A ten and a half mile run interrupted by nineteen extreme obstacles designed to test your mental and physical strength, with an 1800 foot gain in elevation, mud, water, ice, logs, dust, climbing, crawling, swinging, jumping, carrying and electric shocks – this is definitely a Tough Mudder. What a great way to spend your Sunday morning, with friends, amongst the pine trees and beneath the beautiful Tahoe skies, pushing yourself and helping the people around you. (And finishing it all off with a well-earned cold beer.)
People pin on their bibs and have their bib numbers written on their foreheads, as Northstar gondola cabins above them bring more Tough Mudders up the mountain.
Alphabetical lines beneath a pine tree and blue early morning skies at the Participant Registration; Friends and family line up at the Spectator Check-In and analyise the Spectator Route Map.
Among the teams with specially printed team shirts are ‘Muddy Boobs’, having a laugh in the registration area.
A tent filled with people signing waivers.
Competitors in the 9:20 starting group head towards the start line; The tail end of the 9:00 start still kicking up dust as they head up hill.
People climb over the wooden wall required to get to the start line.
Hands in the air at the start line.
Spectators stand in the grass waiting for the start.
Happy crowds at the start line pose for photos.
The start of the Tough Mudder, as the front row of men take the first stride out.
A crowd of spectators take photos at the start line.
Spectators standing in the long grass watching the start of the Tough Mudder.
The first Tough Mudders in the 9:20 start cross the line and begin running up hill; Running up hill from the start line through the grass and kicking up dust.
Spectators watch the start of the Tough Mudder, taking photos and looking for loved ones, as the competitors run up hill and kick up a lot of dust.
Crowds running at the start, with teams wearing matching outfits.
At the start of the Tough Mudder there are crowds of people and a lot of dust as they run up hill.
A solo woman in orange runs beneath the chairlift, not long into the race and the crowds have dispersed.
A man waves to spectators as the team along the dirt track beneath the chairlift.
A man runs solo on a short downhill section past pine trees.
Groups of people walk along the dirt switchbacks on the way up the mountain; Climbing over logs at the Logjammin obstacle.
Tough Mudders complete the Logjammin obstacle as others wait for their team members at the end of it.
A solo man runs uphill near the top of the mountain, a steep ski run above him; A focused man runs uphill with a view of Lake Tahoe behind him and a few spectators lining the route.
Rocks and wildflowers in the shade as Tough Mudders appear over the hill in the sunshine.
Exhausted Tough Mudders at the top of the hill with the blue of Lake Tahoe behind them; Spectators on a chairlift through the pine trees ride to the top of the mountain to watch the event.
Spectators look for runners along the route, including kids with the Tough Pudder Pledge on the back of their t-shirts.
A man pauses for a moment before entering the Electric Eel obstacle.
A Tough Mudder hi-fives spectators along the route at the top of the mountain.
Two men scream out and grimace after getting a shock in the Electric Eel.
The muddy shoes and legs of a Tough Mudder running towards the Electric Eel.
Wet teammates with a GoPro hi-five in celebration after surviving the Electric Eel.
A friend talks to a teammate face down in the dirt after a shock from the Electric Eel; A man runs with his arms in the air, celebrating completion of the Electric Eel.
A crowd of spectators watch Tough Mudders getting shocked by the Electric Eel, many wearing t-shirts with the Tough Mudder Pledge on the back.
People try to stay as low as possible in the Electric Eel to avoid the strong electric shocks.
A wet and dripping Tough Mudder runs past the cheering spectators.
An orange team, the looks of relief to be running clear of the Electric Eel written all over their faces, with a cheering crowd beside them.
People fill up at the CamelBak water station at the top of the mountain.
Taking a water break at the top of the mountain before the Tough Mudder heads downhill.
Spectators in shorts looking clean and dry in comparison to the Tough Mudders.
A grateful team take water and bananas from the food stop at the top of the mountain; A couple in America flag shorts go effortlessly over the Berlin Walls climb.
Walking towards the Berlin Walls climb near the top of the mountain with a view of the valley below.
A trail of people running uphill in the run along the dirt track amongst the pine trees.
A wet man runs through the dust towards the Berlin Walls climb.
An orange team running along the dirt road; People help each other over the Berlin Walls.
Exhausted Tough Mudders walking uphill.
A family of spectators ride the chairlift to the top of the mountain as Tough Mudders walk along the trail below.
Walking along the dirt road across a cleared area that becomes a ski run in winter; Friends stick their heads in the Boa Contstrictor corrugated tubes to coach team members on how to get out.
Muddy people head into the corrugated tube at the Boa Constrictor obstacle.
A team wait for their slower members before the Boa Constrictor, surrounded by tall grass and pine trees; A woman waits at the end of the Boa Constrictor obstacle for her teammates.
Women help a wet and muddy team member out of the Boa Constrictor tubes.
Two pairs of Mudders walk away from one obstacle towards the next one.
Sign for the infamous Everest obstacle.
A green team helps each other up the Everest quarter pipe; A woman grimaces and weaves through the live wires of the Electroshock Therapy obstacle.
A man contemplates the Electroshock Therapy obstacle before running in, with Tough Mudder volunteers watching on; Splashes of mud as someone runs through the Electroshock Therapy obstacle as fast as possible.
Mud splashes up as people run and duck and weave through the electrified live wires of the last obstacle.
The crowd watching the Electroshock Therapy obstacle with an occasional expression of shock.
A repeat Tough Mudder braces himself for a shock in the last obstacle of the event.
A woman runs towards the finish line as a volunteer prepares to give her her well-earned orange Tough Mudder sweatband; A big muddy splash as the electric shock takes a man down in the Electroshock Therapy obstacle.
A shocked man is knocked into the mud and surfaces dripping and dazed in the Electroshock Therapy obstacle.
A Tough Mudder runs through the Electroshock Therapy obstacle so fast to avoid the shocks the muddy splashes from his feet are far behind him.
A man runs across the finish line beneath blue skies; Tough Mudders with drawn-on abs enjoy the free cold Dos Equis beer on the other side of the finishing line.
Muddy Tough Mudder bibs and free beer and the event is over.
All images and text ©Jess Gibbs 2013