Feb 26, 2024
  • Brit Jon Albon finishes ahead of Canada’s Ryan Atkins to claim $80,000 prize
  • Alisa Petrova triumphs in the women’s race
  • Over 1,000 participants competed in AlUla, with over 40 countries represented
  • Event featured a prize pot of $480,000, the largest in obstacle course racing history

February 26 – Saudi Arabia (AlUla): Jon Albon and Alisa Petrova were the respective men’s and women’s winners of the inaugural Tough Mudder Infinity event, which took place in the stunning Saudi city of AlUla with an overall prize pot of $480,000, the largest in obstacle course racing history.

The event featured over 1,000 participants, made up of elite-level athletes and those looking to take on an intense eight-hour endurance race, which was the first of its kind in the MENA region. More than 40 countries globally were represented, and there was also plenty of local representation with the likes of Nelly Attar, the first Arab woman to climb K2, and Rakan Al-Thaqafi, a Saudi Arabian amateur boxing champion, taking part.

As expected, the men’s race came down to a battle between long-time rivals and obstacle course racing legends Albon, from the UK, and Canada’s Ryan Atkins. The two men have been involved in plenty of epic contests over the years and this was no exception, as the duo led from the front for long spells, and it was the Brit who eventually crossed the line to take the $80,000 prize. Mark Batres, from the USA, finished third.

After making history by winning the first of its kind event, Albon said: “It was tough, it was a tough course in its own way, the sand and the terrain and the fact it was flat made it really challenging as your legs got stiff on the sand.”

“It was over two years since I last did an obstacle course race, so it was nice to come back and find out whether I can do some obstacles. I really enjoyed the rings – I realised I hadn’t lost my touch.”

On the prize money, he added: “Not too shabby – it’s the best payday I’ve had from a race which is the cherry on the cake.”

He also provided his thoughts on AlUla, saying: “I had no idea where I was coming, the rock formations were nice and then I went into the Old Town – it was the most interesting town, lit up old school buildings in the valley of these cliffs. It was a nice place, it’s going to develop so quickly and it’s interesting to see how many events will come herein the future.”

The women’s race was equally as exciting, as Petrova edged out USA’s Nicole Mericle and Switzerland’s Janka Pepova to walk away with the $80,000.

She said: “It was the first Tough Mudder race I’ve ever done – I’ve never ran so long before. I did 90km, the longest race I did.

“I tried sky running before, which was 50km, and it was so tough. The last two laps were so tough and my body started rejecting food and I could only drink water.

“My legs are so sore, and I’m so tired but so happy! First time winning a big race – I’ve never been first at a world championship. Thanks to my training, my supporters, and my husband, I’m so happy. Now I need to eat and sleep!”

As well as individual races, there were also competitions for teams of two and teams of four, which certainly didn’t disappoint on the entertainment front.

The two-person race was won by French duo Thibault Jean and Gregory Basilico, who finished ahead of Tyler Veerman and Kris Brown.

In the four-person race, meanwhile, it was the European Elite, made up of Jesse de Heer, Stijn Lagrand, Luca Pezzani and Goncalo Prudencio, who came out on top.

The event itself was a huge success, reinforcing Saudi Arabia’s commitment to hosting largescale sporting events and elevating obstacle course racing as a sport, while also promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

Nic Cartwright, Tough Mudder Middle East License Holder, said: “We’re thrilled to bring the first ever Tough Mudder Infinity in the Middle East, right here in AlUla, Saudi Arabia. Athletes from over 40 nations battled it out for the largest prize pool in OCR history, while a total of 1,000 participants pushed their limits across all race courses – a testament to the growing sport of obstacle course racing in the region.

“Our incredible partners at the Royal Commission of AlUla were instrumental in bringing this vision to life and showcasing AlUla’s breathtaking landscape to the world. After this successful inaugural event, we look forward to bringing more exciting OCR experiences to the region in years to come.”

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