What an event. What a weekend.
Over the last three days, we saw things unfold that no one thought was possible. We met incredible people from all over the world. We heard unbelievable stories about overcoming all the odds. We saw the strength, will and pure determination of those who can now call themselves "World's Toughest Mudders." Most importantly, we experienced the unbreakable spirit of teamwork and camaraderie between all participants in an event that's considered a race. Truly inspiring stuff.
We were updating so frequently from Raceway Park that we didn't have a chance to really give you an overall look at how the competition played out, who finished where, how many laps they completed, and illustrate the big picture of what was going down at WTM. Here's our chance to do exactly that.
Our team arrived on site early Friday morning to survey the course and be there when Mudders started to arrive and set up their tents. From the start, there was a tangible energy in the air; a feeling that was unlike any other Tough Mudder event. Everyone had been preparing for months, and the day had arrived. The excitement was palpable, and we immersed ourselves in it immediately.
On Friday night, we walked around Tent City to find Sean Corvelle, who many of you know as "Start Line Sean", using his motivational powers to prepare the Mudders for what lie ahead. As the start line announcer for the majority of TM events, he has become the face and voice of the spirit that embodies our message. It's impossible to spend time with Sean and not feel inspired. Take a look as he tells us his thoughts on World's Toughest Mudder:
After a few hours of sleep, we woke before the sun to set up our production room and prepare for the start. Our team cruised through the pit at daybreak, watching the nervous excitement build as Mudders zipped up their wet-suits, stretched out, hydrated, and got mentally prepared for the 10 AM start.
In typical Sean fashion, he absolutely killed the start line and everyone was rearing to go. As the clock struck 10, they were off to take on Big Mudder. The course consisted of 10 grueling miles with 32 obstacles. This year's field was more prepared to tackle the challenges that lay ahead, but uncertainty about what was to come remained.
The leaders came out of the gate with a furious pace. Last year's winner, JY Pak, completed his first lap in 1:29:40. Bryce Wilk from Spotsylvania, PA was keeping close in second place, running through the finish shoot just over four minutes behind Pak Man. Nikolay Nachev from Redmond, Washington, was also running strong at that point, completing his first lap in 1:44:21 and sitting in 3rd place.
Amelia Boone was leading the women after Lap 1, burning through 10 miles and 32 obstacles in 1:49:41. Becca Tudor from Telluride, CO was in hot pursuit of Boone at that point, sitting just under 10 minutes back with a first lap time of 1:57:23. Deanna Blegg, the eventual second place finisher, was 10 minutes behind Boone, coming through the chute at 2:00:30.
From that point forward, strategies varied. Some Mudders were walking the whole course, taking the slow and steady approach. Others were pushing hard and resting in between laps. Hundreds succumbed to injury and fatigue during the daytime hours but most kept charging ahead, taking advantage of the sunshine and relatively mild temperatures. The energy on the course was amazing, and we were all over the place trying to take in the vibe at different obstacles.
Pak, Boone and the other leaders knew that they would need to create some separation from the field, so for them it was non-stop throughout the day.
Around 4:30 PM, Bryce Wilk overtook JY Pak. At that point, Bryce was absolutely beasting the course and keeping up a ridiculous pace, completing three laps in 5:20:09 and heading into the second half of his fourth lap. Pak knew they couldn't keep up that pace, but he was forced to run Wilk's race to keep the gap manageable. At that point, 1,091 participants (1,013 men / 78 women) out of 1,300 remained the race.
As the sun set around 5:30, most participants who had been pushing throughout the day took an opportunity to rest up in tent city. Mudders were sharing stories, comparing strategies and marveling at the pace that the leaders were on. Families, friends, and fans wandered around the course offering relentless encouragement to keep fighting.
As night fell, the temperature kept dropping. Around 9 PM, Wilk and Boone still held the lead and the New Jersey air was just below freezing at 31 degrees. With thick wet-suits on, a large number of Mudders were on the course, trying to push through as the stars and moon appeared overhead. It was incredibly cool to see Mudders in the distance, bouncing along in the darkness with headlamps on, their bodies cold, their minds tired, but still moving after 10 hours on course. We saw Mudders everywhere helping each other along and we met people like Matt Hanson, the eventual 6th place finisher, exhausted and in pain but having the time of his life.
