Unlike Tough Mudder, World’s Toughest Mudder, the extreme 24-hour obstacle race designed to push competitors to their limits and beyond, crowns a winner (even if every competitor who takes part is a winner in some way or another). But that doesn’t mean that everyone on the World’s Toughest Las Vegas Lake course this November will go in planning to come out on top. In fact, plenty of Mudders will be taking the opportunity to compete at the highest level without angling for victory.
Some, like Team Four Eyes, are just out there to have fun. But that’s not all Team Four Eyes – otherwise known as Walt Lyons, Joe Van Dyke and KC Hereth – plan to do in Vegas. This crew of intrepid athletes mud at World’s Toughest every year in order to ensure that the other Mudders head home from the event happy, healthy, and ready for their next muddy milestone.
“It’s in a Mudder’s blood to pay it forward,” Team Four Eyes said.
Because to Lyons, Van Dyke and Hereth, all World’s Toughest Mudder veterans, even in the midst of the event, when muscles are screaming and legs sore and everything is soaked to the bone, the community, the effort to help one another achieve something truly great, to quiet that little voice that says “it’s ok to stop,” remains the most amazing and inspiring aspect of any Tough Mudder event.
“There’s a bond there that is hard to put into words,” Team Four Eyes said. “You take away moments from these races, where it’s quiet and dark, you’re tired and cold, and here comes someone you haven’t met before, who’s sharing in the misery but immediately you’re able to talk as if you’ve known each other for years. It’s more than just the obstacles and the fears you overcome, it’s about the experience of testing yourself, and that’s invaluable.”
Though they met at the inaugural World’s Toughest Mudder in 2011 and have been a team since 2012 – at only the second World’s Toughest event ever, Van Dyke approached Lyons and Hereth at the starting line with a pair of glasses, a tradition that continued thereafter – Team Four Eyes didn’t actually adopt their moniker until 2014. Over the years, as the guys banded together to help more and more Mudders up and over obstacles and through the pain and cold of World’s Toughest and other events, calls of “Hey Four Eyes!” came more and more consistently.
Eventually, the name stuck.
“Individually we’re extremely strong but as a team we’re basically unstoppable.”
Though the three members of Team Four Eyes hail from different walks of life, the shared bond of hardship at World’s Toughest Mudder created a friendship – or “bromance,” as they prefer to call it – that’s become, as they say, basically unstoppable.
Van Dyke is an Ironman triathlete, cyclocross athlete, and the team’s workhorse.
Hereth is the obstacle racing veteran, who runs a dozen OCR’s in a given year and has about 50 to his name.
And Lyon, the former US Navy submariner and diver, is the team’s tough guy. In fact, the active boxer will be taking part in a bout just a week prior to World’s Toughest.
Apart, Team Four Eyes is just three guys with a love for mud and fun. Together, they’re the crew that rocks mudders and makes the course safer for everyone.
Now, as Team Four Eyes prepares for its 6th World’s Toughest, 18th combined – they’ve yet to miss a World’s Toughest event, running in every single one since the event’s inception – they’re planning on that same fun, that same mud, but more importantly, that same community that brought them together in the first place.
And they’re planning on shutting that little voice, that voice that crops up when you’re at your most miserable, up. For them, and for others.
“It tells you how nice a medium rare steak would taste, how wonderful a warm shower would be, it even tells you that it’s ok to fall asleep for a couple hours,” Team Four Eyes said. “While this little voice is technically right, you have to recognize, that throughout the entirety of the event, this little voice, no matter how enticing and alluring it sounds, this voice is your enemy. Because if you listen to that voice, which we all have, you’re going to be hating yourself for an entire year and possibly a lifetime.”
Team FourEyes:18’ 3”
Kc: Baltimore, Maryland
Joe: North Brunswick, New Jersey
Walter: Hopatcong, New Jersey
Team FourEyes Team mileage: 2012 – 30miles*; 2013 – 55miles*; 2014 – 35miles (15th place); 2015 – 40miles (7th place)
Kc: 2011 – 30 miles; 2012 – 30miles; 2013 – 55miles; 2014 – 35miles; 2015 – 40miles
Joe: 2011 – 30 miles; 2012 – 30miles; 2013 – 55miles; 2014 – 35miles; 2015 – 40miles
Walter: 2011 – 20 miles; 2012 – 30miles; 2013 – 55miles; 2014 – 35miles; 2015 – 40miles
*We were on the same team, had the same glasses but didn’t settle on the name FourEyes until 2014
Number of Tough Mudder Completed:
Kc: 17 (5 WTM’s)
Joe: 14 (5 WTM’s)
Walter: 11 (5 WTM’s)
2016 Mileage Goal:
Team FourEyes: 65 team miles