Race Recap: Tri-State NJ – Tough Mudder – November 7th & 8th 2015.
By Walter F Hendrick (OCRSandy)
This was my last race weekend prior to the World’s Toughest Mudder, so I figured what better to do than run multiple laps on Saturday and one lap on Sunday at the last standard Tough Mudder venue/race of the 2015 race season.
- Registration and Festival:
Registration has always been fast and smooth at all my Tough Mudder events and this one was no different on either day.
Tough Mudder has the festival area down to a perfect science and the addition of spectator routes (indicated on the course maps) always makes for a great time for both racers and spectators all day. They also included a warming tent, which I found to be an awesome touch with it being November and colder here on the East coast.
- Pre-race MC:
Pre-race MC Sean Corvelle was awesome as always and I couldn’t help but be especially impressed how much energy and fire he had for the first wave Sunday morning. I witnessed a seasoned legionnaire tap his friend on the shoulder just prior to Sean starting his speech and tell them to pay attention because Sean is amazing. After Sean was done, I heard the friend confirm to the legionnaire that Sean was awesome. Nothing more needs to be said about Sean, he is worth the price of admission alone.
- The Course:
I want to start out by explaining that this was the first year that Tough Mudder was using “Liberty State Park” as a race venue and Tough Mudder wasn’t able to dig anywhere on the property and also were limited to where some of the obstacles were placed, so this affected not only some of the course design but also the obstacles they were able to bring.
The course started out with a long run for just over a mile with the majority of the mile spent on either blacktop or concrete, but the view was either Ellis Island, the Statue Liberty, and the NY Sky line which were all amazing and worth taking a moment to enjoy. The first obstacle on the course was the inverted wall “Skidmarked” and then it was time for another decent distance sprint and up next was “Pole Dancer”. I have done a lot of parallel bar crossing obstacles and I have to admit that this Tough Mudder version is the most difficult of them all for me. The course continued for a brief distance still spending a lot of the time on both blacktop and concrete and sometimes even short sections of cobblestone and the next obstacle up was “Bale Bonds”, which was a nice and easy obstacle.
After another brief sprint the course came to the next obstacle “Prairie Dog”, which was the first opportunity on the course to get a little wet and dirty. The water wasn’t deep, so racers were able to control how much of their body got wet once exiting the black drainage pipes. The next obstacle up wasn’t that far off in the distance, but it was the first time I have seen this obstacle at a Tough Mudder event, it was called “Just the Tip” and it started with a wall crossing with both hand and leg notches and then came to a middle section that only included hand notches and required traversing across this section relying completely on upper body and grip strength and then came a short section of wall that again had leg and hand notches to cross. Like I mentioned, this was the first time I have seen this obstacle at a Tough Mudder event and it is very challenging. After another not that long sprint the course arrived to the next obstacle, “Kiss of the Mud 2.0”, which is the Tough Mudders version of a barbed wire crawl, this version also included a hay bale racers had to crawl up and over which made for a more interesting challenge. This also was the second obstacle that got racers both wet and a muddy.
At this point the course went for another short distance and came to “Balls out”, which I am not sure what it was about this specific version of the obstacle, but it was much harder than it has been at my other Tough Mudder racers this year. The course had another of its decent distance sprints and made its way not that far away from the festival area and up next was “Berlin Walls”. After getting up and over the walls and helping several others racers it was time to for another brief sprint and up next was one of my favorite Tough Mudder obstacles “Cry Baby”. I was actually pretty congested and was looking forward to this obstacle as it always clears me right up. I think I am starting to build up a tolerance to the gas as it wasn’t that bad on any of my three laps (lol). The course continued for a brief sprint and up next was “Beached Whale”, this obstacle was very different on all three of my laps, on my first lap it had ropes that were tied down and as well a section of ropes on the top of it that made it much less of a challenge, on lap two, the ropes were now all that remained which made it harder and as well it appeared to have deflated some and some of us sunk way deeper into it than I did on lap # 1. On Sunday on my third lap, the ropes were no longer tied down and if racers didn’t help each other there was no way to get up and over it alone.
