Interview: Tough Mudder Not Handing Out Cash Prizes in 2019

Tough Mudder announced this morning that they will not be handing out prize money to any events in 2019. The Tougher Mudder, Toughest Mudder, and World’s Toughest Mudder events will all go on as scheduled, but no cash will be awarded.

Once upon a time, Tough Mudder was the original bucket list muddy adventure. You were promised 10-12 miles, tons of mud, larger than life obstacles, and things that scared the shit out of you like electrical shock and ice bath plunges. They had tremendous growth with a model of “events, not races” and minus their once a year World’s Toughest Mudder extravaganza, never timed anyone or gave out any rewards other than orange headbands.

That all changed in August of 2016, with the announcement of a media partnership with CBS and a new overnight event, called Toughest Mudder. Toughest is an 8-hour overnight event, that has become a training ground for World’s Toughest, and has built-in mileage qualifications for the November WTM. A World’s Toughest feeder system if you will.

A few months later, TMHQ announced Tougher Mudder which was a timed wave first thing in the morning at every Tough Mudder location. This was something which many had been clamoring for, in the years leading up to the announcement.

5 months after that, in June 2017, Tough Mudder announced Tough Mudder X. This was yet another timed, competitive event that had CBS as a media partner and large cash payouts. The inaugural championship event was held in Minnesota one month later, was received well, and a sport was born that was tailor-made for Hunter McIntyre.

In September, TMHQ announced that Tougher Mudder would have it’s own Regional Championships and a World Championship which would be broadcast on a new Facebook Live Channel, much like Spartan had been doing for the past year.

In 2018, The Tougher Championship season was renewed with the same number of events and prize money, but without any media coverage by CBS or Facebook.  The 2nd “season” of TMX took place with 1 of 2 qualifiers being filmed for Facebook live, and the finals being broadcast on CBS.

Yesterday, on a call with Eli Hutchison, Mudder’s Senior Manager – Sport Production, the following details were confirmed for 2019.

  • No prize money for Tougher, Toughest, World’s Toughest (The TM Competitive Series)
  • Medals will be handed out to all participants of The Competitive Series event.
  • The 3 medals will form “something” when put together.
  • Special bibs still provided for competitors in The Competitive Series events.
  • Headbands for all finishers.
  • New mileage patches for every 5 miles after 25 miles.
  • No current dates for any TMX events. New media partner being openly searched for.

Here is the full conversation with Eli.

Below is the email Tough Mudder sent out:

We’re making changes that allow us to do right by the people we were founded to serve—everyday amateur athletes who are looking to test themselves and better their best. YOU are the lifeblood of why we do what we do at Tough Mudder. You’ve shown up even when the weather didn’t, tattooed our logo on your bodies, and shared our values with your communities. You committed to us, so in 2019, we’re committing to you.

RACE SERIES PRIZING

We’ve made the decision to remove prize money from our Race Series events in 2019. This is a highly intentional decision to allow us to reinvest in what we do best: collaborative, unconventional events with epic obstacles that make each and every participant feel like a champion.

 At Tough Mudder, we believe true accomplishment isn’t about a few prize dollars in your pocket. It’s about challenging yourself, bettering your best and conquering the toughest, most unique events on the planet. Sound like your cup of tea? Then join us in the mud and let’s make 2019 a season to remember.

MEDALS

You asked, and we listened. Each and every Race Series participant will receive a badass new medal when they cross the finish line. First, second and third place winners will receive exclusive gold, silver and bronze editions, plus free passes to future events, epic swag, and unlimited podium glory.

HOLY GRAIL PRIZING

It’s the ultimate test to push yourself to be the best you can be. Conquer Tougher Mudder, Toughest Mudder, and World’s Toughest Mudder, all in a single season, and earn a one-of-a-kind Holy Grail race bib and an official TMHQ Holy Grail. Complete the most miles in a single season and win the grand prize: a Holy Grail champion jacket and patch, an All-Access pass to 2020 events, epic swag, and the ultimate prize: Mudder Glory.

TOUGH MUDDER X (TMX)

TMX was founded in 2017 as a made-for-TV competition. We’re working with potential media partners on new ways to bring engaging content to you—in the meantime, stay tuned for updates, and be on the lookout for a TMX-inspired challenge at Tough Mudder weekends in the US this season.

Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.

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Comments

  1. I remember Hunter mentioning on a podcast a few weeks ago that he thought TM would go bankrupt this year… Is there a chance this could be foreshadowing that?

    • Was that on the ORM podcast?

      Matt? Did Hunter really say that?

      • Matt B. Davis says:

        People keep saying he said it on his podcast, perhaps joking, perhaps not. I have not heard it myself. – MBD

    • Harry Grimley says:

      The only reason they were talking bancruptcy is the are losing a class action law suit and the judge won’t allow them to separate the ocr’s from the gyms to avoid paying when they lose.

  2. Reminds me of Battlefrog, trying a million different options, none sticking, followed by bankruptcy.

    Also, Will Dean jumping ship, anybody surprised?

  3. OCR’s only existed for 10 years? Mr Mouse has been running Tough Guy! for 30+ years.

    • Matt B. Davis says:

      And the French Military has had obstacles for 100 years, it doesn’t mean an industry existed. – MBD

  4. They always took three to four months to pay me, as and I had to email constantly to get my award money. Whomever says that the money doesn’t matter has never raced just to pay for Christmas gifts for her kids (me). Bye, Tougher Mudder…