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Look atop any list of history’s most hair-raising jobs, and you’ll find ‘test pilot’ soaring high in the rankings. And while we’re no NASA, you might be surprised that we’ve got some modern-day test pilots of our own.
Throughout our entire off season and a great deal of our event season, the Alpha Testers of our Obstacle Innovation Lab put their daredevil reputations on the line testing our new obstacles for the very first time.
This year, these bold men are poised to become household names across Mudder Nation, so it’s best we start putting names to faces. Here is the first part of a two-part series introducing three of our six alpha testers.
Hometown: Bayville, NJ
University: University of Maryland, College Park
Tough Mudders completed: 13 Tough Mudders and 2 World’s Toughest Mudders
Most memorable Obstacle Innovation Lab moment: The first time that Cry Baby worked. Developing a thrilling, effective system that can safely be used on hundreds of thousands of participants was a trying challenge - and extremely worth it. (Accidentally forgetting a trapped Nolan inside of the first prototype of Birth Canal was a close second.)
‘2015 Obstacle of the Year’ prediction: King of the Swingers is the obvious choice - and bound to be a classic - but I’m going with Everest 2.0. It just takes an obstacle that epitomizes Tough Mudder’s personal athleticism, impressive scale, and teamwork-oriented attitude and takes it to the next level.
One tip for 2015 Mudders in training: Two words: grip strength. One of the most amazing things about Tough Mudder is that teamwork and camaraderie can help you to overcome gaps in your training, but when you’re halfway across Funky Monkey and your fingers are getting jittery, you’re on your own.
Hometown: Enumclaw, WA
University: Arizona State University
Tough Mudders completed: 10+
Most memorable Obstacle Innovation Lab moment: Probably getting stuck in the first iteration of Birth Canal-- it was a strange feeling. Also, probably seeing King of the Swingers for the first time and knowing it was going to be an awesome rope swing with some serious hang time.
‘2015 Obstacle of the Year’ prediction: I’m going with Birth Canal. I don’t think it will be everyone’s favorite obstacle, but it’ll be a unique obstacle.
One tip for 2015 Mudders in training: Expect the unexpected. This year is full of new challenges and teamwork is going to be key in 2015-- that’s all I’ll say for now.
Hometown: Westminster, CO
University: University of Colorado at Boulder
Tough Mudders completed: 31 and 1 World’s Toughest Mudder
Most memorable Obstacle Innovation Lab moment: I will never forget testing out several iterations of Cry Baby. It is not often in life that you allow someone to spray you directly in the eyes with a random spray bottle of fluid. It is even less often that you would let that happen when the person holding the bottle is wearing rubber gloves and a mask. Chris Maltbie, you are an evil person.
‘2015 Obstacle of the Year’ prediction: 2015 is shaping up to have a ton of memorable obstacles both on and off the course. This year you will see TM step up the game a lot regarding Mudder Village obstacles and features. Ring of Fire will light up many events this year and create more Facebook profile photos than any other obstacle. I get fired up just thinking about how awesome it is.
One tip for 2015 Mudders in training: Tough Mudder has always been about teamwork, and 2015 will only reinforce that fact. Get a team together and prepare to tackle physical and mental challenges that you’ve never encountered before. When you have your friends and family beside you, it will make the TM experience that much more memorable.
Stay tuned to the Tough Mudder Blog next week, as we introduce the second half of our alpha-testing team. In the meantime, hit up our revamped 2015 Tough Mudder obstacle page.