Tougher Mudder Nashville: Tall Grass, Muddy Fun, and Timing Issues

Change In Location for Tougher Mudder Nashville

Nashville usually hosts a Tough Mudder at Milky Way Farms, which has been the venue for many races, including the Warrior Dash and Warrior Dash World Championships.  This year racers got to visit a new cow farm in Lebanon, TN, for some not-as-hilly-but-still-stinky-cow-mud fun.

Negatives

I like to end with the positives, so allow me to start with what could have been better.

Check-in: I ran the Tougher Mudder (hence my title), and check in was slow moving.  There were many check-in lines, yes, but no one knew until he/she got to the front of the line that they were organized by last names, so there was much grumbling.  That being said, once the code was scanned, it was very quick.

Timing: It is very, very frustrating when the timing is messed up.  My time is over 15 minutes WRONG.  I contacted TMHQ several times but still haven’t received an answer.  I’m talking, they have me at 15 minutes SLOWER than I actually ran.  My watch isn’t official, no, but I have seen many time-stamped photos that say the same about times.  My time isn’t the only one that is wrong.

Finishing: There was really nothing.  A Tough Mudder finished, got a headband and a T-shirt, and walked away.  I had to find someone to report that I was done. I was then was told there was no podium, no timing tent, no winning money.  I’d have to wait for my times to be emailed (got them 12 hours later and they were wrong), and winners still haven’t received payment information.

Parking and bag check: $20 to park, which not everyone paid, and $10 to drop my bag on a table, just to find it buried later?

 

Positives

Volunteers:  The volunteers were STELLAR and I thanked every single one I ran past.  They were so helpful and treated all runners far better than the Tough Mudder event staff.

Course Markings: Sure, this can always be better, and more people should have been placed to ensure runners were going in the right direction, but it was fair.

Obstacles: There were a lot of water obstacles, and some were 100% new to me. Volunteers were thorough in explaining what to do and were also very encouraging.  The challenges went beyond the usual grip strength/run fast that I am used to.

Overall

What I thought would be a faster course was offset by the tall grass. This turned many miles into high knee drills.  It was a blast to run a competitive raced that required teamwork and individual push.  The new venue was easy to find and had super volunteers.

If Tough Mudder is serious about (suddenly) starting all these competitions for money, they need to be more organized and definitely need to handle the timing and money situation better.

Tough Mudders are always fun, and I viewed this as a training opportunity.  To win my first Tougher Mudder was cool, but the way the winners were treated (this is coming from talking to the 1st and 2nd place male winners and the 2nd place female, as well) needs to be handled much differently.

As always, big thanks to the volunteers, and because the Tough Mudder was my first ever OCR and it is what got me into OCR racing. I’ll always have one on my racing calendar!

 

 

BattleFrog – 2016 Greater Nashville

12987078_1210208305663996_8757510483983590275_nThe 2016 Greater Nashville BattleFrog was held April 9th just South of the city at Wooly’s Off Road Club in Lynnville, Tennessee. Two things were evident right off the bat upon showing us at the 5.25 mile course that would make this an epic challenge. The weather, with Elite start time temps hovering around the freezing mark with a slight breeze it was going to make it a chilly event. And…… those hills, and hills, and more hills. With a one lap elevation change of 1,500 feet on very technical terrain athletes knew we were going to be in for a very long day. BattleFrog was nice enough to limit our time in the water with no swim and only a few swampy areas to slosh through. I think this was a wise choice due to the near freezing tempratures, having an athlete become hypothermic wouldn’t be good for business. Especially with BattleFrog adding so many new events this year, but those hills, and hills, and more hills….
13000238_1210206978997462_2930243855750981755_n
With a rather small group of elite’s taking off around 7:15 after a pumping up speech from Coach Pain, BattleFrog wasted no time and took us up a series of small hills filled with loose rocks leading us up to the over/under through, and the ramp walls. It was during this initial obstacle series that a new BattleFrog idea was put into place. Most of the obstacles now had six lanes. Two lanes dedicated to Elite racers, two lanes dedicated to intermediate racers, and two lanes dedicated to novice racers. Personally I’m not thrilled with this decision from BattleFrog. It caused long lines for the elite racers at such obstacles as the first rig, which took out a reported 50% of elites, and rope walls. And on the second time through elite’s could basically pick their own lane due to the vast numbers of all levels of racers now on the course. There was such a crowd now on the obstacles that it was next to impossible for the volunteer course marshal to keep track of who was doing what level.12936598_1210208858997274_341383369697562899_n
That being said, we were now off through the technical hills where BattleFrog lead us to the spider web, and the delta cargo before loading us up with our wreck bags for a dangerous carry down and back up a weather-beaten “path” where our first rig was sitting there to greet us. The wind at the top of this hill where the rig was located was strong and put a chill in the athletes as we waited our turn to take a spin on rig number one. After rig one we were immediately lead to the 12-foot rope wall and then back down into those hills, and hills, and more hills…. Till we came up upon the jerry can carry down and up a weed-choked hill where tripping was a real hazard and cursing was the norm. Once complete we set off towards the “wet” portion of the course. Normandy jacks were placed around a rather small patch of trail water and this was kind of a lame attempt at fulfilling this obstacle. We were then sent under a series of low bars over a small pond of knee deep water where the weaver was waiting for us. Possibly due to the temperature again, BattleFrog only made us bear crawl over the weaver instead of actually weaving over and under the bars. Trying to keep athletes out of the freezing water made this obstacle a breeze to complete but took the fun out of it for the elite type racer. Monkey bars were next up before we were send onto the most technical series of hills along the course where BattleFrog tucked in the delta ladder, 60-degree wall, inverted and 8-foot walls.
12961150_1210208188997341_28571003240138868_oDuring the final stretch of the winding, hilly course took athletes through some of the toughest climbing I’ve personally ever done on our way finally back down to ground level where BattleFrog had set up rig number two, the mud mounds, and the tip of the spear all in a row where spectators could see you finish up and get a handshake from race director Chris Accord. Elite and BFX athletes were directed back onto the course after rig number two for their multiple lap option during this section of the race. While BattleFrog did slow us down with their dedicated lane idea, they did make a good choice to keep people mostly dry to avoid medical emergencies. The terrain and weather really was the highlight of this course making the already difficult obstacles that much harder. Most athletes agree that this course was on par with the legendary Battlefrog Cincinnati course of last year terrain wise. I walked away feeling that I was really tested and would certainly go back and run this race again. Maybe after some time spent running miles and miles of hills on the treadmill with a Wreck Bag.DSCN0099