Tough Mudder NRW, Germany Race Recap
Last year a group from the Solomudders and I went to Tough Mudder Nord Deutschland, almost immediately after, we started organising a return to Germany to take on Tough Mudder NRW, based near Arnsberg, just an hour from Dusseldorf.
B-. Good course which could have been great was it not for the bottle necks
We were warned before hand that NRW is one of the hilliest Tough Mudder courses. And boy, they weren’t wrong! A total of 700m climb in just 17km and nothing ever felt flat.
As with all Tough Mudder courses this year, it was a two-loop 5 mile course, with the second lap with slightly different routes and some different obstacles.
The parking was just across the main road from the village, we picked premium parking and was literally a stone’s throw from the village. Although the queues looked large, it seemed to flow pretty quick and with a scan of the bar code and a couple of wrist bands we were ready to get going. Just like in the UK, we were given a 9am start time, however unlike the UK, there was no system to filter in at times, so everyone just queued outside of the warm up area and was let in every 15 for the next wave. The warm up was lasted 10 minutes (also included the health and safety) and we were ushered through to the start line in which the second MC did the pledge, talked about legionnaire colours and we were off. Again, what was different is that the warm up was so close to the start line that they weren’t done simultaneously and (in my opinion) slowed down the flow of people out on course. The obstacles with a vague description were:
- Feuchtgebiet (Wetland) – Muddy Pit to get us warmed up into a trail run (up hill – everything seemed to be up hill, even the down hill)
- Mud Mile – Interestingly the water was around waste deep – real muddy clay so the mounds were softer on the knee whilst there were also ledges just underneath the water on both sides of the mounds just to make it that bit easier over them
- Heidi’s Weg – THE BEST OBSTACLE and should immediately replace all Killa Gorilla in the UK. Massive uphill, followed by a muddy down hill slide
- Heuschnupfen – Straw bales
- Berlin Walls – Only minor difference here was the width of the wall, which made it more difficult to grip – I needed help to get over the wall (the muddy, slippy hands didnt help either)
- Berg & Talfahrt (Mountain and Valley) – Should have actually been called Mud Mile – was a natural valley in which you slid down into the mud at the bottom, and then climb up (killa gorrila style) and then back into the mud. This was around 500m long and the muddiest part of the course. Many people got stuck and needed a hand or two to get out of the thigh deep mud
- Kiss of Mud – barbed wire crawl with muddy trenches and hay bales to crawl over
- Hang Over aka Skid Marked – Angled walls to climb over. As with Berlin walls, the width of the wall was wider, making grip more difficult. Added to the muddy hands from Kiss of Mud. Very few people were unable to do this solo and needed team-work to scale over
- Holz vor der Hütte (Hold your wood) – Grab a log and walk / run c250m in a circle
- Beifang – Cargo net
- Schubkarre (Wheel Barrow) actually it was Hero Carry
- BlockNess – Still one of my favourites. Two large rotating blocks in shoulder high water. It takes team work to rotate the blocks to get people up and over them
- Everest – The smaller version of Everest with a hand ledge. Great for newbies and especially those doing the “Half”. Unlike the UK, the slightly taller option wasn’t added. Great fun anyway
As we went on to the full, we went for loop #2. Those choosing the half went on to Pyramid Scheme and to the finish
- Arctic Enema – Plunge into an ice bath. Skips are different here, so the water was a little shallower. Didnt make the water any warmer though!
- Due to a crossing of the loops, there was a bottle neck to crawl through tubes. This was a bad idea as those who are already cold, were not warming up from a run. We decided to skip the (pointless) tube crawl and ran on
- Heuschnupfen (Straw bales) – again
- Another run out, but got stuck in a bottle neck due to a mud pit… I have no idea why we slowed right down here….
- Kiss of Mud
- Electric Eel – A water crawl through dangling electric wires each with 10,000 volts. I never got the chance to do this in the UK so decided to take the plunge. I got zapped a few times, but fortunately no where “critical”. More fun than Electro Shock Therapy in my opinion
- Cage Crawl – Water wade on your back, facing up, using the chain fence to guide you through the 20m distance
- A long trail run through the forest and hills. This was another spot in which we got stuck in bottle necks. Some of the trail was only 2 people wide – not really enough when you are having several thousand people run the route through the day
- Funky Monkey – No water here underneath the obstacle. a few monkey bars, on to 3 wheels and then a second set of monkey bars – smashed it.
- Birth Canal / Black Hole – A crawl through a tunnel covered by a tarpaulin with water over the top to crush you down. A very tight squeeze and because of the action of the water, becomes more difficult as you near the end. Black hole is the legionnaire version in which the tunnel is pitch black
- Kong / Kong Infinity – a huge queue for this obstacle, so we decided to play on Kong (5 swinging rings) rather than Kong Infinity.
- Pyramid Scheme – I think this was the old version with no lip in the middle which makes it more difficult. You need 2 people on shoulders to allow a third to the top to be pulled up from the top by people hanging over. You need to be organised to get your team to the top
I would give this a B-. A lot of great things going for it, but a few small niggly things let the course down from it being a great course. I loved the course – the elevation is tricky and route through the woods is really pretty. But there were some questionable obstacle placements and route direction which led to bottle necks, queuing and waiting. It was fantastic to see Electric Eel, but I dont think you can beat this or EST to be at the end for a spectator obstacle.
Great to have a choice of an alcohol free beer at the end along with a “pick up” chocolate biscuit.
Unfortunately we had to run off for dinner so we weren’t able to catch the whole atmosphere at NRW. Great fun and would go again. If you’re interested in our Itinerary, see further down below the course map.
- Fly into Dusseldorf Airport Friday (Essen and Dortmund are also options for Tough Mudder NRW)
- Stayed in an AirBNB near Warstein (about 30 minutes from Arnsberg – TMNRW and 90 minutes from Dusseldorf Airport)
- Tough Mudder NRW Saturday morning, (only 25km away) and then a visit to the Warsteiner Brewery in the afternoon (very recommended)
- Sunday – Travelled to Dortmund (1 hour) for some sightseeing before going on to the airport (30 minutes) to catch our flight
Discount Code for Tough Mudder UK races
As a Tough Mudder Ambassador, I have a discount code for people wanting to try their first Tough Mudder – use the code BRANDUK272 for a 30% discount off any UK Full, Half or 5km race. This is available to UK mudders only and for their first time.
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