World's Toughest Mudder 2014

There are athletes and then there are tough mudders.  These men and women supreme.  This year World's Toughest Mudder was held in Lake Las Vegas and I had the privilege of being part of my friend, Eve's PIT crew.  She was part of the first ever all women's team to participate in World's Toughest Mudder! Yea, I was stoked to be a part of that team, even if I wasn't running it!    A few other folks and friends I knew from Camp Rhino were also participating in the event and I got to support and be there for them too!  It was such an amazing experience to be there among such badasses!  It really takes a different kind of person to participate in this 24 hour event.  Most of these people have been training and participating in Tough Mudder events all year to make it to this point.  To be at World's Toughest Mudder 2014.  

Would you jump?

Would you jump?

If you don't know, World's Toughest Mudder is a 24 hour obstacle challenge with double the obstacles per mile of any other Tough Mudder event.  This year, each 5 mile lap consisted of 23 obstacles with an elevation gain of 800 ft per lap!  Participants entered either in teams or individually and have 24 hours to complete as many laps of the course as possible.  If a mudder fails to complete an obstacle, they have to complete a penalty option.  I gotta say, I love the names of some of these obstacles, such as sewage outlet, ladder to hell, birth canal, and tight fit!  Of all the obstacles, the most terrifying for me would be the The Cliff, a 36 foot drop into the lake.  Yea, I'd most definitely be doing the penalty option for that one ;)

I spent my morning helping where I could with setting up the PIT/ Camp area.  It's amazing how much effort and time is spent into getting ready for something like this!  And not to mention how much stuff is needed!  From food, clothes, wetsuits, water, vaseline (don't ask!) medication, etc..  

WTM2014-12.jpg

It was so exciting to watch them take off.  You could feel the buzz and the energy from the runners.  It almost made me want to put down my camera and go running with them..ALMOST! I stuck around until they got back from their first lap, but I had to go and work (shoot a wedding) for a few hours before coming back that evening. 

Only in Vegas do you see a limo at WTM! 

Only in Vegas do you see a limo at WTM! 

When I got back the team was in the middle of their fourth lap.  While I waited for them to come through, I got to help out another friend gather a few things from his tent before heading out to run another lap.  When my friend's team came back they were freezing cold but in good spirits and most of them went back out for another lap.  This is around the time it got ugly!  And by ugly, I mean windy.  Being out in the desert with 30+ mile per hour winds brings on some nasty dust storms and dropped the temperature down to nearly freezing after midnight!  We struggled to keep the canopy tent from blowing away, but once we brought it down it was a bit better.  Battling that wind/dust storm and cold during the night was truly another challenge to the course and I am so proud of these women for braving it out there all night.  Some ran, some rested, but nonetheless they all stuck it out and were there for each other.  That's what being a team is all about. 

The day after WTM we had family over for dinner (yup, I was totally sleep deprived!) and my nephew asked why? Why do they do it? Why do people sign up for this?  Good question.  Why do they do it?  {Stay tuned for a few interviews coming up in the next couple of weeks where I ask some of these athletes that same question.}  They aren't necessarily in it to win it.  No, the ladies on this team and all other Tough Mudders have their own personal reasons for participating in World's Toughest Mudder.  Yeah some do it for the prize money, the recognition, the sponsorship, the fame, but most...most do it for reasons way beyond that.  I think they do it because they want to see how far they can push themselves both mentally and physically.  Because they want to challenge themselves.  They do it to show how far they've come.  Because it's who they are.  Because coming out of something like this changes a person.  Because if you can do this, you can do anything.  They do it because they can.  

How about you?  Would you ever run a World's Toughest Mudder?  I'm not sure I have it in me for 24 hrs but I'm already registered for my 3rd Tough Mudder in 2015! You should join me :)