Toughest Challenge: Local Tough Mudder event to include 12-hour race

Participants in the competitive wave line up to start the Indiana Tough Mudder July 31 at Ceraland.

The Republic file photo

About 7,000 athletes competed in either the 10-mile or 5-mile events at the Indiana Tough Mudder in July at Ceraland.

This year, those and other athletes will have a chance to test their endurance in a 12-hour race. The “Toughest Mudder” event will be part of this year’s Indiana Tough Mudder Aug. 6-7 at Ceraland.

While Ceraland hosted the Indiana Tough Mudder in 2019 and 2021, this will be the first time it has hosted the Toughest Mudder 12-hour event. The closest Toughest Mudder last year was held in the Chicago area.

“They’re very happy with the facility here at Ceraland, and they approached me about moving it here,” Ceraland executive director Jim Kreutzjans said. “We’re excited about bringing it here. We really enjoyed last year’s event, and the Tough Mudder coordinators are great to work with. It’s something new that we’re doing this year, and if successful, it’s something that we’ll want to continue.”

The Toughest Mudder will start at 8 p.m. Aug. 6 and conclude at 8 a.m. Aug. 7. Kreutzjans said the Tough Mudder organization will bring in portable lights to illumnate the 5-mile loop that competitors will traverse in the Toughest Mudder event.

Ike DeClue, director of sales and business development for Columbus Visitors Center, thinks the Toughest Mudder might bring in an extra 500 people to Columbus that weekend.

“I think what we love about this event, it’s one of only a handful that the local population can join and be part of,” DeClue said. “The tournaments that we host are fantastic and bring people in from out of town. But this is something you can participate in and form a team. It’s something that people here in town can get excited for and train for and get more fit and have fun with.”

Ceraland originally signed a five-year contract with Tough Mudder in 2019. But Tough Mudder went bankrupt after 2019, and was bought out by Spartan. After not hosting an event in 2020, Ceraland signed a three-year contract last year that will keep the Tough Mudder in Columbus through at least 2023.

“In 2023, we’ll evaluate it and hopefully continue it on,” Kreutzjans said.

Menawhile, DeClue noted that the Visitors Bureau is working with a state figure skating competition that will be hosted by Lincoln Center Skate Club at the Hamilton Community Center and Ice Arena the first weekend in March. Most of the events in the community that took place in 2021 are returning this year.

“The parks are booked,” DeClue said. “Essentially everybody who was here last year are back for 2022. We’re continuing to speak to tournament directors who are looking for space in town. Nothing real, real big, but stuff that would fill some gaps if we can find them.”