Tough Mudder - Whistler, Canada 2014

Tough Mudder, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

The Tough Mudder is an endurance event held in numerous places across the world, based on designs by the British SAS. It is advertised as ‘Probably the toughest event on the planet’.

I had the opportunity to take part while I was visiting Vancouver Canada. The location for this event was at Whistler, one of the premier outdoor locations in the area. The course consisted of 20 obstacles (any of which can be bypassed) over 19 kilometres and is held over 2 days. We (Gilles, Louisa, and myself) competed on the Sunday.

At the start, we are grouped together and given our warm up speech consisting of lines such as:

“19 kilometres of hell”

“Welcome to the Mudder Legion”

“There is no clock here, I don’t care about your time”

“You are all here to finish. You are all on the same team now. Leave no Mudder behind”

The Mudder begins with a run through the hillside, mainly over rocky terrain, up and down with spectacular views of the forest and the distant range (something you get used to doing between obstacles, but you never get used to the views). You run a loop for nearly two kilometres before the first obstacle – the “Arctic Enema”, a shipping container filled with ice and water and a divider in the centre to ensure that you go under and through the 1⁰C liquid. When we arrived my teammate kept telling the volunteers that we needed more ice in the water before we jumped in. As there were three of us, I stayed close to the bottom, swimming through the pitch black water until I was on the other side. When I emerged, I let loose with a litany of curses as I shook off the frigid water.

This was followed by the “Glory Blades” – two sets of walls angled towards the competitor. By now we were mostly dry, and made our way onward to “Walk the plank”, a four/five metre high platform over a small lake (thankfully not filled with ice). “Hold your wood” was next, where competitors select a log from a pile to carry for around 500 metres before depositing back on the pile. “Kiss of Mud” was an easy obstacle whereby you crawled through the mud under a barbed wire canopy. It was probably around another two kilometres before we reached the “Berlin Walls” were two lots of four/five metre walls to be scaled. Many competitors were able to sprint, run up the wall and over, but others needed a boost to get over (including me as I just couldn’t quite get over). We stopped here and helped a few others get over.

Crossing the Blades, Tough Mudder, Whistler, British Columbia, CanadaWalking the Plank, Tough Mudder, Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Hold you Wood, Tough Mudder, Whistler, British Columbia, CanadaA ways on again came the “Mud Mile” which must have been measured by someone with a mathematics disorder because it was probably around a 100-150 metre long stretch with five mud holes separated by mud barriers. Halfway through the mud one of the contestants cried out with a cramp and we stopped to attend him. Literally a dozen people stopped in their tracks to signal for medics as his teammates, Gilles and myself helped to lift him out of the mud and get him safely off the course. “Lumberjacked” was a simple series of logs set at various heights to jump over. “Prairie Dog” consisted of scrambling up one pipe then down another, “Trench Warfare” a small dark tunnel that veers off a couple of times before emerging again into the light. The “Ladder to Hell” was wooden structure, probably six or seven metres, with slats set about a metre or so apart for contestants to scale. Here again we helped someone to get over the top and succeed in their goals.

The “Warriors Carry” had contestants carry another contestant for 100 metres before reversing the situation for another 100 metres. The “Devils Beard” is a weighted rope net whereby a team member goes under and raises the net for another team member to go through and past enough to hold up another part of the net to create a tunnel. Each team member leap frogs through until everyone has passed the obstacle. “Balls to the Wall” was another wall to scale, probably five metres high (my sense of scale having become completely skewed by this time), with the help of a knotted rope. “Log Jamming” was another series of logs, this time to go over and under. The “Cliffhanger” was a short but very steep uphill beside the Olympic Ski Jump, in the middle of two moderate uphill climbs.

Electroshock Therapy, Tough Mudder, Whistler, British Columbia, CanadaThe “Funky Monkey” was quite the challenge, and I dropped into the water halfway through. It consists of two sets of monkey bars stretched over a pond – the 1st set angled up, and the 2nd down. Then came “Everest” a skate board quarter pipe to run and pull yourself up to the top. After the Funky Monkey, this proved difficult for many a contestant, and as such there were a dozen Mudders perched on top helping pull them up. It was after this that veteran Mudders were able to partake in a couple of extra obstacles before heading along to the final obstacle – “”Electroshock Therapy”. To finish the day, I walked through this obstacle, arms stretched wide, to catch as many of the electrical cables hanging over the mud pit as possible.

The End of Tough Mudder, Whistler, British Columbia, CanadaThe Tough Mudder was a brilliant challenge, which tested the limits of my endurance (I am not a runner or a jogger) and made for an excellent experience. I am looking forward to taking part in another event somewhere in the world, maybe even at home in Adelaide if they can ever get it approved. If you want a challenge, if you want to do something a little extreme, you should give it a go. A word of advice though, do some cross training – You will need it.

Below is a video highlighting my experience of the event: Run Time: 2:47




Other Canada Articles

Vancouver Part 1
Vancouver Part 2
Vancouver Part 3
Canada Day


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