Dear Mudder Nation,
We’ve been stoked to hear that our first two blog posts – on Toughest Mudder and the Competitive Series – have been valuable sources of information and helped to provide some backstory on our new formats, directly from TMHQ. Given their popularity, we’re excited to provide our third (and for now, final) blog post – this time discussing our biggest event of all time: World’s Toughest Mudder 2017.
Over the past few months, there has been a steady trickle of information about World’s Toughest Mudder – from the official announcement that we’re returning to Vegas in 2017, to inklings of a new team category – that we hope has whet your appetites and gotten you pumped to seek the Holy Grail. In this post, we’ll be demystifying some of our previous announcements, and providing some more rationale on the changes that have been made.
Before diving into the details – we wanted to start by explaining the three goals we had in making updates to World’s Toughest 2017:
Keep WTM Great – Since 2011, World’s Toughest Mudder has been one of the most unique and grueling experiences on the planet. In that time, it has come to epitomize everything that Tough Mudder is about: teamwork, community, pushing the limits, and the most innovative obstacles in the industry. Our first priority is to preserve the elements that have built WTM into the event it is – while injecting it with new vitality.
Push Mudder Nation to their Best – Over the past 6 years, we’ve watched Mudder Nation consistently smash boundaries in ways that we could have never imagined. Many of the updates that we’re making in 2017 – from prize allocation to new competitive categories – are designed to push competitors to exceed their goals and reach new heights, whether they are new to endurance OCR or lifelong professional athletes.
Show WTM to the World – World’s Toughest has become what it is as a result of the incredible community that has grown around it. The long term success of WTM is therefore entirely contingent upon the growth and strength of that community. By utilizing our TV deals with CBS (US only) and Sky Sports (UK only), we’re creating a pathway to WTM through our Competitive Series, and providing other opportunities for the nervously curious to develop an understanding of what WTM is all about, our goal is to increase access to WTM to enable the community to grow.
With an understanding of these three objectives – let’s dive into the details:
Format Update: As previously announced, WTM 2017 will have a few updates to competitive categories that are being offered. The decision to expand the number of categories at WTM was driven by the knowledge that different types of competitors have dramatically different intensions; by adding more options, we’re putting ourselves in the best position to protect the interests of our community as the number of WTM participants continues to grow.
Individual Competition (Male/Female)
– This is where it all started: our biggest category that has defined the toughest athletes in OCR since 2011. In 2017, there are three levels of competition for individuals:
- Open: Anyone can register to this category, regardless of whether they’ve run any events previously. This category is for those looking to push their own boundaries, but not interested in prize money or premium pit spaces
- Contender: Competitors in this category can qualify by running 25 miles at a Toughest Mudder event or through special application. Contenders receive access to premium pit spaces, prize money, and a sweet Contender bib
- Elite Contender: This category is for the truly Elite athletes that are in contention to win World’s Toughest Mudder. Qualification in this category requires a Top 5 finish at any 2017 Toughest Mudder event. Elite Contenders will be fighting for the same prize money as Contenders – but with added access to the Bonus Mileage Prizes.
Team Competitions – The Team Competition has always been a unique offering at World’s Toughest Mudder – challenging groups of athletes to spend 24+ hours staggering through course together, helping each other out of physical and emotional pits. In 2017, we’re expanding the Team categories to indoctrinate an even wider pool of athletes into the WTM universe.
Standard Team (2+): Identical to the Team category in 2016, this category provides participants an opportunity to run with teams of 2 or more athletes to compete for prize money. All team members in this category must stay together on-course at all times to remain eligible. No special qualification is required for this category; however, if all team members have qualified individually as either Contenders or Elite Contenders, the team will be eligible for premium pit spaces and exclusive bibs.
NEW National Team Relay (4+): In addition to the tried-and-true solo and team categories at WTM, we’re creating a new layer of competition at WTM this year for teams that want a taste of our signature 24-hours of suffering and teamwork, against the backdrop of an international competition. Relay teams will be required to run their first and last laps together as a team; at all other times, at least 50% of the team must be active. Teams in this category will select the nation that they will be representing during registration (multiple teams per nation will be allowed).