At 11:40 PM, while shooting video over near Funky Monkey, we saw someone approaching who looked incredibly focused and fast. As he got closer, we realized it was the Pak Man. After he cruised across the freezing water underneath the monkey bars, we ran alongside him to find out how he was feeling. At that point, he was on his 6th lap, had been running for over 12 hours, and was about an hour behind Bryce Wilk in second place.
What a machine. Shortly after this (around 1:30 AM) he took the lead while Wilk rested and wouldn't give it back. With Pak keeping a steady pace, Boone leading the women, and the eventual winning team, "Nine Inch Males," making their way through the course, the rest of the field was going hard as the most quiet, freezing time of night set in. While you were sleeping, this was going on:
As the sun rose, Pak and Boone kept separating themselves from the rest of the field. Wilk and the other male competitors had rested during the night while Pak Man took only a 30 minute break to stretch and re-fuel. Boone and Blegg were in a two horse race for the women and Nine Inch Males from Stanhope, PA were building their lead on the second place team, Lords of Coventry. The other Mudders still in the race were mapping out how to battle the course in the early morning hours and we walked through a frost-covered Tent City to hear how racers were feeling and talk about what it took to get back out there. Safe to say, the energy and enthusiasm was a bit different than it was when the race began, but we were inspired by the dedication that all the Mudders showed to overcome how they were feeling and push on.
Around 8 AM it became clear that this race would be won by either JY Pak, a 34 year old mechanical engineer from Beverley, Massachusetts, or Amelia Boone, a 29 year old corporate bankruptcy lawyer from Chicago. They had distanced themselves from the field and were holding a steady pace. Both had just started their 9th lap and Boone was about 25 minutes back of JY for the overall lead. Looking at their faces, you could see the pain they were in. Each had been on the move for over 22 hours, completing over 256 difficult obstacles. How they kept going, we'll never be able to understand.
The leading team was making its way towards the finish line, but one of the strongest teams was rallying.
At 9:15 AM, the winning team, Nine Inch Males, crossed the finish line. These guys pushed through, worked together, and bested the rest of the field. Hats off to them.
From there, things got crazy, dramatic, and wild. There aren't enough descriptors in the English language to tell the story of the buzz that was set off when Boone closed ground on a delirious Pak and was sighted only four minutes behind him, swimming through Boa Constrictor with a big smile on her face. Pak got word that Boone was on his tail and turned it into overdrive. At one point he emerged from the woods, barely able to walk. We saw him struggling and then heard the rousing cheers from his friends and family, running up and encouraging him to keep going. Pak bent down, seemingly ready to fall over, but stood up, stretched his back, and started to jog. That sight was one of the most incredible, intense things that's ever happened in sport.
It was back and forth, with Boone closing the gap again to six minutes, then falling to eight minutes back, then to four again. But Pak kept moving and Boone couldn't catch him. Pak emerged from Mud Mile on the final lap, showing a burst no one thought he had. Each step was painful misery, but he kept going. So did Boone.
At 11:19, Pak cleared the final obstacle, Electroshock, and headed towards the final straight-away, nine minutes ahead of Amelia. Other Mudders ran alongside him, giving him the strength he needed to keep going.
At 11:21 AM, 25 hours, 21 minutes, and 58 seconds after he had started the race, JY Pak limped across the finish line and collapsed. Looking up at the sky and raising his tired arms over head. For the second year in a row, against all the odds, he had captured the title of World's Toughest Mudder. He smashed last year's record of seven laps, running nine laps for a total time of 25:21:58.
Nine minutes later, at 11:31 AM, Amelia Boone crossed the finish line, struggling to put one foot in front of the other. She also completed nine laps, registering a final time of 25:30:54. The cheers for her coming down the finish shoot sent goosebumps across the skin of everyone in sight. She defied what anyone thought was possible.
While Pak and Boone took the title, so many other Mudders came across the line in dramatic fashion. For them, it wasn't about winning. It was about proving to themselves and to the world that they could do it. That's what Tough Mudder is all about.
Congratulations and thanks to all the Mudders who participated in this year's event. Click here for a full list of finishers and participants: Leaderboard.
