I w ake up at 7am, and walk or cycle from my home in Clapham, London, to the Tough Mudder offices in Brixton. The office has a big dining table, so the whole team sits down and eats breakfast together before discussing strategies, running through feedback from past events and planning future events. We run 11 events a year in the UK, plus four in Germany, so there’s a bit of travel involved in my job and no two days are ever the same. Our races, obstacles and customers are constantly evolving, and I love seeing an initial idea for an obstacle translate into part of an event that keeps customers inspired.’
The Senior Manager at Tough Mudder Talks About The Joys of Creating and Overcoming New Obstacles Photo Gallery
Having previously worked in Olympic events, handling sponsorship, when I saw an advert for an events services manager at Tough Mudder, it was as if the job description was written for me. I’d done my first Tough Mudder in 2013 and loved the atmosphere and team camaraderie, so I was delighted to get the job, which involved sourcing venues to hold events at. We often use properties in a very different way to how they’re normally used – building elaborate structures, digging things up and putting them back again – so building good relationships with venues was essential. ‘My role now includes working with partners to hold events in far flung parts of the world, managing our volunteer programme and getting involved with merchandise. But being part of the all-female UK Obstacle Innovation Lab, where we design, test and evolve race obstacles to give participants the best experience they can have, is a key focus and my favourite part of the job.
For example, “Funky Monkey” was a signature obstacle, which involved a monkey-bar climb up to an apex over a water pit. Getting the most out of it required great upper body strength, but we’ve evolved it by introducing wheels and “hanging lollipops” that transition onto a rope ladder climb, calling it “Funky Monkey Revolution”. I worried at first that the changes would be seen as controversial, but the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. In the beginning, our audience was 80 per cent male, 20 per cent female, but it’s far more balanced now, as the appetite for this kind of event has grown.
We want Tough Mudder to be inclusive and something anyone can have a go at, which is why we’ve introduced 5K races featuring 13 obstacles, alongside our classic races, which are 10-12 miles long and feature 25 obstacles. It’s now less about people trying to prove they’re the fastest, and more about taking on a personal challenge and getting the best out of yourself. ‘After finishing work around 6-7pm, I play touch rugby or tennis, do yoga or go running to wind down. I’m into distance/ endurance events, and currently training for Ride London. I also like catching up with friends by exploring new places to eat and going to gigs to experience live music. Bedtimes vary, but I try to be in bed by 11pm on a school night. I love my sleep!’