NEWRY — The 7th Annual Tough Mountain Challenge saw 3,600 contestants make their way through mud pits, snow piles and leech-infested lakes.

The 2016 course was a 4-mile trail with 16 obstacles throughout, in order as follows: 

Shoe Sucker; Hurricane Alley; Cage Choker; Bust n’ Burn; Tsunami on Double Dipper; Ridge Run Wall/Boarder Invasion; Yeti’s Trap; WTF?!; Shawshank Redemption; Shot Gun Station; Muddy Bobber; Barker Pond Crossing; Razor Wire Mud Crawl; Snow n’ Steady; Slip Slide & Die; and Muddy Happy Ending. 

The first heat is at 8 a.m. and the last at 3 p.m. with an award ceremony at 5 p.m.

Darcy Lambert, Sunday River spokesperson, was happy with how the day was going.

“We have people of all fitness levels,” she said.  “Some people can finish in under an hour, some people walk the whole course.”

Each heat has 125 participants with one heat every 15 minutes over 7 hours.

As participants crossed the finish line, they were handed a medal that doubles as a bottle opener, a cup of water and/or Gatorade, and a ripe banana.

At the end of the race, many participants are dripping in mud and ready for an ice-cold Bud Light.

Having a funny and unique team name is an unofficial challenge, and some of this year’s top contenders were:

• The Jack Daniels Crew;

• All About that Pace; and

• Spud Runners.

Standing out at the event were three participants who decided to show up in banana suits.

The race was open to anyone 13 and over, and many families raced together.

One team was very happy to finish the race, but pleased that they had done it.

“It was wicked awesome, very fun,” Heidi Shingleton said.

She and her three friends, Angie Delvecchio, Linda Crowell and Amy Shaw, have run the course together for the past four years.

“For me, the highlights were crawling under the barbed wire, going through a tunnel with no vision, and finishing off with a mud mask,” Shingleton said. “To sum it all up, next year, I’m wearing tighter pants!”

Runners come from all over Maine and New England to endure the challenge, and many return year after year.

Paulette Thibodeau and her boyfriend, Nathan Northrup, were back again and loving it.

“It was muddy and awesome,” she said. “I can’t believe the weather turned out nice like this. It was supposed to be hot and humid.”

Most of the day was hot, but a cool breeze and intermittent rain kept temperatures low.

This was the first year for runner Kristen Ross of Winthrop. Her husband, Chris, had run it before, along with their friends, Eric and Mandi Howard of Readfield.

“We’re good; we survived!” Ross said. “My favorite part is definitely the slide and the worst is the terrain park. But it’s definitely doable.”

Sunday is the Mini Tough Mountain Challenge for contestants 12 and under.

Registration for the 2017 Tough Mountain Challenge opens Sunday at 9 a.m. and will be held on July 29, 2017.

Men’s Top 3

• James Delorie of Oakland, 43:27

• Troy Pattison of Yarmouth, 46:04.5

• Nick Huston of Lisbon Falls, 46:34.6

Women’s Tops 3

• Anne L’Heureux of Biddeford, 53:20.1

• Albert Basse of Newry, 53:27.3

• Mariette Hanlon of Lisbon, 57:13.3


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