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Review: Tough Mudder Tri-State (12.1 Miles)

Monday, November 29, 2010 12:22 PM

The Tough Mudder course was 12.1 miles long and consisted of 19 obstacles. It took place at the Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ on November 20th and 21st, 2010. I decided to run on Sunday, the 21st.

As the race came closer I grew more and more concerned with going through water obstacles in the middle of November. The day of the race the ttemperature was in the mid forties and while my concern was justified in tthat there were participants that had to be pulled from the race, I am happy to say I made it through without incident :-)

I have mixed feelings about the event as a whole. I was far from impressed by the environment/atmosphere of the event. In all the previous runs I’ve done the organizers set up a large party atmosphere with live music, bbqs, additional activities, and really encouraged people to come in costumes and to just have a good time. I’m not sure if there was a difference between Saturday and Sunday but the place was dead. It was very quiet with participants wandering around preparing for the run and spectators also wandering about.

The course itself was fantastic, but I did take issue with the fact that they let spectators wander around EVERYWHERE, even into the course itself which was distracting. They could have also placed more volunteers around the course to help direct participants.

One odd thing was that participants could opt out of obstacles. Those who did not want to complete an obstacle were simply allowed to go around it. It is my firm belief that if you did not attempt every obstacle, you didn't complete the run. In fact I don't think there should have even been an opt out. It is hard to justify billing your event as perhaps the toughest one day event on the planet and allow participants to opt out of obstacles.

Switching to a more positive note, I did like how they put up mile markers and obstacle numbers so participants could keep track of their progress. It is much easier to get through those last few miles when you actually know how many are left.

Below is a picture of the course followed by my description of my progress through it:

(01) Monster Chase: I started off the course by chasing a monster truck on the race track. At some point the monster truck stopped and let out a tremendous amount of white smoke which made it a bit difficult to breath but the smoke was short lived and I continued on the track. I ran for a short distance until I came to a group of water obstacles.

(02) Ball Shrinker: The objective was to get to the other side of a body of water using one high and one low rope.  I held myself up above the water by holding onto a rope above me and my legs were on the rope below me. It was fairly easy to get across; I just had to go slow.

(03) Walk the Plank: After the Ball Shrinker I had to climb up a wall using a rope.  Once up the wall I had to jump 15 feet into the lake. I took a look down into the lake and thought to myself, “I don’t want to do this” and just held my nose and jumped. Once in the water it was very dark and I had a short moment of panic thinking I was kicking down instead of up towards the surface, but thankfully the panic was unwarranted. However, Once on the surface I had a really hard time breathing.

(04) Underwater Tunnels: The water was so cold my legs started to hurt almost immediately and I was so preoccupied with the pain that I didn’t realize I was finally at the three rows of floating barrels we had to go under. A back log of participants began to form and I just couldn't wait to get out of the water.  I hurried under the first row and had to take a moment when I came up because my head hurt so much from the cold.  When I went to go under the second and third rows, some girl who couldn’t wait to get through the obstacle smacked into me when I went under. I suppose she never learned to wait her turn. Once out of the lake I ended up right back in it having to make my way back to the opposite side of the lake. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to dry off with some more running at this point.

(05) Spider’s Web: After some good old fashioned running I came to a pair of cargo nets I had to climb over. This obstacle was fairly straight forward and mild compared to the water obstacles.

(06) Mud Mile: Once over the cargo nets I went through an obstacle called the “Mud Mile” which was just a whole lot of mud. Much of the run after this point was through mud.

(07) Cliffhanger: Once through the Mud Mile I went through what must have been miles and miles up and down hills of a muddy motocross track. About mid way through this track was this very steep hill where I got stock for approximately thirty minutes trying to get over. With the help of another participant who had two guys holding her by the legs upside down at the top of this hill, I was able to run up a good portion of the hill and manage to grab her hand and climb up her to the top. If it wasn’t for those two guys and the girl, I may have been stuck there for another thirty minutes. At this point I could hardly run anymore. Both my knees were in a lot of pain and I was getting very cold.

(08) Kiss Of Mud: After some more muddy hills, it was right under some barbwire, which has become common place at these types of events.

(09) Boa Constrictor: Some more running led to these little tunnels we had to crawl through.

(10) Berlin Walls: Once out of the little tunnels I came to a series of 12 foot high walls. These walls were extremely difficult to get over. Of the three, I managed the first and last without any help and thankfully another participant helped me over the middle one. It was the only obstacle I sort of wish I had a cup on for, lol.

