Tough Mudder Half: LDN North or West?

Strong finish! #mudderwoman team

I did it again!

First time I experiensed Tough Mudder was a few month ago. It was the London West event.

We had so much fun tackling the obstacles and enjoying the festival feeling afterwards, that we all wanted to do it again. With another event close to London, I also had the chance to. My initial team couldn’t make the dates so I teamed up with my flatmate Ramona. With just the two of us, I contacted my fitness blogger friend Elle who was doing the same event with her friends. Together we were 6 women ready to face the muddy challenge.

Tough Mudder Half are 5 miles with 13 obstacles. It is key to help each other over each obstacle while the time doesn’t matter.

Race kit

What do I need for Tough Mudder?

My cloth are all fitness breathable and quick dry fabrics. The most important item are my shoes with grip. When I jump into a water obstacle I’m confident that my cloth are able to dry faster and I don’t worry to slip and fall as my shoes will give me the grip I need on any muddy surface.

The night before I packed my bag including:

  • set of cloth to change incl. underwear and socks (easy to forget)
  • pair of flip flops as it was so hot
  • towel (I like the thin microfibre ones)
  • baby wipes to clean your face and body
  • a plastic back for the dirty cloth (otherwise your bag is muddy and wet)
  • drinks and snacks
  • sunscreen

How did I train for it?

  • Regular exercising in the gym. Total body conditioning classes.
  • Easy warm up runs and few 5km (1x to work , 1x park run)

We took a train from London to Hemel Hempstead and shared a Taxi to the event farm. It was 10am in the morning and the sun was hot as when you are on holiday in Spain. Very well prepared there were water tanks for everyone to use. As a final prep, I added a bit of glamour to our team!

Glitter combat stripes!


Running on trail was something I was looking forward to. The outdoors just makes me happy. Tough Mudder always starts with a organised warm up and some general health and safety rules. One I really like was  “The X”. Whenever someone is not feeling well and needs medical help, you do the following: Cross your arms above your head.  As soon as you see someone with “X”, you immediately do the same. From one “X” a chain of “XXXXXX” will seek attention and get help to the person much quicker.

Official Course Map

Easy jog to the first obstacle and it was “Kiss of Mud”. Getting down flat on our belly and crawling trough muddy ground. Head and bum needs to stay down otherwise you get stuck in the wire above. We were giggling, all of a sudden I heard a scream! “Aaah, a worm!  I looked behind me where teammate Elle spotted a worm. Dramatically waving his body out of the soil. Begging for his live… He survived, just! And Elle made it trough. We were all laughing again. That was fun! Unfortunately there was no photographer around. Sorry no muddy pics.

Obstacle called Hydrophobia

Included in the mix of obstacles there were challenges like caring a log together, carry one teammate on your back and climbing or running up high walls. One highlight where the picture above was taken, is called “Hydrophobia”. It’s a construction filled with water with the challenge to dive underneath the black floating tube. There were 3 of them and the last one we all hold our hands and dived together.

Pyramid Scheme 2.0

The last obstacle is Pyramid Scheme 2.o. You jump into the water and obviously it doesn’t matter how much grip your shoes have, you will slip if you try climbing up facing forwards. THe righ way to manage this obstacle is:

  • One team member lay their back against the wall.
  • 2nd person step on the thighs and step up to the shoulder to reach the wooden part in the middle.
  • If you are lucky someone is already in the middle and grab your hand to pull you up.
  • From the middle you either jump to reach the top or if you are small like me hope someone will lean forward and pulls you up.

Looking town to pull the next team member up.

Which Tough Mudder Half was more challenging?

When I look at my training, I had a good general fitness for both events. For the one in West London I trained more upper body, but realise as there were no Monkey Bars, my general fitness would have been enough. So for London North I just kept on exercising in the gym with no special focus on particular body areas. In terms of my running, I managed to increase the small runs and added them as regular warm up training. I planned to run more but you are only as fast as the weakest team member. As a result I felt stronger legs but my team took roughly the same amount of time compared to the event in May.

On the event day I felt more challenged by… at  …

  • Obstacles: WEST

The obstacles varies at each event. At West it was more challenging due to “The Block Ness Monster” and “Shawshanked”. These were water obstacles. I love water and I’m a good swimmer but I don’t like to jump into dirty water. Sounds silly but I guess it was a mental challenge for me.

  • Running: WEST

The distance was the same but London West had serious hills! One challenge was up and down the hill called “Killa Gorilla”. That was most tiring especially in the heat. London North was kind of flat and fun.

  • Curse and Surroundings: WEST

The course in West London was more challenging because of the hills. On the same time very beautiful outdoors with a mix of forest, hill and natural obstacles. For example the “Mud Mile” was actually made out of mud mounds and waist deep mud pits. 

  • The Mud Factor: WEST 

I call it the Mud-factor to indicate where I had a more muddy experience. London North only had one muddy obstacle in the beginning called “Kiss of Mud”.  It was disappointing as my team wanted to get some mud on though out the event. So definitely West is more muddy. What would you prefer?

Overall Result: London WEST was more challenging

However both events are so much fun! During and after the race.

The obstacles in both Tough Mudder Half were manageable with a good general fitness (able to pull yourself up and leg over, help friends to push up).

If you are not very strong in running or you hate it, I suggest try North as it’s mainly flat.

Any detailed question , just leave a comment below. Thanks.

Elle and Sabine

Big smile! We finished! Elle earned her “Repeat Deffender Headband” because she did already Tough Mudder 5km. I’m so jealous! You only earn it if you done 2 different distances within a season. I’ve done the Half event 2x but that doesn’t count :-(. I want that headband!

You know what that means! This wasn’t my last TM and my next one will be another distance!

Tough Mudder Full?!?

I better start training. Who is in?

Fancy a Tough Mudder Half in 2018 in U.K.?

Try it with 25% off using code SABINE25


Sabine xx

FINISHER Headband and T-shirt (back print view)

This post was in cooperation with Tough Mudder UK. Text and opinion are my own.

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