Tough Mudder came to Central Texas on May 3-4th 2014 at Apache Pass in Rockdale, TX. I covered Team "Will WOD for Beer" from start to finish. These guys are a team from Fort Hood who had just returned home from a deployment - I was incredibly proud to tell my fellow spectators that I was "with" them. Photographing a Tough Mudder team was more fun than I ever imagined it would be. There's all this build up and anxiety at the start followed by MY anxiety while waiting for them at the obstacles. You get to be RIGHT THERE while they are pouring every bit of themselves into these obstacles and it feels almost wrong that you are on dry land just standing still while they are waist deep in mud pushing a stranger over a wall of slick, Texas clay.
From the photographer side of this, I traveled light with a 55-250mm and a 35mm (crop sensor camera) with extra batteries and SD cards. I set a custom white balance at the beginning of the day and adjusted manual settings for each obstacle (drastically different lighting conditions in Texas depending on if you are in the shade or in an open field.) From the spectator side of this, I traveled with a 3 liter CamelBak day pack (that I refilled at one point) and wore workout clothes, good tennis shoes, and hat/sunglasses (I was actually dirtier than my team at the end of the day, you'll get splashed at the obstacles but the participants are all going to shower/change clothes.) I brought along sun screen and I wished I'd brought along bug spray and snacks. The course is clearly laid out... for the participants... but is difficult to navigate with the provided course map. I made some instant friends while chasing my team trying to figure out where the map was trying to tell us we should be next. It was easier than I expected to keep up with my team and I rather enjoyed the wait times getting to see all these total strangers pouring their souls into this. We started at 9:40am and didn't finish until nearly 3:00pm - that's a long time for the Tough Mudder, but these Soldiers just couldn't leave someone behind - they'd get stuck for almost an hour just helping people over an obstacle.
Kiss of Mud (learn more here):
Mud Mile (learn more here):
Pyramid Scheme (learn more here):
Balls to the Wall (learn more here):
Ha Ha Ditch:
Arctic Enema (learn more here):
Family Feud (learn more here):
Electroshock Therapy (learn more here):