Trustee Files A Motion To Approve Sale Of Tough Mudder To Spartan Race

Spartan Race buys Tough Mudder

As we reported on February 4, Spartan Race have been working closely with the US Trustee in charge of the Tough Mudder Bankruptcy Case, to acquire Tough Mudder.

Yesterday, the Trustee filed a motion approving the sale of Tough Mudder US to Spartan Race. In addition, the Trustee has requested, and the Court has ruled that any other arguments or bids must be received by the next hearing which is February 25, 2020 at 1:00pm EST in Judge Sotchi’s court.

We are going to capture and summarize what we believe the most salient points of the recent filings are for the obstacle racing community.

We will begin with the confidence The Trustee has in Joe Desena and Spartan’s plan to save Tough Mudder .

From the motion: “The Sale is a sound exercise of the Trustee’s business judgment. With no other viable offers for the Acquired Assets, the Debtors’ estates are left with assets rapidly losing value with significant risk of offering no return to the Debtors’ estates. The Buyer has put forth the most favorable offer for these assets. After due consideration of the terms of the offer, the Trustee concluded that the Sale Agreement provides the best value for the Acquired Assets that are otherwise at risk of losing significant, if not all, value. The resulting Sale is the product of arm’s-length negotiations between the Parties that includes fair and reasonable consideration under the circumstances. In light of the foregoing, the Trustee believes that the Sale should be approved as a sound exercise of the Trustee’s business judgment.”

Next, is the number of events which Tough Mudder will produce in North America in 2020. There are a handful of venues listed in one of the schedules/exhibits but that page of the filing is focused on monies owed and are not schedule dependent.

The motion states: “Indeed, as of the filing of this Motion, as a result of the Debtors ceasing operations, the events scheduled for the first two quarters of 2020 and others after that may no longer be salvageable and may need to be canceled.”

We reached out to Joe Desena for more specific details on the 2020 schedule. He told us :

“Our goal is to quickly over the next 6 months get Mudder back to where it was just 24 month ago with events in all markets where Spartan exists. It’s going to take a little time and massive investments but we are fully committed”

At the end of this article, we will list ORM’s best estimate as to what we believe the 2020 Tough Mudder schedule may look like.

Some have asked where Active is in all of this?. The motion states:

“The Seller may, but has no obligation to, resume selling Tough Mudder event registrations through the Debtor’s event registration platform with Active for each of the Assumed Events.”

There was some additional information about refunds for events and/or season passes. Joe Desena informed us we will know more about that on or about the 25th of February.

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Estimated 2020 Tough Mudder Schedule

We can not stress enough this is NOT inside information or anything binding. It is our best estimate based on all information available to date.

College Station March 21, 22 Not Likely

Los Angeles April 4,5              Not Likely

Atlanta May 2,3                      Not Likely

Philly May 16,27                     Not Likely

Missouri May 16, 17`              Not Likely

Michigan May 30,31               Not Likely

Virginia May 30, 31                 Not Likely

Wisconsin June 13, 14            Possible

Whistler, BC June 13-14        Possible

Boston June 20, 21                 Possible

Twin Cities July 11, 12            Possible

Indiana Aug 1 -2                      Probable

Buffalo Aug 15, 16                   Probable

Chicago Aug 22, 23                 Probable

Pittsburgh Aug 29,30              Likely

Tri State Sept 12,13                Likely

Toronto, Sept 19, 20               Likely

Nashville Sept 26,27                Likely

Sonoma Oct 3,4                      Likely

Las Vegas Oct 17,18                Likely

Dallas  Oct 31, Nov 1              Likely

Dallas – WTM  Nov 7,8         Likely

SoCal   Nov 14,15                   Likely

Central Florida Nov 21, 22    Likely

Arizona Dec 5, 6                      Likely

Stay up to date with all of the Tough Mudder news, and how we got to this point here.

Spartan Officially Acquires Tough Mudder UK

Tough Mudder City Event

As has been reported in recent weeks, Spartan has been acquiring the UK properties of Tough Mudder. Today it became official and all events scheduled for 2020 will occur as planned. This includes a Tough Mudder City event taking place on April 17-18, and Europes’ Toughest Mudder, which is 12 hour overnight event on June 13, 2020.

There will be no changes to anything about the outward appearance of Tough Mudder as “OCR UK Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Spartan” puts on events this year. The company will be led by Giles Chater with additional guidance by Kyle McLaughlin.

We’ve reached out to Giles, who is back in the lead role since the company came out of bankruptcy in the U.K. He told us:

It’s been a pleasure working with the Spartan team and we’re excited to join their brand family. I couldn’t be prouder of our talented team, partners and community who’ve supported us throughout. We can now focus on delivering the Tough Mudder experience our customers have come to love.