The course continued on and came to the “Warrior Carry”, which always running solo and being a larger framed guy can be hard to find a partner, so what I did on all three laps was tell the other racer I would carry them the entire distance. Only one of the racers balked at that suggestion, but I didn’t stop and carried him as well the entire way (lol). The course had another short sprint and up next was “Funky Monkey 2.0” which I have to point out was the one obstacle on at least both laps on Saturday had delays. The delays were partially due to some racers hesitating several times prior to attempting the obstacle, which is something I think a well-educated volunteer could help move faster. I learned something about Funky Monkey 2.0 this time, not all of the choices are created equal, some have less if a distance from the transition from the monkey bars to the swinging section and the same can be said about the distance from the swing to the straight line pole, with my shoulders being pretty much toast this late in the season, I checked each one and picked wisely.
The next obstacle up was “Devil’s Beard” which is the damn dreaded net crawls I always despise (lol). On my laps on Saturday I tried crossing this with my camera on my head, that wasn’t a smart move and made it much harder. A short distance ahead, the course made a complete U-Turn and came to “Artic Enema 2.0”, I need to comment about this obstacle on Sunday, I am pretty sure it was completely filled with ice and almost no water when I did it, I ended up with large chunks of ice stuck behind my hydration and back once I exited the tank. The next obstacle was up next pretty quick and this was an obstacle meant to be done as a team as it was a very large black PVC pipe filled with water and capped on both ends. I opted to carry the pipe alone on all my laps. This section of course started out with an under wall to first get the PVC tube through and then crawl through the opening and then came an over wall to again get the PVC tube over and then climb/hop over the wall, and last but not least was a thru wall to get the PVC first thru and then climb thru. I actually think in some ways doing this one alone was easier than doing it with others.
At this point, the course hugged the river to our right and went on for a little bit of distance and up next was “The Liberator”, which is a fun and pretty unique to only Tough Mudder obstacle. My only suggestion for this one is that the volunteers need to be paying more attention to the wooden pegs being left in the angled wall holes. Not a far trail distance ahead was “Everest 2.0” and I hate to admit this publicly, but I struggle more with this warped wall than any of the others I have attempted all OCR race season. The course then continued for what was less than a half of a mile in distance and came to “Liberty Leap”. As I mentioned above, Tough Mudder could not dig into the ground as this venue, so they could not bring any of the cliff jump type obstacles and in addition, it’s starting to get on the colder side, so having an obstacle requires racers to get completely wet may not have that popular, so in place of a cliff jump into water Tough Mudder brought Liberty Leap, which is a jump (rear-end first) on to a big inflated stunt air pillow. A very short distance after was the last two obstacles, which were side by side, “Electroshock” and “Dead Ringer”. Even though I am a Legionnaire (someone that has run multiple Tough Mudder events), I opted to do “Electroshock” on all three of my laps and each time I walked slowly through the obstacle with both of my hands raised to my side (Iron Cross style). I do not recommend this method unless you are okay with getting electrocuted a lot of times. After these last two obstacles, the course had a very short sprint to the finish line.
- Overall Feelings and Event Rating:
I enjoyed the obstacles and understand when you combine the limits Tough Mudder had with this venue, and the colder weather, and why they had so little mud and water obstacles. However it was the massive amount of time we spent on blacktop, concrete and even sometimes cobblestones pavements that I wasn’t a huge fan of. The views during the entire course were amazing, but I have to be honest and say I hope Tough Mudder finds a new venue for the Tri-State race next year.
Based on the course, amazing job Sean Corvelle did all weekend long, a great group of staff and volunteers, and the amazing views all day, I am rating this a 4.7 out of 5 stars.
- Racers should be ashamed of themselves:
I hate to end this article being negative, but I am compelled to mention it, as I have indicated multiple times, I ran two laps on Saturday and one on Sunday and what I witnessed happen to the Liberty State Park course was disgraceful, racers littered all over the ten miles course and they should be ashamed of themselves. Tough Mudder actually does a better job of providing areas to discard trash and it is a park that has trash cans all over the course, yet I saw so much race trash it was unreal. Racers need to do better and not litter on any OCR course and carry the trash with them, I also think it’s time other racers hold those they see littering accountable and ask them to pick it up.