On August 6th and 7th 2016, Tough Mudder returned to Drumheller Alberta. Located in the heart of the Canadian Badlands, Tough Mudder could not have chosen a better venue. The Canadian Badlands comes complete with steep ridges/cliffs, variable terrain, and spectacular canyon like views.
Tough Mudder is a particularly unique event in the Obstacle Couse Racing world because it is not a race. Rather than competition Tough Mudder boasts camaraderie and working together to conquer the challenges that will be faced. With this being my first Tough Mudder I was a little skeptical of how this would play out.
Without getting into too much detail I can tell you that the camaraderie that is preached before the starting line is truth on the course. Fellow mudders (Tough Mudder participants) never leave anyone behind and there are a few obstacles that would be impossible without the help of others.
According to my Nike+ watch the course covered ~14.25 km, with 308 m of elevation gain. The relatively long course contained 18 obstacles (more if you included some of the random mud pits). Although obstacles were relatively small in numbers, there were some absolutely fantastic ones. The most notable obstacles at Tough Mudder Alberta were The Blockness Monster, Arctic Enema, Everest 2.0, Pyramid Scheme, Funky Monkey 2.0, and Mud Mile 2.0.
The Blockness Monster: Made its debut at World’s Toughest Mudder 2015 and has quickly become a favorite among participants! Located in a pool of muddy water are two massive rotating blocks that are too large to jump over and if you try to climb over, the blocks will rotate and leave you where you started. In order to complete this obstacle mudders must work together as they hoist individuals over the large blocks. Once enough people are on the other side of the blocks, they can use their weight to make the blocks rotate and mudders on the other side of the blocks can grab hold and let the rotation of the blocks carry them to the other side. This is by far my favorite obstacle for its uniqueness and the coordinated teamwork that is required to get through the obstacle.
Arctic Enema: Everyone loves a waterslide. How about a waterslide into an ice bath! That’s what you get with Arctic Enema, the joys of water slide mixed with the cold shock and eventual revitalization of an ice bath.
Everest 2.0: Which came first the American Ninja Warrior, Warped Wall or Tough Mudder’s, Everest? I don’t know and I don’t care, but there it is exhilarating running up a quarter pipe and leaping onto a ledge to pull yourself over the top.
Pyramid Scheme: This obstacle is the epitome of teamwork. There is no way anyone can complete this obstacle without the help of others. In order to scale the giant slip wall mudders build human ladders/chains and allow other mudders to clamber over them to reach the top. It is quite remarkable and inspiring to watch/work with complete strangers to overcome this obstacle.
Funky Monkey 2.0: A slippery set of inclined monkey bars, to a swinging bar, to a downward pointed lateral bar. This obstacle is set up over a pool of water so if you fail you get to make a big enjoyable splash.
Mud Mile 2.0: Just like Pyramid Scheme, mudders are not making it through Mud Mile 2.0 without the help of others. Massive trenches are filled with silty, muddy water (that gets everywhere!) and surrounded by 7 ft tall mounds of vertical, slippery mud. If you think you can climb out of one of these trenches you are vastly mistaken. The water covers you from head to toe in a silky slippery mud, and the mounds you have to climb over are just as slick as you. Participants push and pull each other over the mounds, and occasionally fall back into the trench as a result of the slick mud.
Tough Mudder Alberta was a fantastically fun experience. The Canadian Badlands is a fantastic venue for an obstacle course and Tough Mudder certainly delivered a great course. Mud, dirt, big obstacles, water, steep climbs, awesome views, and terrific people made Tough Mudder Alberta 2016 a remarkable success. I highly recommend everyone to checkout Tough Mudder Alberta next year or any other Tough Mudder event. With no timing chips, no penalties for failed obstacles, and an emphasis on camaraderie, Tough Mudder is a great event for anyone looking for an introductory into the obstacle course scene. Tough Mudder is not only great as a gateway to obstacle courses, it also provides seasoned veterans of obstacle course racing with a unique team building experience and fantastic obstacles that can’t be found anywhere else.
Adam Kuhn lives in Calgary Alberta, where he works as a Geologist in corporate Calgary. Playing high level hockey and football in high school Adam has always loved competitive sports. Upon entering University, sports and exercise fell to the wayside as a life of partying ensued. Spartan Racing has gotten Adam off the couch (and booze) and has revitalized his life. A relatively new face in the OCR scene Adam’s competitive nature is back as he pushes his body to its limits as he competes in the Elite Heats, testing himself against the best of the best. Follow him on Instagram @adamkuhn20 and checkout his personal blog readysweatrun.com for more on his adventures.