Tough Mudder Introduces Its 2017 Races

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Today, Tough Mudder announced some exciting news. Tough Mudder is changing in the way that it is going to structure its 2017 races by adding money and timing to its 2017 events.

For the longest time, the idea that Tough Mudder was a challenge and not a race has resonated with its participants – but that is about to change. Historically, this notion of a non-timed event (as opposed to a timed race), has gained Tough Mudder a large, non-racer following. However, it has also alienated many racers who like being timed and the competition that comes along with it. As such, these racers found other obstacle course race companies, such as Spartan Race, where the timed component of the race allows them to see how they stack against racers.

Perhaps Tough Mudder is trying to appeal to these racers, then, by announcing that the first wave of racers would be timed and hold with it prize money – a huge change. More details are sure to be revealed, but here’s what is known at this point: (1) in order to participate in this first wave, you will be charged an additional $30 – which is really a nominal fee if you like challenging yourself against others (and especially if you find yourself the winner!),  and (2) that this timed wave will be sent off before the non-timed wave. What remains to be seen is whether or not the course will be different for the first wave versus the subsequent waves, whether or not the first wave will be required to complete all obstacles, and whether or not there will be penalties for not completing obstacles.  More details will certainly surface as the first event date of this new format approaches.

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Because of Tough Mudder’s large following, it’s not a surprise that Tough Mudder’s announcement has made some people unhappy. Some initial feedback is that violates the Tough Mudder spirit and the Legionnaires’ first wave. But others feel this is a good business move and look forward to testing this new format out. Interestingly, and what we would like to remind people of, is that is that in the early days of Tough Mudder, there was a timing clock. As you left the starting line there was always a time clock that you would see and that also appeared at the finish. If you checked your time, you could tell you how long it took you to complete the course. In the early day’s people spoke a lot about how long certain courses took them to complete and bragged about it but it was always unofficial. These times were also used to determine your placement (top percent) among others at the race as a requirement to qualify for the first years of World’s Toughest Mudder. So, while Tough Mudder’s announcement is big, it is not unprecedented from the event’s own history. The addition of prize money, though, is completely new.

So our question to you is, “Will this new wave draw you to Tough Mudder where you normally stayed away because it wasn’t competitive?” “Will the $500 prize purse draw in elite level talent drawing a new level of athlete to the race?” and  “Will competition change or taint the normally good spirited and helpful nature of Mudders around the nation?”

Only time will tell how this will all unfold and if it will be a good call for Tough Mudder. (We believe it will be a huge success and draw in a huge following of new racers and grow Tough Mudder into a new version of itself – Tough Mudder 2.0?)

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