(11) Tired Yet?: After the series of walls I had to run through a fairly large section of tires where I saw some poor girl proceed to fall and twist her ankle.

(12) Rubbernecking: Once through the section of tires I had to run around the racetrack caring a tire.  I was beyond tired at this point, I was exhausted.

(13) Fire Walker: Once around the racetrack I dropped the tire with the others and ran through some kerosene soaked straw. This was more of a breathing obstruction than an obstacle.

(14) Devil’s Beard: After the fire I was back in a couple of more miles of mud. At this point I ran into a group of girls and one of the girls had torn the back of her pants leaving her left ass cheek hanging out and she had a cut on the side of her face. Some people I came across at this point looked no batter than this girl did.  It made me happy I was in one piece.  Towards the end of this section of mud I had to go through some netting and then into the woods.

(15) The Log Bog Jog: As I went through the woods I went over and under a few logs and then around a lake to some monkey bars.

(16) Funky Monkey: These monkey bars were no ordinary monkey bars. They were angled up and then down over water. The girl with the ass cheek hanging out and her friends decided that instead of completing the obstacle they would actually climb over it. In the process they got mud all over the bars. I found it impossible to make it to the other side and ended up having to swim across to the next obstacle.

(17) Twinkle Toes: After I got out of the water from my failed monkey bar attempt, I had to make my way across a thin wooden beam in the water to land. I have horrible balance and ended up falling off the beam about halfway through and had to swim to the shore.

(18) Mystery Obstacle?– Electro Shock: I was drenched from falling in the water twice and now came to the "Mystery" obstacle.  Attached is a video of this wonderful obstacle in which you have to run through electrified dangling wires. I ended up going face first into the mud after getting zapped several times.

(19) Insane Bolt: A 100 metere dash (or in my case limp) to the finish line completed the run. At this point I could hardly walk and was throwing my legs in front of me. It took me four hours and ten minutes to finish. I probably would have been in better shape by the time I got to the finish line if I didn’t have such a bad knee and was just able to finish the race faster, but we work with what we have.

Overall I was very happy with this run.  My few complaints above could easily be remedied and I've already signed up for two more Tough Mudder races for 2011.  Hopefully the more of these crazy things I do the better my knee will fair and the better overall I will do :-)



Sounds like an ass kicker.


a picture of the ass cheek hanging out of the girls shorts would have been nice.


I've signed myself up for this years tri-state event... I've got a few questions for you. what were you doing to train before this event? i.e. how many miles were you running in one shot, etc. and another question, did you just wear shorts and a t-shirt or underarmor or... what? hahah the cold has me rather concerned as well.


I did not alter my training. I do thirty minutes of weights in the morning seven days a week and train martial arts times a week. I felt that if I added running days into my training I would be at risk for over training.

The obstacles are pretty evenly spread out through the course. Some of the course was difficult to run through, especially the large segments that were mud, but I attempted to run through most of the course. Towards the end I was more power walking than running.

I wore runnings pants and an underarmor shirt. The fourth image down in the post is a photo of me to get a better idea of what I was wearing. I also wore gloves. I also suggest wearing workers gloves or workout gloves. It will help with some of the obstacles. For summer mud runs I would wear shorts and a t-shirt, however the temperature was around 45-50 degrees for the November Tough Mudder and when I had done the Merril Down and Dirty mud run in October I froze my ass off with the shorts and t-shirt so I went with pants and the thicker underamor for November.

The faster you can get through the course, the less the cold will be a factor. Just be prepare yourself mentally for when you jump into the lake because there is a good chance the water will be extremely cold and you will be wet for a good portion of the run.


Thanks for the tips man. I registered for Tough Mudder Tri-State on Nov. 12, 2011 (Saturday). I'm a little nervous with walk the plank. How far do you have to swim in that obstacle?


I think the drop off the plank was about fifteen feet. We had to swim across the lake, though I'm not sure how far it was. The length wasn't as bad as the cold water. On the other side of the lake was a set of barrels that were floating on the surface. We had to go under them and then exit the lake. Run on the edge of the lake for a couple of minutes and then cross the lake again, though it was not as deep on the second crossing. The water was extremely cold last year, hopefully it is a little warmer on Saturday. Do a Google satellite view of the course to get an idea of how large the lake is. Good luck :-)

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