Toughest - when new technology provides new opportunities

14. Jun 2023

Toughest. Sweden's first, largest and most classic obstacle course race. Through an 8 km long course in varied terrain, participants have to get over/under/through 30-40 different obstacles of varying difficulty. In addition to classic obstacles such as arm bike, rings, arm walk and rope climbing, participants face new challenges such as Holmenkollen ski slope in Oslo, Dragon's Back, Ramp and Mud Land. Although a Toughest race will test your arm strength, technique, flexibility and speed, the biggest challenge often lies in the participant's mental strength. The idea is that everyone, regardless of fitness level, should be able to participate. The important thing is to challenge yourself and expand your comfort zone. Therefore, several obstacles have different levels of difficulty where the participant can choose between the "Normal lane" for the regular obstacle, the "Fast lane" for an extra challenge or a penalty lap if you want to abstain.

The first Toughest race took place in Malmö in 2013 and mika:timing has been involved from the very beginning. Since then, the race has grown into a series and we have provided participants with a result in cities such as Stockholm, Gothenburg, Oslo and Copenhagen. Even a freezing cold version in Jukkasjärvi. Since the start, the technical solution has been to place timing mats at the start and finish. The participants have had a so-called ChampionChip on their feet. And at the finish line you get your result.

But Toughest is so much more than getting from start to finish in the shortest time. It is also about HOW you get from start to finish. Which obstacles did you clear? And where did you take a penalty round? At mika:timing we aim to offer the organiser the most fitting solution. Therefore, we have been in discussions with Toughest for a long time about how we can offer an even more sophisticated solution that gives the participant even more data and info.

And for this season, these discussions have finally become reality. At Toughest Malmö in early May, we made the big switch from Championchip to working with an active system from Race Result. It provides great opportunities. Instead of just measuring the time at the start and finish, we are now able to also measure how a participant has passed a certain obstacle. Through a number of pre-prepared timing loops that are rolled out, we get data on whether the participant passed the obstacle the hard way or whether they took a penalty lap. 

Toughest can then pick up all the data via an API and when the participant logs in to their profile there is suddenly a lot of information. An added value for the participant in many ways. You can compare yourself with your friends. Who did actually pass the "Arm Bike"? And it also makes it easier to set goals for the future. "The next race I MUST complete the 'Web Rig'.

Most recently in Stockholm, we held a training programme of the new setup for Toughest's staff. By helping to prepare for each race together, we can offer a cost-effective solution while Toughest also becomes experts. An example of a successful project where we can develop the entire race experience through new technology together with the organiser!

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