self-improvement, and countless other benefits. What they don’t do is make money. Hobbies are things we do because we don’t care if we make money. We do them for a loss or break even at best.

A successful business requires far more effort. It requires looking past just the next event or next quarter. It requires sacrificing time and human capital. It requires getting help in ways one never thought imaginable. It also costs money. So if you want to grow, you need to advertise. Start small, exchange favors, do whatever you can, but do it.  Otherwise, you don’t have a business.

PS When you do purchase some advertising, please do not begin looking for magical ROI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Miss The Good Ole Days Of Obstacle Racing

The 2019 Obstacle Racing season is well underway, and from what we’ve seen so far, both participation rates and TV viewing numbers are at record highs. Well, that’s just peachy, I guess.

I should congratulate Spartan. They’ve done the unthinkable: taken a cheesy fad and made it mainstream, leaving opposing companies face-down along the road in their wake like Battlefrog competitors during a double sandbag carry. Joe and company have even persuaded huge mainstream sponsors to buy in and Olympic dreams to swell…but listen, I can’t do this. I’ve made my name as a straight shooter, so I need to be honest with you: not everyone is happy with the progress the major obstacle racing series is making, yours truly included. I’m sure many of you loyal ORM readers feel similar. Progress has occurred at the expense of the community. Do you also remember (and miss) the good old days? Let’s get into it.


Obstacle Racing Media was given an exclusive look at early injury numbers (measured via medic reports submitted at venue) during 2018. These usually cover anything from cramps and IV’s to serious injuries and on-course fatalities. And guess what? They’ve dropped massively in every category this past year, continuing a three-year downward trend.

Roots-Stretcher

Back when racing was hardcore

But to be clear, this isn’t just about injuries. I hope you don’t think we’re that obtuse. What this IS about is how soft, how white-washed this sport has become. This is what happens when companies sell out. I know I’m not alone in thinking that by fixating on moonshot Olympic dreams and Yelp reviews, Spartan has left many of its core members in the dust, and in doing so has lost some of the draws it once had. Some industry experts I’ve spoken with agree and worry that Spartan Race is losing its edge. This can be attributed at least partly to recent changes focusing on safety that has sullied the race experience and proven divisive at best.

Many of us miss the good old days before Spartan sold its soul in exchange for TV money and hastened to rid itself of everything that made it great in the first place. First to appear was Reebok- the soulless, trend-hopping, neglected cousin of Nike. Desperate to capitalize on the sport of functional fitness, the brand peppered overpriced gear with our hallowed logo and treated OCR shoes like iPhones, releasing a new, mildly disappointing update each year, with grip one can only assume was directly inspired by a banana peel that had been soaked in warm coconut oil.

Then the gladiators disappeared- which, as many of you remember, led to a nation-wide boycott of races by the cosplayer community. But it’s not just people who like to play dress-up who have been hurt by policy changes.

To have a sweat-soaked, muscular, cape-wearing hunk take you down and dominate you at your most vulnerable…I still get chills just thinking about it. In fact, that rush alone was excuse enough for a season pass for many of us. But sadly, those days are gone.

Chuck Whipley, head of Kermit the Flog, a BDSM club based out of Atlanta, echoed this sentiment during a recent FB messenger conversation.Part of the allure of Spartan used to be the idea that you were paying not just to race, but to be publicly humiliated, both physically and emotionally, and if lucky, sometimes in front of large crowds.” Whipley continued, “I know [fellow club member and OCR industry insider] Matt Davis feels similar, and he’s the guy you should get in touch with.” Through a spokesman, Matt declined to discuss the matter but did deny ever meeting or communicating with Chuck.

And the courses? They used to be TOUGH. In the past, racers were guaranteed at minimum several ravine tumbles, a rolled ankle, and maybe even a few deep slashes across the back, courtesy of barb wire. These days you’re lucky to experience one of the aforementioned if at all, and rumor has it barbed wire is next to go.

