Now that the dust and mud has settled from World’s Toughest Mudder, Tough Mudder Headquarters has unveiled their plan for the 2019 Toughest Race Series. As we previously guessed (based on changes to the website) it looks like the Toughest event will be changing from an eight hour event to a twelve hour one. TMHQ said at the 2018 Champion’s Brunch this change is to create more of a mini-WTM experience at the Toughest Races.
In addition to making the event longer the pit area will be more substantial. At the Champion’s Brunch TMHQ announced you can now “put up anything” before quickly backtracking and specifying tents are now allowed for the event. I can’t speak for all of the Toughest events thus far but after pitting in Las Vegas for WTM 2017, I found the 2018 Toughest East pit to be very lackluster. It had an initial drop off in the converted bag check tent from the regular Tough Mudder earlier in the day and from there we brought one of the bins we had with “immediate” gear and nutrition to the festival area.
Let’s talk more about the biggest change: the duration of the event. In case you thought eight hours wasn’t enough time on the course, now you’ll get twelve! This will bring change to even more aspects of the race than I had originally thought. Will the race cost more? At the time of this writing the cost for Toughest Mudder East is $150.00. That is the same price as at this time in 2017.
Other areas that will need more attention are Training and Nutrition. You won’t be able to simply crash after eight hours. You need to keep your body running for those extra hours, especially if you want a podium finish. Speaking of podiums, there are now more ways to get up on those esteemed blocks!
2019 will be the first time Toughest Mudder will have team categories. Now there is another way to get an awesome award from competing! The only information TMHQ has announced is there will be 2-person and 4-person relay teams and they will need to run 45 miles in 12 hours to qualify as Contenders for World’s Toughest Mudder. We expect more information on the Team Relay categories as the races get closer.
Everyone loves their bling and TM has always stuck to their headbands, but now there will be finisher medals in addition to the 12-Hour Finisher headband. Will this get athletes and weekend warriors that have been hesitant to join in the Mudder action and register for one of these events? Time will tell, but I am optimistic about it as I have quite a few friends who are “medal whores” and their ears perked up when they learned of this change!
These next two adjustments were not on my radar until after talking to some of the elites: recovery and qualification distances. It’s one thing to prepare for an event that is four hours longer and to fuel though it. It’s another to be able to block out some time after the race to properly recover from an event with an increased duration. This could potentially mean fewer of the same elites running every event or an increase in the need for specific athletes to focus on these races. It will take a lot of time to prepare and recover from this event which will naturally restrict the amount of other events that can be done throughout the year. Now that the event is 50% longer, the once somewhat stretch goal of becoming a contender for WTM by completing 5 laps for a total of 25 official miles would be too easy and wouldn’t be an accurate gauge of one’s athleticism and qualifications to get that orange stripe on their bib that shows they are a Contender at World’s Toughest Mudder in November. For a man to qualify as a Contender for WTM 2019, he must run 40 miles at a Toughest Mudder in 2019. For a woman to qualify as a Contender, she must run 30 miles in those 12 hours. They have not announced the requirements for Elite Contender yet, but I believe they will continue as they have been the past two years: A top five finish for the men or women at a Toughest Mudder will earn you Elite Contender status at World’s Toughest Mudder 2019.
If you are like me and can’t wait to get your recently defrosted hands on an entry to the event nearest you, SIGN UP HERE and hopefully I will see your beautiful muddy face at a Toughest Mudder in 2019!