The United States legal process is moving slower, but the next court date has been set for Feb 25, 2020 at 1:00pm EST.

Read more about the latest on the US process here.

Stay up to date with all of the Tough Mudder news, and how we got to this point here.

LONDON (February 12, 2020) – Extreme wellness and endurance brand Spartan has acquired the business and assets of OCR brand Tough Mudder UK, which had entered administration in the UK at the end of January with Michael Solomons and Andrew Pear of BM Advisory LLP appointed as Joint Administrators. Tough Mudder UK employees are back to work and planning for the 2020 Tough Mudder season, which kicks off April 17 in Finsbury Park, North London.

“We’re proud to welcome Tough Mudder UK to the Spartan brand umbrella,” said Spartan Founder and CEO Joe De Sena. “The company’s dedicated team has built an incredible, passionate community and we’re excited to support their efforts to continue to transform lives.”

As part of the terms of the deal, the Tough Mudder UK business will operate as OCR UK Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Spartan. The company will be operated by the existing Tough Mudder UK London-based team, led by Managing Director Giles Chater with the guidance of former global Tough Mudder CEO Kyle McLaughlin. Between the two brands, Spartan will host 17 events in the UK and Ireland in 2020, drawing more than 250,000 participants. Tough Mudder Germany will continue to operate under the terms of a management agreement with Spartan.

“Spartan’s dedication to wellness, endurance sports, transformation and community is exactly what we need to deliver our vision and we could not be happier to join their family of brands,” said Chater. “We’ve been impressed with strong sales in Europe over the past couple of weeks and know that our community will share our excitement with this news heading into the 2020 Tough Mudder season.”

Tickets are on sale now at toughmudder.co.uk.

Spartan is still actively engaged in discussions with the Trustee managing Tough Mudder US through its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and have reached a deal that is now subject to court approval. Spartan is in active discussions to engage some  former Tough Mudder US employees, with an aim to stand up as many US events as possible after the sale of the Tough Mudder US assets in its Chapter 11 case, which could be completed within the month.

About Spartan

With more than 250 events across more than 40 countries on six continents, Spartan is the world’s largest obstacle course race (OCR) and endurance brand. Providing transformation through sport, Spartan attracts more than one million annual participants across all fitness levels, from beginners to elite. More than five million participants have finished Spartan events, creating a lifestyle that extends beyond races including health and wellness products, training and nutrition programs, and popular media content, which has made OCR one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Spartan events feature races at various distances, Stadion and Sprint: 5k and 20 Obstacles; Super: 10k and 25 Obstacles; Beast: half marathon and 30 Obstacles; and Ultra: 50k and 60 obstacles. Visit spartan.com for more information and registration.

Spartan and Tough Mudder Have Agreement In Principle

The courts and Spartan have reached an agreement in principal.  The company is working quickly with the courts and creditors to get Tough Mudder back up and fully operational.

Obstacle Racing Media just received the following from Spartan Race HQ:

We’re actively engaged in discussions with the Chapter 11 trustee managing Tough Mudder through its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. We understand that Tough Mudder terminated its employees yesterday because it was no longer operating. After discussion with the Chapter 11 trustee, Spartan is in active discussions to onboard some ex-Tough Mudder employees to stand up as many events as possible after the company completes the sale of assets in its Chapter 11 case, which we hope and expect will take less than a month to complete.

Their talented team helped create one of the strongest fitness brands on the planet and we are excited to continue to journey with the same group that’s built an incredible brand.

Ultimately, the trustee and the courts still have to decide what is in the best interest of all the stakeholders. However, if all goes to Spartan’s current plan, the OCR community will get some Tough Mudder events in North America this year.

Spartan Race

Spartan World Championship – Abu Dhabi – 2020

Spartan Race Abu Dhabi Tal Moreeb

Spartan Race announced that their 2020 World Championship will take place in Abu Dhabi on December 4th and 5th 2020, in the United Arab Emirates at the Tal Mor’eb Sand Dune, about 217 miles south of Dubai.

This is the first time the Spartan Race World Championship will happen outside the United States. The first event in 2011 took place in Texas, while 2012 through 2014 occurred in Killington, Vermont. The last 5 years, the event has been in September at Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe.

Some in the OCR community have been begging the location to move, while others love the atmosphere and championship level course of Tahoe.  For those that are fans of the location, the Spartan North American Championship will take place on September 26-27 in Squaw Valley.