Come Monday I used to show up to work an absolute wreck. Mornings were spent limping around the office, regaling anyone within the distance of the tribulations I had undergone while they had spent a lazy Saturday sipping breve lattes or comparing paint finishes at Home Depot. I know they were impressed with me, maybe even a little jealous, even if they didn’t show it. How could they not be? My body was hardened by burpees, my confidence sky-high. Cracked scabs oozed puss through my dress shirt as I bent to fill a mug with my signature brew (bulletproof coffee mixed with one-and-a-half sticks of butter). It was clear I had returned from the edge, from something extreme, having stepped beyond what was normal or expected of a man and emerged better for it. Chafed nipples leaked tiny droplets of blood onto my pastel-striped Brooks Brothers shirt, like Rorshach tests that served to inform my coworkers of their own daintiness. I imagined David Goggins looking proudly down from Heaven, a single tear rolling down his stern face. Editors note: David Goggins is alive and well. I was Ed Norton in Fight Club; bruised and battered, but free, and completely numb to the corporate BS. The opposite of present-day Spartan.

Gone are the threats of sepsis and paralysis, replaced by participation medals and special interest stories on NBC. We ran to honor the flag; now people run for Instagram likes. Which makes me wonder what will happen to participation rates if Instagram actually deletes ‘like’ tallies from photos.

Roots-Stretcher                                Why race when you can purchase the experience from your couch?

I’m sure I sound bitter, but this is just the truth.

Google trends confirmed my suspicions. As of this writing, searches for “How to get feces out of barb wire cut” were at a 4-month low, while queries for “Frostbite on wiener, how to tell?” had grown flaccid at best.

Also gone these days, the ability to utilize the spear throw area to literally gun down competitors. For several years now the spear has been tied via rope to the fence, eliminating the once-fan favorite game of Frogger that would occur while volunteers rushed into the line of fire to retrieve spears from the target.


A higher-up with Spartan who wished to remain unnamed acknowledged my concerns. “We’ve seen some of these early 2018 figures, and yes, we’re a little concerned over the perceived sell-out status of our brand. But in the long run, we believe fans will understand the changes we have made,” he said.

In Spartan’s defense, there are signs it has turned from its foolhardy ways and has even begun to show some common sense by returning back to its roots and core community.

As many of you know, back in 2016 Spartan was forced to indefinitely postpone their second annual cruise after the ship was quarantined following a post-trip coast guard inspection of its pool and hot tub. However –and this will probably be news to most of  ORM’s readers– this August the arduous two-year disinfection of the Royal Princess is slated for completion. Finally!  The official Spartan release stated as much: “We can announce with pride that the hot tubs will officially open again. Spartan and hedonism will once again be synonymous as Spartan and the (recently-unstickied) Royal Princess will return to Stirrup Cay, Bahamas in 2020. Bring your swimsuits…or don’t- anything goes.”

Our sources within the industry echoed that all is not lost, adding that they’ve seen a solid uptick in ACL tears, compound fractures, and rolled ankles over the past 18 months, most of which the industry can thank the Tough Mudder X series for.

Finally, while Warrior Dash’s recent demise has certainly shocked the industry, grassroots races are quickly popping up in its wake and just might sway hoards of disinterested racers into getting back on the course. The front-runners to fill Warrior Dash’s hole include Florida’s Co-ed-Croc race, in which competitors are teamed up with an alligator over a 6+ mile course, and the Black-and-Blue race, a 24 hr enduro event during which racers are tasked with completing as many laps as possible around the Roswell, Georgia police station while donning Collin Kaepernick jerseys.

Do you also miss the good old days of the sport? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Why aren’t you faster?

“If more information were the answer we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs” -Derek Sivers

Back when I was racing, there was a conversation that would come up almost every weekend. It was always the same conversation, and it usually went the same way. “Listen,” a ‘green’ racer would say, “I want to improve, I think I have talent, and I was wondering what the next step would be for me?”

