On November 11, 2017, 1,655 Tough Mudders gathered for the 7th annual World’s Toughest Mudder outside of Las Vegas, NV. World’s Toughest Mudder is the most iconic endurance event in the world, the toughest 24-hour obstacle race on the planet, The Super Bowl of Endurance Sports. And this year’s race proved no less gritty, gutsy, or challenging. With 21 obstacles and plenty of elevation gain on every 5-mile loop, the Last Dance in the Desert was a memorable one. From Ryan Atkins hitting a WTM distance record, to newcomer Rea Kolbl unexpectedly taking the female win, to a wedding and an engagement, oh, and not to mention Roxie the Dog tackling the mud, WTM 2017 was one for the books.
For the first time ever, two adaptive athletes, Tyson Perry, better known as Superman, and Jesi Stracham, took on WTM. Superman, a 33-year-old paraplegic from Woodland, California, is a Legionnaire with now has 9 Tough Mudders and 1 World’s Toughest Mudder to his name. Along with his team and Coach, Superman completed all 25 of his goal miles. Meanwhile Jesi, who is new to obstacle racing as of this year, tackled WTM with ERock and Kill Cliff athletes, Sam and Jenn Dancer.
The women’s side was fast and exciting, with several elites competing for first place. Dark horse Rea Kolbl, originally from Slovenia, went out quickly, nabbing the sprint lap win. Amazingly, she went on to take the female first place win for $10,000 and 4th overall with an astounding 90 miles in 23 hours, 47 minutes. It’s worth noting that no female has taken both the sprint lap and the win at a World’s Toughest Mudder before.
Canadian Allison Tai, who dominated several of the Toughest Mudder races this past year and logged the most miles throughout the race season, placed second female, seventh overall, with 85 miles. Tai ran her last loop averaging a 11:57 minute mile, suggesting she was eager to close the gap on Kolbl. Third-place went to Australian favorite and former World’s Toughest Mudder Champion, Deanna Blegg with 80 miles. Blegg made an outstanding comeback following her battle with breast cancer in recent years. Fourth-place Ulrikke Evensen, just 22 years old, completed 80 miles, just 8 minutes back of Blegg. Fifth-place went to Michelle Ford, 35 minutes behind Evensen.
Several expected podium placers had rougher than expected times on course. 6th place Lindsay Webster suffered foot issues throughout, slowing her race down considerably as she was forced to walk from obstacle to obstacle, while 2016 WTM Champion Stefanie Bishop completed 40 miles and dropped early in the night due to injury. Morgan McKay was also forced to end her race early following an injury.
Michael Schjutt went out fast and lead the men for the first few hours of the race with Robert Killian and Ryan Atkins staying close behind. By mile 40, roughly 7 hours into the race, Ryan Atkins was back in the lead and gunning for the 110 mile–which meant a $50,000 bonus on top of the $10,000 first place. Staying consistent throughout, Atkins finished all 110 miles in 23 hours, 57 minutes, a full loop ahead of second-place Robert Killian and two loops ahead of WTM’s 2016 Champion,Trevor Cichosz. But Killian’s mental grit is nothing if not spectacular: after finishing 100 miles with a firm lock on second place, her still decided to go for 105 for no other reason than to himself mentally and physically to new limits just to see if he could. And he did, finishing that final lap before the finish line closed at 1:30PM.
Padding the podium with the top 3 men is fourth-place man went to TMHQ staffer, Christopher Maltbie with 90 miles and Michael Schjutt, who was in the top position at the beginning of the race, dropped back to fifth-place, but managed to completed 90 miles.
The team category stayed fairly tight for much of the race, with Team Fitone Gettingtough taking home the Team title with 85 miles in 24 hours, 57 minutes. Second-place Team Merrell finished 80 miles in 23 hours, 35 minutes, with third-place going to Team The Book of Job completing 70 miles.
National Team Relay
WTM added a new category to the already competitive solo and team categories with the National Team Relay. In this format, teams of four (or more) are required to run their first and last laps together; at all other times, at least 50% of the team must be active on course.
The United States took the win, with United States 7 (names?) and United States 8 (names?) placing first and second respectively with 120 miles. Third-place went to Germany 1 (Heiko Falchenbach, Rene Meyer, Hans Hoeverman, and Malte Hippe), who finished with 110 miles to their team name.
For full results, click here.
Relive The Magic
In addition to the strong race, World’s Toughest was broadcast live to an unprecedented number of viewers through its 14 hours of live coverage. To relive the magic of WTM 2017, re-watch the 3-unique shows put on on Facebook Live Below. Or tune-in to CBS for coverage of World’s Toughest Mudder airing on December 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm ET to watch all the action in a 1 hour special.