Tough Mudder Half – Northeast: A Tough Mudder Virgin No More


Back in November of 2015, Tough Mudder announced the creation of the ‘Tough Mudder Half’. As described on the Tough Mudder website, the Half is “designed to test teamwork and grit on a 5-mile obstacle course without fire, ice or electricity. It’s all the mud with half the distance and the first step to joining a community of 2 million strong around the world.” Tough Mudder understands that there is a segment of racers out there that may not be ready for a full 10 – 12 mile event and thus, the Half was born – and it’s Northeast debut is where I found myself this past Saturday morning.

Until this summer, I was a Tough Mudder virgin. I’ve been running OCR’s since the summer of 2012, but in full disclosure, the thought of electrocuting myself, willingly, wasn’t quite as appealing as jumping over walls or conquering a rope climb. Over time however, I began to see the appeal – overcoming your fears in an effort to explore the true appreciation of the life we live. My only regret is that it took me this long to jump on the Tough Mudder bandwagon.

Tough Mudder isn’t concerned with how long it takes you to finish, but it is made very clear that they care that you DO finish.

For those who have not experienced Tough Mudder, it is difficult to describe the appeal of this event, but I think it can be narrowed down to a few simple things: teamwork. camaraderie. conquering your fears, and of course, physical achievement. Tough Mudder isn’t a Spartan Race. It’s not a Savage Race or Battle Frog. There is no timing chip.   Other races would rather see you defeated (See my Montreal Ultra Beast review);  however, Tough Mudder wants to see you succeed. I’m guessing the brass at Tough Mudder doesn’t care about saving a few bucks on swag that they don’t have to issue out for folks that DNF. Quite the opposite. Tough Mudder has you swimming in swag from the moment you enter the festival area.TM NE Full and HalfCheck in is simple. Show your confirmation code, email, or phone number and you’re assigned a bib on the spot. No packets to be stuffed, no bib numbers to look up. Bag check is a very affordable $5 USD, which comes with a huge covered, secured tent that is manned all day by members of “Mudder Nation”. Your path to the start line isn’t without encouragement, that’s for sure. You’re given the choice of pre-workout drinks by Cellucor, one of Tough Mudder’s premier sponsors, and another sponsor, Merrell, is also onsite in case you pull a “me” and forget your shoes on race day. You’re taken then into a starting corral where you’re warmed up by the Tough Mudder deejay – a good way to get your blood flowing and get yourself amped up for an awesome day of conquering obstacles.

From the shoot of Tough Mudder Northeast, you were met with a few simple flats to get the nerves out, before heading into a few mud crawls and inverted walls. Again, the main theme of Tough Mudder being teamwork ensures you’re not going to run into many “hotshots” who want to blow past you in order to hurdle an obstacle with speed and precision. I’d consider it more a “You go, I go” mindset. I quickly learned that, before I got myself over any obstacle, it was my duty as a newly indoctrinated Mudder to get someone else over the obstacle first. It started simple with 10-fingers at the walls, to letting folks stand on my shoulder to get over the Mud Mile. It got better and better as the course went on. Tough Mudder’s obstacles are amazing enough to conquer solo but even more rewarding when you see others do them by your side. At one point, I found myself hanging upside down, my feet being held by two girls I had never met before, just so I could help one Matt B. Davis get up Pyramid Scheme – a slick wall requiring teamwork in order to scale its face. That favor was then returned as other Mudders helped haul my ass up Everest 2.0 – a signature obstacle for Tough Mudder. It was shortly after Everest that the Half course broke off onto its own track towards the finish line. You had a real sense of achievement in the obstacles you conquered during the Half without having to completely overcome those fears that may have kept you from registering for a Full – however, I can’t imagine anyone finishing this race and not immediately wanting to sign up for another event, especially since they tease you with views of Electroshock Therapy and other great obstacles as you cross the finish line.

Tough Mudder Great Northeast Pyramid Scheme with Josh Chase

I had the chance to interview finishers of the Half, and the common theme was quite prevalent: “Awesome.”, “So much fun!”, “The camaraderie on the course was amazing!” Look for the video here on ORM, coming soon but don’t wait that long to register for the next Tough Mudder Half in your area – the list of upcoming events can be found here.

