What can I say, “It’s Vegas Baby!!!” You never know what to expect, and that was surely the case for the 2014 World’s Toughest Mudder.
This year’s WTM was EPIC! There isn’t a better way to describe it. We all spent months preparing for a 24 hour jaunt through the desert expecting to be in and out of the water and mentally preparing for it all. When Tough Mudder HQ dropped the 35 ft Cliff Jump bomb some competitors, myself included, were ecstatic; while others were terrified. We all showed none-the-less with a plan to finish. Little did we know what lie ahead of us.
World’s is an event for each of the competitors. It’s not just a race. Many of us, from all over the world, connect via the Facebook community throughout the year discussing our trials and tribulations, training tactics, gear selection, etc. By the time the event arrives, it’s a chance for us to finally get together with a group of like minded crazy’s and go out and experience something amazing together. For those who showed up in the desert of Lake Las Vegas for the first WTM to be held there this was an event that would take everything to another level.
I could sit here and attempt describe what all we did and the difficulties we faced but, in no way could I do it justice. I have included a few pictures and video below to provide you some visuals. Suffice to say, for approximately 400 of the 1,200 who signed up it was too much. Those people left defeated during the night by hypothermia, the sand storm, or mentally they just weren’t there. However, for those who were out there through it all the 2014 WTM changed us.
I saw a group of Spartan’s become Mudders, even if it was just for a day. I saw “people helping people” as the Garth Brooks’ song states. The constant encouragement was everywhere. Whether it was a group standing at the Cliff Jump refusing to let a women afraid to jump give into her fear, or the Hump Check where everyone was helping each other make the climb. People like Matty Gregg were out there pushing others to be their best. Even the great Amelia Boone running on a bummed knee was swooped up by his good graces. Going into this event I had planned to have it be my last WTM for awhile. I finished with a PR of 97th place and 55 miles thanks to the assistance of Eric Jenkins and his wife Rachel, as well as Jeremy and Janet Torkelson who were there the entire time pushing me along. What else did I have to prove… Nothing! Not to myself, not to anyone! So why would I need to do this all again? Why put myself through this hell again??? At some point when I was driving back from the race completely exhausted, a video that LeeRoy Jenkins posted before the race popped into my head. This is that video
After contemplating this for a couple of weeks. After seeing all the reminicing on Facebook. After seeing the outcry of support for Jacqualyn Evans as she lay in a hospital bed recovering from a complication from the event. After seeing Sean Corvell post words of encouragement for a mudder on Thanksgiving. I sit here today proud to call myself a World’s Toughest Mudder not because I’ve proven myself three times now, but because these people are truly “FREAKING AWESOME!” The people I met at the pre-race dinners, the people I met at the race, and the people that helped me out on the course are all unbelievable. Those are the people I want to be around. When I turn on the TV here in St. Louis all I hear about is hate. People who hate cops, people who hate others for what they have, people who hate others for the color of their skin. Some of these people have burned parts of our own city down. I can’t help but feel that we need a few more WTMer’s around. If there were life would be a whole lot happier. After all of this when I ask myself the question, “why would I do the 2015 World’s Toughest Mudder?” The only answer that I find is… “the people.” Because I need a whole lot more time around those people. I think Amelia summed it up pretty well when she said “I think I’m home.”
When someone asks me “what is the World’s Toughest Mudder?” My reply will be, “it’s great people, and great experiences… It’s like home!”
To all of you WTMer’s out there, I’ll see you in Vegas!