It’s incredibly exciting to hear this, because I remember being in a similar position. At age fourteen my mile time dropped from 4:56 to 4:41 in a single race, and it dawned on me that I might actually have a future in running, this thing that until that moment had felt less like ‘sport’ and more like punishment. This is bittersweet, of course, because acknowledging it means choosing a path that is lonely, painful, and rarely rewarding, and for a 14 year-old, anything but cool. Think about it, you’re basically saying “I am committing to having a body that will repel the opposite sex (or the same sex, whatever your thing is) for the foreseeable future.”

I went out and bought Jack Daniel’s Running Formula. I began spending far too much time on Dyestat and Letsrun.com. The walls of my room filled with race bibs and pictures of Alan Webb and Dathan Ritzenhein. I read Once a Runner over and over, until the cover shed and the pages began to fall out. I kept playing basketball, but my heart was not in it. My coach¹, a hard-nosed Bo Ryan disciple, would see this and tee off on me: “Looks like McCauley’s too tired from running to give his all on defense today! EVERYONE ON THE LINE!”

Throw in a Prefontaine poster and milk jug full of water and your runner’s starter pack is complete

 

Soon I was familiar with pacing, mileage progressions, and the necessary strength work to succeed. Now whether my coaches would allow me to train that way was an entirely different question (they didn’t) but regardless, I had acquired an inherent understanding of what it would take, physiologically, to succeed at the next level.

So in response to the question from the fellow racer, I would respond, “How many miles are you running?” Whatever the reply, the answer would be simple: “You need to run more miles.” At this suggestion they would visibly deflate. This was not what they were hoping to hear.

It couldn’t be that simple. There must be a secret, a short-cut, some way to improve NOW.


This sport is at its core running². There is no secret to running. There are no short-cuts, #lifehacks, or tricks to get faster. You must run more, and you must run at different speeds: fast, medium, and slow, and on different terrains: flat, hilly, slight downhills, and finally, at different distances: short, medium, and occasionally long. Sometimes you should run twice a day.

When you are not running, you must recover.

That’s oversimplified, of course, but that’s just about all there is to it, and it is where this article should end. However, that’s not how it goes. Our earlier conversation with the athlete continues.

“Okay, but what are your thoughts on minimalist shoes? What if I transition to forefoot striking or start supplementing with more Crossfit? Speaking of supplements, which should I be taking? What about pre-workouts?”

None of this matters, and while this isn’t a conversation I’m normally interested in having at all, it is definitely not one I will have unless the athlete has already done aforementioned- the 99% to make the 1% worth it. Have they made a choice to fully chase a dream; to embrace what John L. Parker dubbed the “miles of trials,” which consists of building up to a high mileage diet of 60-100 miles per week over time? Have they watched their body change, their sloppy form tidying up, strides shortening and toe-off becoming light and nimble, movement becoming rhythmic and precise, 8:00 minute mile easy runs becoming 7:20’s and eventually, 6:20’s?

If you haven’t done the 99%, there’s little point focusing on the 1%. Think of it as a math teacher writing a formula on the board. “This is the key to solving the problem,” they say to the class. “But,” the student interjects, “What’s the best type of pencil for me to be writing with?” These are nothing more than distractions from the work at hand.

If you’re reading this and you ‘noped out’ at the 60-100 miles part, that’s completely fine. For any number of reasons, you don’t want it; truly, desperately want it, and most people don’t. But don’t blame your lack of trying on schedule constraints, injuries, or family. You simply don’t want it.

This is a significant commitment to embark on, after all. So you ignore the advice and look elsewhere for a source who will tell you differently.


It’s easier for consumers to change their heroes than habits.

And for good reason. It’s uncomfortable for us to step out of our echo chamber. For a vegan or ketogenic to admit that their diet may hamper them in certain endurance events. For a muscle-bound athlete to admit he would fair better in an ultra-marathon if his dead-lift were lower. Or a cross-fitter to acknowledge the negative effects of that IPA or two he loves to sip after a workout (and this one cuts me deep).

Why change your belief when you can simply find a new coach or community who will affirm your beliefs?

Coaches –who are salesmen– flock to the outlier. You will meet running gurus who will tell you high intensity and low miles are the cure to life’s problems. That the stronger you are the faster you will be. That forefoot running is the elixir of life.

