At the beginning of September 2018 the first Toughest Mudder 8 hour night race took place in Germany. They called it „Berlin“, but it was definitely not Berlin. It was the middle of nowhere in former Eastern Germany, around a 2 hour drive south of Berlin.
But this did not stop around 500 brave mudders to make it there and take up the challenge of running 5 mile laps throughout the night. While most of them were newbies to this race, it was already my third one (I completed the Toughest Mudder Midlands twice before), and it served as a training for World’s Toughest Mudder in November.
The Europe’s Toughest Mudder Berlin Course
The race was held on the Lausitzring raceway. Although the course was not actually on the raceway, parts of it were on paved roads. But the majority was off road, mostly on the fields and only sometimes on trails. Running on the fields made it definitely a challenge not to roll an ankle and get injured, especially in the dark.
The course was pretty flat. There was one short uphill, on short downhill, some stairs, and that was it. Berlin is known for the flattest Marathon and now probably also for the flattest Toughest Mudder ever.
The Europe’s Toughest Mudder Berlin Obstacles
Because the course was flat and runable, TMHQ (Tough Mudder Head Quarters) had to step up the obstacle game to challenge the participants. Unlike the previous Toughest Mudders the first hour (aka the sprint lap) was not completely obstacle free. They started opening the first obstacles already before the first hour was over. There was even a obstacle consiting of 4 tubes that you had to cross to get from the pit area to the start line.
Also the other ones opened up quite quickly compared to the previous events. And unlike the Toughest Mudder Europe Midlands they stayed open the entire time. Yes, even Electroshock Therapy and Arctic Enema stayed open, definitely waking you up in the middle of the night.
At around 5a.m. TMHQ switched some of the obstacles to their harder versions: Everest to Everest 2.0, Kong to Kong Infinity, Berlin Walls to T-Boned and Arctic Enema got some extra packs of ice.. And at the same time it started raining heavily, which made the grip strength based obstacles even harder to complete.
Speaking with several other participants, we agreed that the absolute nemesis obstacles was Berlin Walls. I usually have no problems at all with 10 feet walls, but this one was a different kind of animal. It seemed way higher that 3 meters, and also thicker and harder to grip than usual. The fact that it was wet and slippery definitely made it even harder.
Europe’s Thoughest Mudder event village and set up
Because the regular Tough Mudder events were hosted the same weekend, the event village was the same. The good news was that the shop and a food stall were open all night. Which meand a steady supply of coffee and crepes for the pit crew. There were also microwaves in the pit area, which turned out to be very useful.
However the parking situation was a bit confusing. Even with premium parking you had to walk for nearly 1 km to get to the race village, with the camping area being nearly next to it. It would have been great for all the Toughest Mudder participants to be allowed to park on the camping grounds. Those of us that did had a way shorter walk back after running for 8 hours.
Europe’s Toughest Mudder Berlin Results
As the two winners of the previous Europe’s Toughest Mudder Midlands, Tristan Steed and Ulrikke Evensen, were also competing, they were expected to win the race. However, several racers from the USA traveled across the pond, including Allison Tai and recent 215 mile Ultramarathon finisher Trevor Cichosz. Including the other strong competitors from all over Europe we were expecting an interesting race.
The race for the females was decided fairly quickly however. Ulrikke Evensen had to finish after 3 laps due to a tibia injury. Consequently Allsion Tai won the race with 40 miles, followed by Heidi Thieme and Adriane Alovord also with 40 Miles.
On the men’s side Tristan Steed dominated the race, with Christopher von Stelzer and Chris Lemke battleing it out for the runner up. In the end, all three of them ran 50 miles, with Tristan Steed in first, Christopher von Stelzer in second and Chris Lemke in third place.
My own performance
Before the event, I set my own personal goal to 6 laps or 30 miles. I hoped it would be a flat and fast course. And I hoped the obstacles would not be too hard, and that the weather would be dry.
At my second lap I came to one of the first open obstacles. A volunteer yelled at me: you are the 6 th female. This was quite surprising, but I did not put a lot of relevance to it. Especially not, since I had to take a longer pit stop after my second lap to treat a nasty blister.
On my third lap however I passed Ulrikke Evensen, who was injured. This also meant that one of the top female competitors was out. And yes, after my fourth lap I was in fifth place, which I then wanted to keep as it meant Elite Contender status for WTM. After my fifth and penultimate lap I took a quick pit stop. Someone told me that the forth female Nadine Wendt was only 5 minutes in front of me, and that I could try and catch her. To my own surprise I found some more energy in my tank and passed her on Arctic Enema. In the end I finished my final lap 3 minutes ahead of her. And as she did not want to go out for another lap, I also did not.
I was really happy with my 4th place finish. I might have gotten another lap, if I had pushed really really hard. But with Berlin Marathon round the corner it was not worth the risk. And hey, 400€ prize money and Contender Status is still the best OCR result I ever achieved.
Overall review of Europe’s Toughest Mudder Berlin
The first Toughest Mudder Event in Germany was definitely a success. This is based on highly subjective opinions of participants I talked to (with around most of them being new to this event format), as well as my own perception as a 4th place finisher.
Overal review: 5 stars.