Spartan will also bring the Spartan Kids World Championships to the middle east and will be the first event of the weekend on Friday December 4th at 1:00pm Local time.

Then the elite men will race beginning at 3:30pm local time on Friday, with the women starting 30 minutes later, followed by age groupers and open waves.

Saturday, December 5th will see the return of the Spartan World Team Championships which took a year off in 2019. We are not yet aware of the qualifying process for the Team World Champs, as Spartan had in 2018.

We spoke with Cherie Bortnick, for an upcoming podcast who spoke to us about lodging. There will be shuttles available for locations that are up to 2 hours away. There are also going to be some camping and glamping options at or near the venue. More details to come on pricing, and additional items about the weekend.

 

 

Here is the Spartan’s press release about the event:

Spartan World Championship Moves to the Arabian Desert  for Historic Race Weekend in Abu Dhabi

The World’s Best Obstacle Course Racers to Compete Across Three Spartan Events:

Elite World Championship, Team World Championship and Kids World Championship

NEW YORK (January 29, 2020) – The best obstacle course racers around the globe take on a new challenge when Spartan brings its biggest World Championship weekend to date to the desert oasis of Abu Dhabi December 4-5, 2020. For the first time in Spartan’s 10-year history, the Spartan World Championship, Hosted by Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Powered By Rakuten, will take place outside of the US and will bring the Elite Spartan World Championship, Spartan Team World Championship and Spartan Kids World Championship to the same event weekend.

The announcement was made during an exclusive media event in New York City with Spartan Founder and CEO Joe De Sena and Spartan Women’s World Champion Nicole Mericle, who ceremoniously passed the event’s official flag to Mr. Aref Al Awani, Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s General Secretary.

“Throughout the course of its eight-year history, we’ve held the Spartan World Championship in the US, and we’re excited to bring the global event to Abu Dhabi,” said De Sena. “We’re grateful for the support of Mr. Awani and the Abu Dhabi Sports Council for hosting what will prove to be an epic World Championship weekend. Abu Dhabi has everything that Spartans dream of in a World Championship: epic and difficult terrain, incredible culture, and exotic desert adventures, just outside of an ultra-modern city full of activities. There’s nowhere better for our inaugural World Championship on foreign soil.”

The crown jewel of the weekend takes place Friday, December 4, when qualified male and female elite racers descend on the remarkable desert race course outside of Abu Dhabi to compete for more than $120,000 USD in cash prizes. The half-marathon-distance “Spartan Beast” will feature a mix of high-speed running, leg-burning steep climbs and breathtaking scenery with more than 30 signature Spartan obstacles including the Spear Throw, Barbed Wire Crawl, and Helix and Rope Climb. With 2019 World Champions Robert Killian and Nicole Mericle hailing from the US, endurance athletes from more than 50 countries across the globe are expected to participate in an attempt to stake their claim on the $120,000 prize purse.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Spartan World Championship will be staged in Abu Dhabi – for the first time ever outside the United States of America,” said His Excellency Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council. “Indeed, it is a groundbreaking occasion for both Spartan and us, to take this World Championship to a new audience in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. I am aware of the success and popularity of this event over the years and as the 2020 host of this World Championship, we will do our utmost with our local organizing committee to move this championship to the next level on its success and popularity.”

Mr. Awani continued: “Abu Dhabi offers the participants a unique new landscape to conquer on the beautiful desert terrains and soft sand dunes befitting a competition of this nature.

The Spartan World Championship is the latest to be included on this list and we are absolutely delighted and looking forward to this event at a time when the country is celebrating the 49th National Day on December 2.

Abu Dhabi is a dynamic, vibrant and modern city with many world-class sporting events taking place every year. These events not only add color and energy to our city, but also enrich the travel experience of visitors and reinforce our position as a sporting capital of the world.”

Preceding the marquee event is the third annual Spartan Kids World Championship, a gated event, open to kids ages 10 to 14 years old who have placed top three in their age and gender group at any Spartan Kids race around the world. The weekend will culminate Saturday night with the Team World Championship, an event first introduced in 2017.

The race weekend also offers opportunities for non-qualified athletes to hit the race course. Saturday morning and afternoon will kick off with Open Beast heats, as well as Open heat Kids races of varying distances. 120 competitive age group heats will take place Saturday morning.

Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, craving adventure or simply want to soak up some rays and enjoy shimmering turquoise water, Abu Dhabi has you covered.

Experience a one-of-a-kind weekend full of off-course experiences infused with local Emirati culture, including the biggest festival Spartan has ever created. This epic event will include traditional Emirati food, cultural shows, extreme dune rides, yoga classes, a Parade of Nations, closing fireworks and much, much more.