To be fair, I did experiment with minimalism and even raced Spartan race barefoot in Temecula. To this day I find the occasional cactus spine in my feet…

We are a society with every bit of knowledge ever gleaned a mere finger swipe away. The path to success is there, clear, concrete, fully-laid out, and yet we are ever-more fixated on ignoring that in favor of expediting, shortcuts, and hacks. Coaches, writers, anyone who can profit from offering some new exciting alternative will attempt to do so. To be fair, some of these alternatives are not bad, at least for hobby joggers. But on the other hand, one could argue that Christopher McDougal’s teachings have subsidized more doctor’s country club memberships over the last 10 years than concrete roads ever have.


To those of you who have already gone down that path and experienced the trials of miles, who have over many years built up an aerobic base, well, you’re free to train however you like. Go experiment with alternatives, you’ve earned it, after all. Our sport is filled with athletes like Hobie Call, who won a world championship off of low mileage. That can work for a guy who spent the prior 10 years training full-time for the marathon, but if you don’t have that aerobic base down, it probably won’t work as well for you.

But if you’re sick of being just ‘okay’ or ‘almost there’, and you really, really, want to be good, to be a sponsored athlete, to grace podiums, to PR at every distance from mile to marathon -whatever your goal might be- I challenge you to do the following. Find a copy of 80/20 running or Jack Daniel’s book. Get yourself a good running (not OCR³) coach. Become a student of the sport, and give running one year. One full year. There is no instant gratification here. In fact, you will probably regress, at least at first. But in a year you will be an entirely different person and competitor.


Weldon Johnson is the co-founder of Letsrun, the website I spent countless hours on back in the day. In 2006 he wrote a fantastic article documenting his improvement from 29:49 to 28:06 in the 10km over a 3-year span. Weldon subscribes to the Michael Scott school of KISS (keep it simple, stupid).

  1. Run more
  2. Slow down
  3. Be consistent
  4. Believe in yourself

You’ll notice that nowhere in Johnson’s article is there mention of form, diet, supplements, or cryotherapy (well duh, this was 2006). Weldon doesn’t espouse eating only nuts, or putting hunks of fat into his coffee. Nothing he states is cool or sexy, but it works. It has worked since the 60’s, and it has worked for Ryan Atkins, Chad Trammel, Amelia Boone, and Ryan Kent, along with basically every other top racer. All of them have likely sacrificed double-digit years to lonely work, and in doing so have learned their own version of the secret. Weldon explains:

“Running is a very simple activity. It is largely an aerobic activity (and more so the farther you run in distance). The better aerobic fitness you have, the better you’ll do. The more you can train and the more consistently you train the better you’ll do.”

Letsrun: What a love child of 4chan and Runner’s World would look like

You have two alternatives. You can keep doing your thing; after all, there’s so much information out there, and maybe, if you search long enough, and try enough products, there’s a chance you find it, the REAL secret. Perhaps it’s wearable tech, or protein powder, or minimalist shoes. Maybe it’s weight vests, magical water, cryotherapy or myofascial relief. Or sleep trackers, electrical muscle stimulators, HIIT training. Some have said genetic testing, water-running, trx, and standing desk have worked wonders.

Or you can shut your computer, lace up your shoes, and go outside for a long run.


¹That basketball coach is in prison for life, but that’s a story for a different time
²There is one event this is not true for: the 100 meter race at OCRW this upcoming year
³However, the best OCR coaches: Yancy Camp, DWEP, Albon, Mericle, Atkins, and well,  just about every other top racer who coaches… they all have endurance backgrounds and are fantastic, extremely knowledgeable humans. My caution is against using someone who is unfamiliar with endurance outside of OCR.

Is There Potential For VR In Obstacle Racing?

KATvrTreadmills_1

 

The main limitation on virtual reality is locomotion. In the simplest terms, people just can’t move around with headsets obscuring their real-world vision, no matter how tempting it may be to do so within a given virtual program. It’s largely for this reason that, as promising as it is, VR hasn’t fully taken off yet in areas like gaming or fitness.