If you’re still on the fence, know this: Tough Mudder takes care of its racers. There was never a concern that I would be without hydration on the course. Five to six water stops were intelligently placed throughout the Half and Full courses, complete with huge buckets of water that could easily serve 12 – 15 racers simultaneously. If you needed energy to continue, there was also Cellucor Aminos, bananas and fit bars to get you through to your complimentary beer the end. Other events could stand to take a few pages out of Tough Mudder’s book when it comes to on-course nutrition and hydration.
Overall, the Tough Mudder Half Northeast was an amazing race. The racers I spoke with on Saturday shared in my enthusiasm for this particular event, and Tough Mudder as a series. I’ll absolutely be back.

To hear more on my Tough Mudder experience, check out the New England Spahtens Show podcast, where myself, Paul Jones and 21-time Mudder finisher Sandy Rhee discuss this weekend’s race and all things OCR.

Lindsey Runkel

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Lindsey Runkel

Being athletic growing up, Lindsey tried just about every sport you can think of. A few years ago, she bought a street bike, got bored quickly, and looked into competitive mountain biking. Then, in October of 2014, she had a bad bike accident which left her paralyzed below the waist.

Told immediately she would never walk again, she has been determined to prove that doctor, and many others wrong. She got an adaptive bike, is riding harder than ever, and found the OCR community along the way.

For her Instagram:

When I’m on my bike, I forget I’m paralyzed. I forget about everything but the dirt below me and the trail ahead of me. It’s just me and the bike. I ride to be free from a condition that otherwise controls my every move. I ride for myself. I ride for all of those who believe that they are destined to be trapped in their disabled bodies. I ride for Paul. Because there is life beyond disability. There is freedom. You just have to be willing to seek it out.

Today’s show is sponsored by:

Spartan Fit – Joe Desena’s new book designed to get you fit in 30 days.

CMC Race – The Civilian Military Combine is back. Sept 10, Brooklyn, NY.  20% off with code ORM

Show Notes:

Lindsey’s Instagram

Click the play button below or click the iTunes or Stitcher links at the top of the page.

Let’s Talk About Training Masks

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Training Mask Podcast CollageThe Preface

Two weeks ago, Obstacle Racing Media published a podcast interview with Dr. Jason Wagner. We reached out to Jason as a direct result of his blog post questioning the legitimacy and effectiveness of the “Elevation Training Mask”. I personally reached out to shortly after this episode aired to see if they wanted to respond to any of Jason’s findings.

I got in touch with the CEO of Training Mask LLC, Casey Danford, and he suggested we speak with Brian MacKenzie. Brian is a world renowned strength and conditioning coach and has studied altitude and hypoxic training for over 10 years. Brian works for Training Mask, LLC as an independent contractor and wears the loose title of “Research & Development in Human Performance”.

I chose to have Joshua Grant on the call with me to ask some tough questions. Josh is a well respected athlete and has become ORM’s resident skeptic/myth buster. Many in the OCR community may remember his appearance with the inventor of “Let’s Talk About Oral I.V.” on a previous podcast episode.

The episode

Listen in and let the episode speak for itself.


The Aftermath

Several questions came up during the call regarding the true benefits/claims of the mask. The largest bone of contention being that the mask has nothing to do with actual “elevation training”. Statements had been made previously by some associated with Training Mask, LLC that many were aware these benefits did not exist, but that it didn’t mean the Training Mask wasn’t a quality product, didn’t have other benefits, etc.

Joshua Grant pointed out that the words “elevation mask” (along with the logo appearance of mountains still appearing on the mask and its packaging) was misleading consumers.

When this point was raised, Brian answered the best he could, then referred us back to Casey Danford, the CEO of Training Mask, for further discussion.

This afternoon we received breaking news in the form of an email from Mr. Danford.

Click here to read about the name change to Resistance Training Mask.

Today’s show is sponsored by:

Mud Hero – We welcome Mud Hero as a sponsor! Code ORM16 saves $5 on all events.

PearUp – Get your group sponsored on Pear and earn up to $1,000 for custom apparel or direct donation.


Ultimate Wine Run – Save 15% on all 2016 locations for the Ultimate Wine Run using code ORM28.

Featured Image Photos from Twitter. @training_mask_ural, @andrea_blake, @tokkun122532


Matt Iseman/Jeff Cain

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Matt Iseman and Jeff Cain

Episode 183 – Matt Iseman and Jeff Cain.

Matt and Matt talk about stand up comedy in LA, how Iseman got to American Ninja Warrior, and new stuff for the Ninjas in 2016.

Matt and Jeff talk OCR old days, Barkley Fall Classic, and Jeff’s non profit, For Those Who Would.

Today’s show is sponsored by:

BoneFrog Challenge – ORM10 gets you $10 off all 2016 races.

Epic Series – Use code ORM20 for 20%off June 11 in San Diego, CA.

