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Wolrd's Toughest Mudder draws 1300 athletes for 24-hour obstacle course race

Posted at 12:25 PM, Nov 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 13:02:23-05
Tough Mudder touts itself as “probably the toughest event on the planet.” It only makes sense that it’s competitive race, World’s Toughest Mudder, would take that claim to a whole new level.
On Saturday, 1280 athletes will take to the starting line at Lake Las Vegas. Top competitors will have 24 hours to complete as many laps as possible of the 5-mile obstacle course.
World's Toughest Mudder requires a lot of strength and plenty of mental grit. But most importantly, the course requires participants to work as a team, even as they compete against each other. Obstacles like Pyramid Scheme are practically impossible unless competitors work together - the smooth, slanted wall requires participants to build a human pyramid and ladder over one another to reach the top.
The element of camaraderie is what separates World’s Toughest Mudder from other competitive obstacle racing circuits. Amelia Boone, one of the most decorated athletes in the sport, said that unhelpful racers are often scorned for violating the spirit of the event.
“You don’t want to develop a reputation,” she said.
The team-based approached is a refreshing take on a sport that typically praises individual accomplishment. Mudder competitor Melissa Dugan described her fellow competitors as one big family that anyone can join. And Team Rubicon coach David Burke sees potential in Tough Mudder athletes in creating serious social change. 
“If everyone acted the way [athletes] do on a Tough Mudder course, the world would be a better place,” said Burke. Team Rubicon is an international response organization that pairs military veterans with first responders in crisis areas.
24 hours is a long time to run a single race, which can be especially fatiguing when factoring obstacles that require more mental and physical stamina than a regular marathon. But Mudders are up for the challenge.
“I love events that tote the line between possible and impossible,” said ultra-marathon runner Nickademus Hollon, who “cut the cord” with long-distance running to train for World’s Toughest Mudder.
April Dee, a military veteran, trained three to five hours every day with coach Yancy Culp to prepare for the grueling event. And like many of her fellow competitors, she finds joy within the harshness of the course. 
“It’s such a privilege to suffer,” Dee said.
While World’s Toughest Mudder is certainly brutal, the event’s organizers are not entirely heartless. About 12 hours into the run, race crews will alter certain obstacles to make them easier for competitors. For example, Funky Monkey: The Revolution normally transitions from a set of ascending monkey bars to a series of descending revolving wheels. But the alterations halfway through the race allow competitors to skip the monkey bars entirely by dashing across a narrow balance beam.
Alterations like these allow competitors to put in an impressive amount of mileage over the course of the race. 3-time champion Ryan Atkins put in 100 miles in 2013. Marine veteran Trevor Cichosz plans to do the same but added that top competitors are going to have to put in a lot more than 100 miles to win this year.
Obstacles for World’s Toughest Mudder 2016 include the following:
The Block Ness Monster - Participants will push, pull, and roll their way over the top of slick, rotating barriers while chest-deep in water.
Double Rainbow  - Athletes must leap from a 12-foot platform to catch a bar hanging over the water. Using their momentum, they must swing to a second bar, then swing again to land on a crash pad below
Backstabber - A 12-foot slanted and slicked wall with holes in it. Competitors use pegs provided at the base to scale the obstacle.
Kiss of Mud 2.0 - Participants must army crawl through an 18-inch space of barbed wire and mud.
Turducken - A 3-in-one obstacle that requires participants to scale a large cargo net, dive into a dark tube, then immediately swim out of a pit of cold water.
Kong - Participants swing from one floating ring to the next with increasing distance between them, all while 25 feet above a crash pad.
The Cliff - A 35-foot jump into the cold waters of Lake Las Vegas.
Augustus Gloop - Competitors will enter a chest-deep pit of water before climbing a vertical tube, fighting off a waterfall as it gushes from above.
Stage 5 Clinger - At nearly 20 feet high, athletes will have to navigate around a 90-degree overhang using a series of ladders and monkey bars
Giant Wedgie - An exhausting 35-foot high cargo net climb.
Everest - A slicked 15-foot high quarter pipe with a recurved top to make it extra difficult to get a handhold.
Operation - Much like the board game, participants will use a metal rod to try and remove several round rings from narrow, oddly shaped holes. Participants will feel an electric zap hit their body of the rod touches the edge of the holes.
The men’s and women’s champion of World’s Toughest Mudder will each receive $10,000, while the winning team will get $20,000. Additionally, the first team that runs 100 miles in 24 hours will be given a prize purse of $100,000.
Fans can watch the live stream of World’s Toughest Mudder on Nov. 12-13 at ToughMudder.com. The event will also air on CBS on Dec. 25 at 2 p.m. EST.
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