This problem is being addressed though, and while this is likely to be a long and imperfect process, there is progress being made. VR treadmills and similar machines are doing a better job of bringing about full immersion and a range of movement. Such things can work wonders for a lot of VR applications, and even some fairly intense workout concepts. If you imagine them applied to any kind of VR obstacle course or race training, however, they still seem to come up short. Omnidirectional VR treadmills can and will be remarkably flexible, but they still can’t directly alter terrain or bring about physical barriers.

Even if they’re not perfect though, might there be some potential for training those interested in these kinds of courses and races? In a light and indirect way, there may actually be some precedent for loosely related concepts in VR.

We have, for example, seen some more rugged VR adventures that simulate physical challenges well beyond walking and running. The most prominent particular application that would fit this description is probably The Climb. It’s a beautiful yet imperfect rock climbing game that’s coming to Oculus Quest this year and is expected to improve upon its original version. Though it is specifically focused on climbing, the game shows that a VR experience can revolve around rugged activity and physical challenges.

We’ve also seen some VR experiences with no real physical components that still make something of a show of progressing through obstacles or tough terrain. One of the most visible such experiences is Gonzo’s Quest, originally an internet-based game hosted by casino sites but now a well-regarded virtual reality arcade experience. In this game, no movement is required and even the gameplay is simple, but the point is to propel an explorer through the dense vegetation of colonial Peru. It’s not an obstacle course in any direct sense, but in a roundabout way, it almost gives you the feel for what one might feel like visually in VR.

Considering examples like these, you can at least begin to get a feel for the general concept of more involved physical challenges in virtual reality. You might imagine a VR simulation of a given landscape full of up-and-down terrain, unpredictable obstacles, things to push through, and things to vault over. And from there, you can further imagine that at least some form of VR training may well be possible for obstacle racers. It won’t be perfect, and there won’t be physical barriers. But even a largely visual experience coupled with a more advanced VR treadmill could still be valuable in training users for how to go about courses, and how to mentally adjust to obstacles and similar challenges.

*Cover Photo Credit: The New Screen Savers

 

World’s Toughest Mudder – An Ode to Pissing in My Wetsuit

When I think about the world’s toughest race
A mudder that put me in my place
The memory that I cannot replace
Is pissing in my wetsuit

I registered in the previous year
My training plan became more clear
A piece of training I never went near
Was pissing in my wetsuit

The forecast was cold for our race day
The five-mile course ahead of us lay
Nolan and Eli never bothered to say
We’d be pissing in our wetsuits

Worlds Toughest Mudder GirlThis competitor probably pissed in her wetsuit

The first couple laps were warm and free
The sun was out, everyone could see
I figured no other runner would be
Pissing in their wetsuit

The sun went down and it turned cold
The time had come for me to be bold
And deliver a liquid colored gold
By pissing in my wetsuit

The first couple times were totally weird
Being seen by others is what I feared
But eventually I became less skeered
Of pissing in my wetsuit

Worlds Toughest Mudder PondThe pond was the perfect place for pissing in your wetsuit

Turning laps, my heart would pound
My friends and family I couldn’t let down
I mastered the art of walking around
Just pissing in my wetsuit

As grass and obstacles turned to ice
The liquid warmth was really nice
Some laps I would even go twice
By pissing in my wetsuit

When the race was over my body was toast
My pit crew wouldn’t even come close
The smell of ammonia was super gross
From pissing in my wetsuit

Worlds Toughest Mudder WoodsTwo Ryans – Possibly Pissed in their Wetsuits

When I got home and cleaned my stuff
A simple scrub was not enough
Removing the smell was really tough
From pissing in my wetsuit

I watched the special on TV
They didn’t mention, I didn’t see
That Rea and Kris, I guarantee
Were pissing in their wetsuits

The moral of this story is
If during the race you have to wizz
The only acceptable answer is
Pissing in your wetsuit

Worlds Toughest Mudder Mendoza

I guarantee these guys pissed in their wetsuits

All Photo Credit Goes to OCR Nation