Liquid Run – Code ORM25 gets you $25 off admission.

Show Notes:

Matt Iseman tweets a lot.

For Those Who Would Website.

Jeff on Episode #6 way back in July 23, 2012.

Jeff’s Obstacle Racers Prayer blog post.

You can use the player below to listen or use the iTunes or Stitcher buttons at the top of this post.

First Look at WTM 2016 w/ Nolan Kombol and Chad Trammell

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Untitled design

Tough Mudder announced several changes to this year’s team competition at World’s Toughest Mudder. We got Nolan Kombol on the phone as quickly as we could to get it all sorted out. Nolan’s been with Tough Mudder since July of 2010. His current title is Senior Director of Product, which means he and his team are responsible for your on-course experience and all of the obstacles that go with it.

We go into the new changes and answer some questions including:

  • What is the total payout for a winning team that crosses 100 miles?
  • Legionnaire status: Is it laps or event days?
  • Do two Tough Mudder Halves equal a Whole?

The second half of the episode has us sit down with WTM 2015 male champ Chad Trammell to talk about last year’s wild ride, what his plans are for this year, and some ideas he has that could make WTM much more interesting.

Today’s episode is sponsored by

BoneFrog Challenge – ORM10 gets you $10 off all 2016 races.
Rugged Maniac – $5 off when you use the code PODCAST.

Mud Hero – Mud Hero events are some of the best in Canada.  Code ORM16 saves $5 on all events.

You can use the player below to listen or use the iTunes or Stitcher buttons at the top of this post.

Who The Cox are Pis and Cox!?!?!

Effective a couple of days ago, Obstacle Racing Media began distributing the World’s Toughest Mudder inspired web series called Pis N Cox.

Much like Bubba The Love Sponge was to Howard, and the Late Late Show is to WorldWide Pants, ORM has spread it’s little obstacle wings to bring you The Pis N’ Cox Show.

Obstacle Racing Media co-founder Matt B. Davis said

Ever since I laid my eyes on the comedy insanity/genius that is Pis N’ Cox, I wanted them as part of the ORM family. After a year of going back and forth with the Pis N Cox production and legal teams, we were able to finally put this deal together, just in time for the Season 2 Premiere.

For those that aren’t familiar, a brief intro:

Pis is Carlo Piscitello. He’s a single dad who works nights. He also pulls duty as a school crossing guard. He is a pro football aficionado, and last year was his first World’s Toughest Mudder where he covered 50 miles and earned a brown bib.

Cox is Joshua Cox. He’s a former fatty turned bodybuilder, turned “somewhat chunky” fitness revolution starter. He is considered by many as the “loud one”. He has participated in the last two World’s Toughest Mudders.

We reached out to both for a quote about the new media partnership.

Cox said
I’ll never forget the day I told my mom we were partnering with ORM. She turned to me with her head tilted slightly and said “who?”
Carlo said
Oops….sorry guys. At my son’s track meet. I’ll get you a quote here in a sec.
Then, later said
I think I’m pretty excited about partnering with ORM. I’m sure I’ll be more excited when the check shows up…….there is a check, right??
If you have never tuned in before, here is some of what you can expect each week:
Tough Mudder News Updates
Rockin’ Out
Drinking Strange Things Viewers Send Them
Guy Love

Lots Of Guy Love


and so much more…

Please stay tuned to our YouTube channel where these episodes will come every week(ish) for the remainder of the year.

Here is Season 2 – Episode 1


Carlo and I are back with the 1st episode of Season 2!

We kick things off with cheap rum and good beer courtesy Heather Kerr & Brian Muttee in honor of Gulf Coast being event numero uno this year! Also, in honor of the new method in which we document our baby’s progress…

I also give my reasons why Domenick Deutsch was the best dressed mudder there, Carlo tells us an ABSOLUTELY RIVETING STORY about Marie Laska, Tod Sorum Brilliant ushers in the newest fitness revolution, and we have a discussion on how to best handle our “Rick Hutchinson dilemma.”

Keeping it going Carlo compares me to the beautiful Scott McCracken, we wish Joseph Harris & Colin Irvine speedy recoveries, admire Morgan Mckay’s race drawings, we talk over the new stuff happening with Tough Mudder this year, and I share why I feel like former Buffalo Bill’s quarterback Jim Kelly (and also the time I got stuck on a waterslide as a fat kid).

Most importantly we want to wish the quickest recovery to David Bird. Our hearts go out to you and your family my mudder friend.

Cheersies David and everyone!