The inaugural Toughest Mudder took place this past weekend at the dry, dusty and incredibly steep Glen Helen Raceway in Los Angeles, California. Racers attempted to complete as many miles over the course of 8 hours starting at midnight and finishing at 8 a.m, with three men and three women ultimately prevailing as podium winners. For a play-by-play of the toughest event, read on:
The 12 a.m. start time made for a chilly first lap, with temperatures at 52 degrees Fahrenheit dropping to 47 degrees by early morning. The event, split into two different loops, feature 22 obstacles in total. At midnight, roughly 450 participants headed out onto their first loop for a sprint lap–with a twist. A variable opening made specific obstacles begin at random, while others remained closed for the first loop. While America’s Toughest Mudder West is likely to be the driest course in the series, it also had the most hills. Roughly 940 feet of elevation gain was experienced on the first half of the course, which ran from midnight to 3:45 a.m. while the second half of the course, open from 3:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., gained more than 1,400 feet.
On the women’s side, Sara Knight of Mount Vernon, Washington, flew through the first loop in 42 minutes, 9 seconds, with Lindsay Webster of Caledon, Ontario following in 43 minutes, 49 seconds. Allison Tai of Vancouver, British Columbia came in just behind Webster in 44 minutes, 22 seconds. These three women would battle it out over the course of the next eight hours to determine who would come out on top.
Meanwhile on the men’s side, Ryan Woods of Boone, North Carolina blazed through loop one in 35 minutes, 4 seconds, averaging just under a seven minute per mile pace over hilly terrain. Zac Marion of Manitou Springs, Colorado came in with Chad Trammell of Anchorage, Alaska in 37 minutes, 55 seconds and 37 minutes, 56 seconds, respectively. Eventual winner Ryan Atkins of Caledon, Onatario, came through in 7th place in 38 minutes, 44 seconds.
The first half of the course had less elevation gain than the second but featured numerous obstacles, including Devil’s Beard, Quagmire, Ladder to Hell, Block Ness Monster, Everest 2.0, Mud Mile 2.0, Skidmarked, Pyramid Scheme, Shawshanked, Berlin Walls, and Kiss of Mud 2.0. By the second loop, Woods maintained the lead until the course switchover and was ultimately crushed by the second half (out paced on the hills by 2-3 mins per mile by Atkins, Trammel, Azar, and Racz). By that time, Glenn Racz of Temecula, California had moved into second place with Trammell with Atkins, only a minute behind, hung onto fourth.
On the women’s side, Webster crept to first, dropping Knight into second. Tai remained in third, only one minute, one second behind leading woman, Webster.
The second course featured less obstacles but more punishment. Obstacles like Hang Time, an altered version of Tough Mudder’s King of Swingers obstacle added a rope cargo for racers to grab and cling to before belaying down plastic tubing, tested grip strength and agility, where Arctic Enema: The Rebirth, Operation, and Electroshock Therapy (a penalty) tested racers’ ability to deal with ice and electricity.
By mile 30, or the end of of loop 6, Webster had put more than twenty minutes between her and second-place female Knight. On the men’s side, by the end of loop seven (1 full loop of the new, more gruelling course format) Trammell had caught up to Woods, with Atkins close behind, pushing Woods into third place.
In the final hours, Trammell had an 11-minute lead on second-place Atkins. Woods, meanwhile, had dropped to 7th, leaving third-place open to Racz. In a final surge, Atkins outran Trammell, running each of his last 4 laps subsequently faster than the one before. He outpaced Trammell by 2 minutes 44 seconds per mile on the last 5 miles loop ultimately claim the spot for first place male as well as the $5,000 bonus for first male to 50-miles.
In the women’s field, Webster stayed consistently strong throughout the entire race, ultimately taking the women’s win and the $5,000 bonus.
4th- Kayla Kobelin
5th- April Hartwig
Next up: Toughest Mudder South in Atlanta, Georgia
April 29th, 2017
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