As we’ve adapted our competitive categories and watched the evolution of competition at World’s Toughest through the years, we realized that there was a need to update the prizing allocation at WTM 2017. The major updates this year are:
Update to Mileage Bonus Awards – In 2016, we threw out a challenge that we didn’t think anybody would be able to achieve – 100 miles with a team of 2 or more participants. After Jon and Ryan shattered that boundary, we’re upping the ante in 2017 with exciting updates to the mileage bonus awards:
- Bonus awards shifted to the Individual Categories – We put out the original team mileage challenge in 2015 to see how far a team could go together. Having smashed the 100-mile boundary as a team, we’re moving the bonus prizing to the individual categories to see just how far one person can go on their own
- Increase in mileage for Male Bonus award – With multiple athletes breaking the 105-mile mark in 2016, we’re raising the stakes in 2017 with the new 110-mile bonus prize
- Creation of 100-mile Female award- The bonus mileage awards are all about pushing athletes to break records. Amelia Boone came close to the 100-mile boundary in 2012, so we’re throwing down the gauntlet in 2017 to challenge the first female to take their mileage into the triple digits.
Addition of Prizing to Team Relay Category – With the unveiling of the National Team Relay, we’re putting money on the line to draw out the best teams that each country can field.
New Achievement Awards – WTM has always been unique in offering special awards for achieving a variety of goals at the event. In addition to our famous 50, 75, 100, and 125 mile bibs, we’ve also excited to announce these new awards:
- National Team Cup for winning National Relay Team
- First Responder Trophy for best performance by a Relay Team comprised of First Responders
- Armed Services Trophy for best performance by a Relay Team comprised of Armed Services members or veterans
- Black and Orange Jacket for the Male/Female who hold the record for best WTM performance in their category
Individual Category Qualification
With the new contender categories rolling out in 2017, there are several methods to officially qualify for contender status(es):
Performance: Must place top 5 at a Toughest Mudder event in 2017
Waiver Application: Not Available, subject to approval through direct appeal to WTM Race Officials
Performance: Must run a minimum of 25 miles at a Toughest Mudder event in 2017 (automatic)
- Purchase 2017 WTM Registration for regular participant
- Fill out online application
- Provide proof of performance in similar ultra-endurance event (upload in application)
- Wait for approval notification
- All applications are at the discretion of WTM Race Officials
- All participants who wish to run as a Contender, but do not qualify through performance, must submit a waiver application. Contender status will not be assumed
- Participants who complete 25+ miles at Toughest Mudder, will automatically be assumed contender upon WTM 2017 registration
- Application portal will close October 20th, no applications will be accepted after this date
Sample Prerequisites for Waiver
- Run 50+ miles at WTM in the past (5) years [TM will verify, no proof required]
- Mudder Legion status of 25+ [TM-verified]
- Top/relevant placement at similar OCR event [must provide official result]
- Top/relevant placement at recognized endurance event [must provide official result]
With two exciting team categories on offer in 2017, it’s important for athletes to know how they can sign up in either category. The details below outline the requirements for each of the 2 team categories.
- Open to all participants (no qualification required)
- Must compete as a team of (2) or more, and run together at all times
- Eligible to win cash prizing in the Team 2+ category
National Team Relay (4+) [NEW]
- Must all be registered and compete as a team of (4) or more (no qualification required)
- Must fill out a National Team (4+) application by August 1st to run as National Team (link to come)
- Must complete first lap and last lap as a full team, all other laps require at least 50% or more of the team on-course to have laps count towards overall mileage
- National Teams will be eligible to win cash prizing in the National Team Category
Additional Formatting: Through the application process, National Teams can additionally identify as either:
- Armed Services: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, International service members welcomed
- First Responders: Police, Fire, EMTs, EMS, International members/other forms welcomed
- The winning / top Armed Services and First Responder team will be awarded a Trophy at the awards brunch
That’s all for now. See you all out in Vegas ‘17,
WTM Race Directors