Old Bethpage, Nassau County, Long Island, NY. Tough Mudder was back on Long Island for its 3rd year with both the Full (10- 12 miles) and the Half (6 +/- miles). Old Bethpage Restoration Village lends it grounds to TM for a very local event. It has the feel of a street fair or a block party in it’s best sense that the neighborhood comes out to enjoy. Old Bethpage is a day trip destination for local events, particularly in the fall months. It has lovely paths to walk on, some hills, but it is localized in a small area. For this reason the course tends to crisscross itself quite a bit.
Tough Mudder Full is held on Saturdays while the Half is held on Sundays. Tough Mudder is known for their physically large obstacles a lot of which require team work to complete. The Half is basically their entry level course being half the distance and serves highlight of obstacles both common to a lot of OCR races and a few of the fan favorites unique to Tough Mudder.
Local races means everyone comes out. Everyone in this case included the majority of the people whom I train with. We were able to get together in a large group and have little issue joining the 9am wave. Early waves are better because of shorter lines to check-in, better parking*, less people on course and cleaner (or rather less used) Porta-Potties. There are no penalties for failing obstacles so most people come out with a sense of looking to have fun. I made my contribution with my outfit and yes it stayed on the entire time.
The wave shot off and similar to the past two year there was pretty much nothing but running for the first .5 miles or so. This probably served the purpose of spreading out the wave going into the first obstacle which is called Kiss of Mud ( aka barbed wire crawl).
The barbs aren’t sharp like in other races but annoying as all get out, especially with the hat. A huge traffic jam of people who haven’t crawled in mud since they were single digit age, took them a few minutes to remember how to revert back to childhood.
More running, it really is a beautiful place to walk/hike, an inverted wall that caused a LIE type of traffic jam. The goal is to find the person who is the most afraid and toss them over the wall then find two more. TM is really good with their water stations most of which provided some sort of nutrition. I know during my first TM I carried nothing so noobs are always in consideration. A vertical wall provided two opportunities for me:
- Photo Op
- Googles – I found a pair of functional swimming goggles in front of the wall and incorporated it into my outfit and utilized them later. ( I did ask around so as not to steal.)
More running, a few more obstacles into a favorite of mine “Blockness Monster”. This is a muddy water pit that is about 5 feet deep. There are two blocks in the water that can be rotated so flip them, grab an edge and ride it over. The challenge is that they are HEAVY. At least 4 people have to rotate the block and one person can take the ride so if you want to get a pump to be jacked for the pics, this is where.
After this a few more staples like Mud Mile (no not an actual mile of mud), Pyramid Scheme, and Everest 2.0. Signature TM obstacles. And as we started ,we finished, as a team.
I run races for best time, best effort which means I am usually the only person I know at any given part of the course. My race, my pace. TM Long Island is not a race but it’s an event that has a special place in my heart. This is definitely not because of the venue- it’s flat, horrible parking, cramped and overcrowded but because it is home and I have run with friends each year (I would post a finishing pic of my team but I didn’t get permissions.) In short, I look forward to this not for what it is but for who I’m with. If you are local and want something different and fun, this is perfect for you. If you want more of a challenge, maybe not so much but this is a chance as a veteran to lead a squad of noobs to do something they may have wanted to do but never had a chance or were convinced that they weren’t capable. I saw a friend during the race who’s father almost died in recent years, recovered, is currently diabetic and managing it and he crushed the course and finished, a goal he had while he was still sick. It is an honor to share the course with people like that. And that’s inspiration enough for me.
Bring friends and the rating will go up.