Competitors from over 37 countries traveled from near and far to get muddied up in Bali last weekend for the extreme obstacle course, Tough Mudder.
Designed by British special forces (so you know it’s intense), the challenge has been well received in North America, Europe, and Australia, but Oct. 1 in Jimbaran made for the event’s very first entrance into Asia.
The course, which took around 50 people over three weeks to build (and an estimated two weeks to break down) was set up in the cliffy, rugged site of Jimbaran Hijau, just down the road from Tegal Wangi Beach and Ayana Hotel, in the Bukit part of Jimbaran.
“When the opportunity arose to hold Tough Mudder in the Jimbaran area we knew we had to make it happen. The stunning beaches, breathtaking cliff faces and leafy tropical forests will make this truly one of the most spectacular Tough Mudders we have ever held,” Will Dean, CEO of Tough Mudder said on the Bali site selection.
The breakdown of participants in the Bali Tough Mudder came out to 1500 people consisting of 55 percent male/35 percent female, with most in their late 20s, early 30s.
A number of participants said they flew to Bali to make a special trip just for the event, many from Jakarta, Singapore, and Australia.
Tough Mudder is a group-based challenge. You go through the obstacles as a team and teammates help each other from start to finish. Over 100 teams competed in Bali, with the average team size of about five to ten people.
Given the nature of such an extreme event, of course there were injuries. We saw a number of ambulances on standby, as well as several first aid tents, going through the course ourselves. “The total number of injuries were consistent with TM standards globally, the most serious injury was a sprained ankle, the most common injuries were cramps,” Jessica Patty, a member of the Tough Mudder Indonesia team told Coconuts Bali in an email.
The course, typically 16-19 kilometers, is not timed and participants are not ranked by winner or loser. That said, most teams in Bali finished in about three hours and it turns out organizers ended up having to shorten the course when it was all said in done, in Jimbaran.
“Several mitigating factors such as extreme heat, humidity and rain were among several factors that our team was prepared to shorten various parts of the original course distance for,” Patty said.
This course shortening did not go unnoticed by participants and perhaps was one of the biggest disappointments.
“It was an unforgettable experience but not everything was as expected. The obstacles seemed much smaller and easier than on the videos. In the end we were surprised to know that some parts of the trail and the sea-view stop were actually obstacles as well,” Polish Tough Mudder participant, Anna Kwasniak, told Coconuts Bali.
“The distance was shorter than we were told from the beginning. Although I’d lie saying that I didn’t feel a slight relief seeing the finish line at the 13th kilometer, I was prepared to run for 16 kilometers,” Kwasniak said.
“Whether it’s because it was the first TM in Indonesia and they weren’t sure how many people were going to participate or there were some other issues, I have a feeling that at some points, the organizers just went easy on it.”
One of the “obstacles” in the course was apparently just a photo backdrop Tough Mudder banner on the cliff for participants to take photos at.
“I wish some obstacles were more challenging than for example that simple forest trail, or that beautiful and picturesque sea-view stop…like, hey, we all went there to sweat our asses off and fight for our lives, not for a picnic!”
Will the event come back to Bali next year? That’s not for sure yet.
“That is in large dependent on the feedback that our participants give us after this event,” Patty said.
Well good news for the organizers, even if all wasn’t as expected, people seem amped for another round next year.
“After all that, I loved it anyway and I’m already looking forward for the next year’s edition. With some slight improvements, it’s surely going to be great!” Kwasniak said.
All photos: Coconuts Bali