Picture from Tough Mudder Facebook page
Over the past 24 hours or so Junyong Pak has run 95 miles (152km) to finish 19 laps of the 5 mile World’s Toughest Mudder obstacle course in a time of 24:14:09. A knowing, steady pace during the earlier hours of the event, some pacing and camaraderie shared with eventual 3rd place getter, Olaf Dallner, and a kick over the latter parts of the course, was an amazing feat of endurance by the two time World’s Toughest Mudder winner. This year Pak’s abilities netted him a still astounding 2nd, but he was very clearly out endured by Canadian Ryan Atkins, who ran a total of 20 laps, completing 100 miles in a time of 23:02:41, and had time to start another lap if he wanted.
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Atkins took the lead during lap 8, at around 40 miles (64 kilometres), after the leader up to that point, Knut Hoehler of Germany, was forced out of the race with an ankle injury. Atkins then ran 12 laps in front of the race, extending his lead to two laps in front of a chasing Pak and holding it there until Atkins decided to stop at 100 miles (160km), with 20 laps behind him. It was dominance by Atkins, plain and simple, and we can only commiserate with Knut Hoehler and what might have been.
Olaf Dallner paired with or raced near Pak for much of the middle sections of the race as the two scorched through the field through the night. Another incredible performance, Dallner finished in 3rd, after 95 miles and almost 25 hours later.
First female honours go to the indomitable Australian, Deanna Blegg, who dominated the women’s field staying in the clear lead for the entire race. Blegg dominated much of the men’s field too, finishing 6th overall. After finishing second last year behind Amelia Boone (injured for 2013), and despite the new course format, Blegg had full measure of the race, making enormous gains through the night when the faster pace adopted by other competitors took its toll. From sunset onwards she climbed the leader board, at first rapidly, but easing as the field thinned near the top. Her ascension came to rest comfortably in the top ten, with Blegg nestled in at 6th place overall after covering 85 miles (136km), or 17 laps, in a time of just under 25 hours.
Matthew Hanson, US, was 4th overall after powering through the field late in the piece. Another starter who knew that appropriate pacing would see them find a well placed position come sunrise and beyond, we watched as Hanson’s progress through the ranks simply did not stop until he butted up behind Olaf Dandell.
Darren Clarke is the second of three Australians in the top 10 at 5th overall. Clarke is a newcomer to World’s Toughest Mudder, but brings the same breadth and depth of experience as Blegg, coming from an adventure racing background just as she does. Known for his unstoppable, diesel engine-like fitness, the only unknown was that the obstacle racing world had not witnesses him race yet. Notably, Clarke is also 1st in the 45-49 age bracket.
Australia’s third top ten finisher, Tim Kacprzak, was a DNF in the 2012 event, after he stopped at a med tent and could not bring himself to continue into the night. This year he more than redeemed any demons he carried from that day, and has brought an mammoth smile to a small, committed legion of fans back home in Australia who watched his progress through the night. 8th overall and 16 laps completed, Kacprzak completed 80 miles (126 km) in a time of 23:25:24.
The teams race was won by 3AM Waterfalls, who took the lead at around the 64 mile mark, going on to complete the team victory after completing 16 laps, which equates to 80 miles of travel and close to 25 hours to complete.
Special mention goes to all the Australians out on course. All their journeys were watched avidly by obstacle enthusiasts back home and the stories to come out of the event are too many to tell. From the unknown 19 year old Sydney man, Timothy Oliver, and his hours spent in the top ten and over 50 miles finished before fading down the placings, to Melbourne’s Luke Atkins’ steady rhythm which has slung him up the leader board late in the race to place him at an unconfirmed 14th. Many of the Australian’s names were unknown to the obstacle racing community who followed the race as it unfolded, but not anymore. Australia continues to show itself to be a hotbed of that unique mix of positive spirit and ability to endure that extreme endurance obstacle racing requires and the future looks as muddy anything, in the best of ways.
Finally, amazing job extremely well done to all World’s Toughest Mudder competitors. What you have achieved is both awesome and inspiring.
We hope you have enjoyed Obstacle Racing’s coverage of World’s Toughest Mudder 2013. We know we have!
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