Monday, May 3, 2010

Tough Mudder Bear Creek Event Report - Part Three - How It Was Organized

When you gather 5,000 people plus spectators at one location and try to organize them into a safe, hassle-free, customer-comes-first atmosphere there's bound to be issues, right? Not with the Tough Mudder folks. I truly don't know how they did it, but they had every single last detail covered to the maximum. From the moment we approached the entrance and sat in a back-up of cars to get into the facility, to each and every obstacle, trash can, cold water, snow in May on a 90 degree day, and hundreds of volunteers; Tough Mudder covered every base without flaw. They found my blog when I was training, and asked that I contact them and do a profile for their website. What that got me, Kera and Rick was the royal treatment as we approached the venue. We stopped and asked about VIP parking and mentioned the password, and security immediately waved us through and radioed other security that the White Chevy Venture Van is on its way. Wow. We drove past hundreds of cars to a reserved spot that couldn't get any closer to the main lodge. 28 spotless porta-potties were lined up - absolutely no wait there. Registration was incredibly organized. Chris Leigh (I think that's his name), the organizer of the Got-the-Nerve Triathlon at Mt Gretna, greeted every person as they walked through the door and directed them to registration. It was alphabetical by last name in maybe a dozen sections and they had three volunteers at each station. Very little wait. You then moved onto the t-shirt area which had about 10 or more volunteers; again, no wait. And then they had maybe two dozen girls standing around writing your number on your forehead. We spent maybe 15 minutes in registration. The race start was grouped into 500 every 15 minutes. There was music, water, the Tough Mudder "chant," "I SAY TOUGH, YOU SAY MUDDER... TOUGH... MUDDER... TOUGH....MUDDER" and fireworks. We also took the Tough Mudder oath which mainly was no whining and help each other. At one point Kera mentioned something and a staff person heard her and said "what??? no whining!" Speaking of Tough Mudder staff and volunteers - there were hundreds and hundreds. Where there was one, there were three, four, or five. They had dozens in the water, by the mud, in the woods, on the hills, at food stands, cleaning up trash, announcing, and parking folks. They were everywhere - always watching for the safety and comfort of the participants. And because it was hot, they went the extra mile and had extra water and varied locations. With 5,000 people, I anticipated waits at the obstacles, but we waited very little. There was a 5-minute wait at the planks but it moved really fast 'cause it was fun watching people jump in the water. And there was a 1/2 hr wait for the water slide but due to technical difficulties, they shut it down. They had several fire trucks not only controlling the hay-bale burn which we ran through, but hosing folks off when they were finished getting muddy. There were dozens of volunteers tapping and serving beer and dozens and dozens of photographers at all parts of the course taking thousands of pictures. There was a live band which was awesome, food stands, more beer, a best-mullet contest and a best-costume contest. They were giving mullet haircuts and tattoos if you so desired. Didn't want to wait for a tattoo? They were giving out vouchers to get a free one at a later date. (It was just a black tattoo of the mudder logo - $20 bucks more for orange flames). There wasn't a detail missed. The only very minor "flaw" was they ran out of t-shirts, which they said send an e-mail and they'll send you your shirt when they get more. Hat's off to the Tough Mudder folks. You guys know how to put on a party!


DailySAHM said...

I had a blast! Who would think we would be saying that about 7 miles up and down a ski slope in 90 degree heat? Our team was awesome. Ricky was the best photographer. We are so doing this again!

Tony said...

This will probably be the last tough mudder before they get shut down they were 2 students that stole the whole concept from the UK Tough Guy, they even went to the other event and said they wanted to help with marketing and stole photos and put them on the Tough Mudder site they are now in a lawsuit and will probably get shut down shame the states needs something like this.

Web said...

Tony, that's complete bull. You clearly work for a competitor, and you have got to grow up. There is no way Tough Mudder is going to get shut down! They raise tons of money for a great cause and put on an awesome event. (Also, since I did the Tri-State event and no what day it was, I find it pretty interesting that you posted on the day of their event.)