(2-4 min read)
CHARLTON, MA – Electric wires, ice bath submersions, and lots of mud are quite typical of the average Tough Mudder event. However, when Tough Mudder made its New England stop at the same venue as last year, the Tougher Mudder (timed, elite race) competitors had an additional obstacle across the 8-mile course at 508 International.
Approximately 5 miles into the course, competitors were racing through the Charlton woods, zigging and zagging between trees, trying to maintain their footing across the uneven terrain when they approached a man blocking their path with a no trespassing sign. The man, claiming to be the owner of the private property, did not seem to appreciate the competitors running on his land.
When current leader Adam Ribiero arrived at the scene, he encountered the man and began explaining that he was amidst a competitive race, but the man was standing his ground. Shortly after, second place Chris Ferland and OCRM representative Billy Felmer arrived. Felmer later pleaded with the man to allow the top competitors through and they would alert Tough Mudder about the issue, which eventually was agreed upon as Ribiero and Ferland continued.
However, the man did not leave. At this point in the course Tough Mudder 5K participants were mixed in with Tougher Mudder and Tough Mudder Classic runners.
I was also taking part in the Tougher Mudder event and I recall running through the woods and noticing a 5K competitor traveling in the opposite direction and he said “there’s a chain up ahead,” not thinking anything of it, I kept going, assuming the 5K may have looped in the opposite direction of my race for some reason. However, when I arrived (approximately 3-4 minutes after the leaders) the man was still there, holding up a few 5K participants and the Tougher competitor ahead of me. However, it wasn’t long before I thought “catch me if you can” and ran past him to continue with my race. The competitor behind me at the time said
“Sir, we paid a lot of money to compete in this event, you’ll have to take it up with Tough Mudder Headquarters.”
While its unknown how many people were affected or how long the delay lasted, the additional obstacle shook up the podium at the event. At this point in the race the third-place competitor Patrick Beaulieu was detoured by the obstruction and therefore his final time was entered manually to account for the delay, which boosted him past Ferland and into second place, and only .7 seconds behind first place Ribiero. According to Ribiero, Beaulieu was already finished when he crossed the tape.
“Patrick [Beaulieu] was manually added because of the detour he had to take from the course obstruction. He somehow was already finished when I crossed the line,” said Ribiero.
Later in the day, it was revealed by Tough Mudder that the man that claimed to have his property intruded on was not actually guarding his property at all. In fact, he has been known to cause issues in the past, according to Tough Mudder CEO Kyle McLaughlin. McLaughlin later elaborated in the comments on the video of OCRM’s Facebook page:
“The course was entirely on 508 property. This neighbor was apparently known by local police to cause issues, an attempted to block property that wasn’t his. The police resolved the matter peacefully. Apologies to any of the Tougher participants that got caught up with this extra obstacle,” commented McLaughlin.
While this was a unique new obstacle for even the veteran competitors, it seems as though the rest of the event weekend went smoothly. The issue now falls into Spartan’s hands as they have a super and sprint coming up on August 10th and 11th. It remains to be seen if this will affect their course design and what this means for 508 International as a potential venue for the 2020 race season. We’ve attempted to reach 508 International but have not received a response, follow for updates as the story develops.