To register and learn more visit Spartan.com. .

About Spartan

With more than 250 events across more than 40 countries on six continents, Spartan is the world’s largest obstacle course race (OCR) and endurance brand. Providing transformation through sport, Spartan attracts more than one million annual participants across all fitness levels, from beginners to elite. More than five million participants have finished Spartan events, creating a lifestyle that extends beyond races including health and wellness products, training and nutrition programs, and popular media content, which has made OCR one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Spartan events feature races at various distances, Stadion and Sprint: 5k and 20 Obstacles; Super: 10k and 25 Obstacles; Beast: half marathon and 30 Obstacles; and Ultra: 50k and 60 obstacles.

Visit spartan.com for more information and registration.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jonathan Fine, 781.248.3963, jonathanf@spartan.com

Tough Mudder U.K. “Back To Work”

Tough Mudder London West

We just received word from former Tough Mudder CEO Kyle McLaughlin that the Tough Mudder Europe team are back to work and are “restarting our engines over here”. He told us “We’ve resumed activity and operations and are aiming to have Europe ticket sales back online mid-week”. It appears that the 2020 Tough Mudder UK calendar will be completed in full, with the first Tough Mudder 5K happening on April 17-18 and the first Classic distance event taking place 40 miles west of London on May 9-10, 2020.

We reached out to Spartan CEO, Joe Desena who’s team have been working on the purchase of Tough Mudder. He told us “We have been leaning in for months and our goal is to have ticket sales up this week in Europe.  We are hoping to quickly see this happen globally in the coming weeks. We leave no athletes behind!”

Kyle also sent us a press release which describes the legal process currently taking place in the UK, which is allowing all of this to happen.

You can read it in full, below.

Update: 12:15PM EST – Video interview with Kyles and Giles

Michael Solomons and Andrew Pear of BM Advisory LLP, the specialist restructuring, recovery and insolvency firm, were appointed as Joint Administrators of Tough Mudder Ltd on 24 January 2020. The Administrators are continuing to trade the business with a view to selling the business and assets, including its wholly owned German subsidiary, Tough Mudder GmbH, as a going concern.

Spartan Race has generously supported Tough Mudder’s administration process with the necessary funding required to resume trading. The Joint Administrators have engaged both Giles Chater and Kyle McLaughlin, formerly of the Tough Mudder Ltd management team, to support the business going forward whilst a sale is achieved. Under the Administrators, ticket sales are planned to re-open mid-week and the Tough Mudder team returned to work today.

Michael Solomons of BM Advisory commented: “Tough Mudder has a very strong brand and presence in the obstacle race industry. I am confident that a sale of the business will be achieved shortly and envisage that a purchaser will move forward with plans to deliver all existing events in the 2020 European calendar.”

Similar proceedings are underway in Tough Mudder’s US and Canadian entities. Events in other countries are not currently impacted.

Parties interested in purchasing the business and assets of Tough Mudder Ltd should contact Bryn Carroll of Gordon Brothers on 020 7647 5141 or bcarroll@gordonbrothers.com.

Stay up to date with all of the Tough Mudder news, and how we got to this point here.

Court Moving Quickly On Next Steps In Tough Mudder Case

Tough Mudder Photo

This afternoon, Judge Sontchi filed an “Order Directing The Appointment Of A Chapter 11 Trustee” in the Tough Mudder bankruptcy case.  This filing states :

  • The Motion is granted; and it is further ORDERED, that the United States Trustee shall promptly appoint a Chapter 11 Trustee in the captioned involuntary chapter 11 cases.
  • ORDERED, that the Chapter 11 Trustee shall manage the operations of the Alleged Debtors and develop a restructuring or sale strategy, whichever is in the best interests of the creditors of the Alleged Debtors.
  • ORDERED, that the Chapter 11 Trustee may negotiate a sale of the Alleged Debtors’ assets, subject to Court approval and higher and better offers.

The first scheduled court date is scheduled for this Friday the 24th. However, the judge can and did decide to move forward ahead of time because all parties in the case (Tough Mudder, Spartan, Active, and the creditors) are aligned.

What happens next is a Trustee will be chosen by a pool of candidates in the next 24-48 hours.

From there, the Trustee will begin to work with all parties to guide the parties through the Chapter 11 process. What we in the community hope is that The Trustee will find a way to re-open the doors and put tickets back on sale.

One thing to note is that Tough Mudder Inc operates Tough Mudder in the US, and owns subsidiaries that operate in the UK, Germany and Canada, so progress may happen on different timelines in each region.

Read the most recent articles, and how we got to this point here.