We have come down to the final week before the Tough Mudder Pennsylvania. As we grow nearer, I’m sure many of you are concerned about what to wear, when to show up, or even how to handle the course in general. My team and I have now been to the past three events; Tri-State, Austin, and Atlanta. If you are participating in an upcoming Mudder and would like some day-of tips, read on.
When to Arrive
Parking can get pretty tricky. A lot of these events are off the beaten path a few miles down a single lane road. Of course this means traffic. These events bring in 5000-7000 participants each day. Also consider these participants also bring spectators. They have attendants directing traffic, so this speeds things up a little. In Atlanta, we they charged $10 for parking. There was no advanced notice of this and parking at Tri-State and Austin were free, so come prepared. I suggest allowing about an hour to an hour and a half before your start time. It will take about 10 minutes to walk to the check-in area.
You should have gotten an email with a “Death Waiver” that you are suggested to fill out and bring with you in order to save time. They have a table, off to the side, with tablets full of these waivers. I am not suggesting you ignore the waiver. However, I opt to save paper by simply signing this at the event. Estimated time: 2 minutes
You will then need to take this waiver, and your ID, and go to your respective check-in line. They are split up alphabetically by last name. Here, you will receive your runner ID, 4 safety pins, and your bracelet for your free beer(!). At this point, they will direct you to a new line to join. This is the marker line. It is usually backed up a ways, and can take up to 15 minutes just to get through. The sole purpose of this line is to have someone take a marker and use it to write your runner ID number on your leg, arm, and forhead. That is it. Save time, bring a marker. Or better yet, do what we do and walk up to the front table and grab an unused marker. And don’t be selfish. When you are done, hand it off to your fellow comrade, preferably someone towards the back of the line. Note that the reason you need these numbers is so that the photographers can identify you in their pictures.
This is the point in which you want to check bags. Checking bags is free. They will give you a wrist band so that you can come bag and claim your stuff. We had them hold three bags and two sweatshirts for us. This is by no means a one time check in either. We were able to go back and grab something we had forgotten before the race with no issue. That’s it, you are now ready to race. All you have to do at this point is show up to the start line about 10-15 minutes before your start time.
Other Pre-Start Tips
There is no breakfast food before the race. Other events provide oranges, bananas, bagels, etc before the race. This is not one of those events. They will have beer, soda, and food for sale after the event, but nothing you want to eat beforehand.
The check-in and start lines are a bit of a hike from the parking lot. Don’t plan on returning until after the race. We made this mistake at Tri-State.
If you are running late, Don’t Panic. Tough Mudder does not have a way of separating times, nor do they bother. In Atlanta, we realized that the camera memory card was full right at the start line. We turned around and went right back to bag check to fix the problem and simply started in the next event. I am not suggesting that you abuse this. I am simply suggesting that keep this in mind as you are sitting in traffic, 15 minutes before your start time.
Leave your change of clothes at the car. They had a hose at Tri-State right at this finish. Austin had nothing. And Atlanta had a hose tucked away behind first aid. Regardless, the lot is usually pretty empty of people and we were able to change right at are cars with no issue. You can always walk back to get food and drinks and souvenirs.
That is all for this post. Keep an eye out for follow up posts for what to wear and tips and tricks for the course (which will include first-person video). And if you have any requests or questions, please leave them below in the comment section. We look forward to seeing you guys on the course!
Update! Read Part 2, What to Wear