In November of last year Jim Delorie messaged me to say he wanted to race in the World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour obstacle race held in Dallas towards the end of 2023. I have worked with Jim for years where his focus has been competitively racing Spartan Races, but this would be stepping into a totally different realm.
12 months of training and planning later and we were in a rental car after filling up on tacos, on our way to preview the course with less than 24 hours to go until the race start. I have coached and crewed athletes of all levels and distances and while I have coached Jim for over 7 years, this would be my first time actually at an OCR race.
Each endurance community has different elements that define their culture, but from my experience the core tenets remain the same. The World’s Toughest Mudder offered me the chance to see what defines the OCR community firsthand. I was able to get out on course between crewing and see how the athletes supported each other when help was needed to clear an obstacle. We were also fortunate to be grouped with some amazing athletes and their crews which really helped make this race so successful for Jim. The athletes we were grouped with fed off each other’s energy while they shared miles together out on course and encouraged each other back at the crew tent along the start/finish chute. I have crewed and paced other athletes and this was by far the most fun and supportive group I have had the chance to spend time with while we all focused on supporting our athletes as a team.
Jim’s longest race going into World’s Toughest Mudder was the 12 Hour Minneapolis Obstacle race in July, which proved to be good timing as we made adjustments from that race in training to prepare for the full 24 hours. He executed a great race at his first World’s Toughest where he finished 23rd, accumulating 75 official miles (84 miles including penalty running for failing an obstacle). After crewing for 24 hours I have a small list of things that I think would reduce his pit time down from the 4:42 he averaged during his 15 laps. Jim paced the race perfectly and used the full time he had to work with while still finishing the race looking like he still had a few more laps left in him at the finish.