The Adrenalist

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Making Mountains with Tough Mudder



As we gear up for another Tough Mudder in Tampa, Florida this weekend, we thought it’d be a good idea to see what our competitors are up against. So, we reached out to Obstacle Construction Manager, David Policelli for some answers. Here’s what he had to see about the most famous challenge on the course – Mount Everest.

Adrenalist: What went into design?

David Policelli: We wanted to make something that would make you gasp when you looked at it and thought about running up. And so our goal was to create something that just really demanded team work.

In the nature of our business, we’re always trying to make things better.  After looking at early sketches, I thought an ellipse would be better because it’s deceiving – it increases slope as you go.

We eventually played around with the height until we’d created a difficult, yet not impossible obstacle.

Adrenalist: How has it been received by the Mudders?

David Policelli: In general they really do like it. It one of those, where even if you fail it’s still kind of fun. You try it, and you slide back down. It’s one obstacle where you hear a lot of cheering and encouragement. It’s also one that will really demand teamwork.

For most of our participants, we do have the top ten percent who can do it with no help whatsoever.  And then there’s a bottom ten percent that couldn’t get over it on a good day, let alone after having run 6 or 8 miles.

Adrenalist: Is the wall generally in the same space on the course?

David Policelli: There are usually several factors that go into deciding where we place our obstacles. Usually we have several places where we can put this. In Florida, it’s just adjacent to the post-party area, not 200 yards from where the finish line is.

What are some of the other most popular, or unpopular, obstacles on the course?

It’s pretty undeniable that the biggest crowd pleasers are Chernobyl Jacuzzi and ElectroShock. Chernobyl is a fairly easy concept. We always try to make sure it’s flawless in terms of how we install and maintain in. With Electro-Shock it’s a bit more subjective to the natural elements.

Over all we try to include elements of challenge, of fun, and obviously safety. That’s the triangle we shoot for. You can go to any of those corners, but you’ll be completely away from the other two.

Adrenalist: Any plans for more obstacles next year?

David Policelli: At this point we have 20 obstacles that we have logistics on we’re planning for 2012.

BONUS: Here’s a Japanese television show that recently visited Mount Everest. We’re not really sure what’s going on, but think it accurately captures the intensity. Skip to about 30 miutes for the section on the wall.

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