Here are the top 10 finishers:
1. Junyong Pak. Beverly, MA. 25:21:58 (9 Laps Completed)
2. Amelia Boone. Chicago, IL. 25:30:54 (9 Laps Completed)
3. Deanna Blegg. Kangaroo Ground, AUS. 23:48:28 (8 Laps Completed)
4. Justin Deiter. Babylon, NY. 24:15:38 (8 Laps Completed)
5. Dustin Partridge. Brookfield, CT. 27:15:47 (8 Laps Completed)
6. Bryce Wilk. Spotsylvania, PA. 20:25:27 (7 Laps Completed)
7. William Spencer. Coronado, CA. 23:24:22 (7 Laps Completed)
8. Matthew Hanson. Sturgeon Bay, WI. 23:41:17 (7 Laps Completed)
9. Daniel Kaali, Budapest, Hungary. 23:56:05 (7 Laps Completed)
10. Andrew Boone. Cedar Rapids, IA. 23:59:47 (7 Laps Completed)
1. Junyong Pak. Beverly, MA. 25:21:58 (9 Laps Completed)
2. Justin Deiter. Babylon, NY. 24:15:38 (8 Laps Completed)
3. Dustin Partridge. Brookfield, CT. 27:15:47 (8 Laps Completed)
4. Bryce Wilk. Spotsylvania, PA. 20:25:27 (7 Laps Completed)
5. William Spencer. Coronado, CA. 23:24:22 (7 Laps Completed)
6. Matthew Hanson. Sturgeon Bay, WI. 23:41:17 (7 Laps Completed)
7. Daniel Kaali, Budapest, Hungary. 23:56:05 (7 Laps Completed)
8. Andrew Boone. Cedar Rapids, IA. 23:59:47 (7 Laps Completed)
9. Scott Brown. Kilmarnock, Scotland. 24:05:27 (7 Laps Completed)
10. John Templeman. New York, NY. 25:04:17 (7 Laps Completed)
1. Amelia Boone. Chicago, IL. 25:30:54 (9 Laps Completed)
2. Deanna Blegg. Kangaroo Ground, AUS. 23:48:28 (8 Laps Completed)
3. Mandy Baskin. Gordonsville, VA. 22:21:28 (6 Laps Completed)
4. Heather Ferguson. Mechanicsville, VA. 24:31:59 (5 Laps Completed)
5. Jackie Rust. Aubrey, TX. 25:48:28 (5 Laps Completed)
6. Lea Stretch. San Diego, CA. 25:53:03 (5 Laps Completed)
7. Lauren Andrews. Sharon, MA. 26:25:55 (5 Laps Completed)
8. Corrine Kohlen. Visalia, CA. 12:11:31 (4 Laps Completed)
9. Sandy Sanders. Havre De Grace, MD. 13:12:55 (4 Laps Completed)
10. Pamela Sievers. Barfold, AUS. 16:29:26 (4 Laps Completed)
1. Nine Inch Males. Stanhope, PA. 23:15:35 (6 Laps Completed)
2. The Lords Of Coventry. York, PA. 24:40:56 (6 Laps Completed)
3. Cranbrook4. Cranbrook, British Columbia. 24:06:17 (5 Laps Completed)
4. Deeds Not Words. Evans Mills, NY. 24:10:25 (5 Laps Completed)
5. Brothers of the Mud. Chapel Hill, NC. 25:09:55 (5 Laps Completed)
6. Cold Steel. Acworth, GA. 27:16:30 (5 Laps Completed)
7. The Todd Casey Experience) 14:00:52 (4 Laps Completed)
8. One. Arlington, VA. 14:25:10 (4 Laps Completed)
9. Defiance of Tyranny. Wallaceburg, Ontario. 24:44:06. (4 Laps Completed)
10. Sisu. Mount Airy, MD. 25:13:29 (4 Laps Completed)
MESSAGE TO ALL MUDDERS:
Everything we worked on this weekend was to give you an inside look at the race and the participants. This is such a unique event and being there was a privilege and an honor for us. There will be much more World's Toughest Mudder 2012 content on the way, so stay tuned.
Thanks to all for reading and following Mudder Nation.
#WTMudder #muddersgohard #mudderforlife