Top Trail Runners Cash In On $480K Tough Mudder Prize Purse in Saudi Arabia

A lot of prize money was handed out to top finishers at the 2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla in Saudi Arabia, and trail runners got in on the winnings.

By on February 26, 2024 | Comments

A whopping $480,000 prize purse went out to obstacle course racers at the first-ever 2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla event in AlUla, Saudi Arabia, over the weekend. Top trail runners were among the athletes vying for that cash.

Athletes from 40 different countries took part on a looping 10-kilometer course, passing 20 obstacles per lap. The goal was to complete as many loops as possible in eight hours.

Rare overnight rain pushed the race start back one hour, but as things got going on Saturday, February 24, the hot and sandy conditions expected of Saudi Arabia prevailed.

Individual winners Jonathan Albon (U.K., lives in Norway) and Alisa Petrova (Russia) each collected $80,000, and the massive prize purse ran 10 deep in both the women’s and men’s races.

Jonathan Albon - 2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla mens winner

Jonathan Albon, the 2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla men’s winner. Photo: Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla

For some context on this prize money, in obstacle course racing, a $30,000 to $50,000 first-place prize has been seen with some frequency, but as we understand it, this payout is the highest for the sport so far.

In ultrarunning, the biggest prize purse is at South Africa’s Comrades Marathon, where for this year the winner gets 550,000 South African Rand (about $28,500) and the full prize purse is 3,278,000 Rand (about $170,000). In trail running, it’s maybe the Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile in the U.S. that offers the biggest prize purse, with $15,000 for the individual win and $83,500 awarded total.

Per the race organization, full race results are expected to come online on Wednesday, and we’ll update this article when they do.

2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla Men’s Race

Longtime rivals Jonathan Albon (U.K., lives in Norway) and Ryan Atkins (Canada) were again at the front of the men’s pack. As far back as the 2014 Spartan World Championships, the pair of all-timers have been one-two at the top of the obstacle-racing sport. Albon won then, a mere 65 seconds better than Atkins in a roughly three-hour race, and Albon won again here too.

Albon wore full-leg white compression tights, presumably to help to manage the day’s heat, sun, and sand exposure. Albon totaled 100 kilometers on the eight-hour circuit. He took home $80,000 for his effort.

Since his 2014 win, Albon had mostly stepped away from obstacle course racing, first to pursue skyrunning and later, ultrarunning. Albon most recently won the 2023 CCC and the 2023 Les Templiers, and he’s expected to make his 100-mile debut at the 2024 Western States 100.

Atkins, who also has had success at ultrarunning, finished second, also with 100k. He won $32,000.

Third-place Mark Batres (U.S.) also finished with the same number of laps of the course. Batres is a new name to iRunFar, but perhaps has the fastest running speed. The 40-year-old ran as fast as 29:25 for 10,000 meters back in 2009. Batres earned $16,000 his podium finish.

Jonathan Albon - Ryan Atkins - Mark Batres - 2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla mens podium

The 2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla men’s podium (l-to-r): 3. Mark Batres, 1. Jonathan Albon, and 2. Ryan Atkins. Photo: Obstacle Racing Media/Matt Davis

2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla Men’s Results

The full men’s top 10 was:

  1. Jonathan Albon (U.K., lives in Norway) – 10 laps, 17:07 – $80,000
  2. Ryan Atkins (Canada) – 10 laps, 17:30 – $32,000
  3. Mark Batres (U.S.) – 10 laps, 17:43 – $16,000
  4. Luca Pescollderungg (Italy) – 10 laps, 17:44 – $7,500
  5. Mickael Gasc (France) – 9 laps, 17:09 – $5,000
  6. Pavel Hrdina (Czech Republic) – 9 laps, 17:26 – $4,000
  7. Dani García (Spain) – 9 laps, 17:30 – $3,000
  8. Ja Shua Ried (U.S.) – 9 laps, 17:31 – $2,500
  9. Elmer King (U.S.) – 9 laps, 17:34 – $2,000
  10. Dasos Gonnella (U.K.) – 9 laps, 17:40 – $1,500

Full results.

2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla Women’s Race

Race winner Alisa Petrova (Russia) overtook fast-starter Nicole Mericle (U.S.) late in the day to finish with 90k run. Petrova’s winning effort was also worth $80,000.

Mericle and Janka Pepova (Slovakia, lives in Switzerland) both finished a lap back with 80k run. Mericle earned $32,000 and Pepova $16,000.

Alisa Petrova - Nicole Mericle - Janka Pepova - 2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla womens podium

The 2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla women’s podium (l-to-r): 3. Janka Pepova, 1. Alisa Petrova, and 2. Nicole Mericle. Photo: Obstacle Racing Media/Matt Davis

All three of these women have experience in trail running as well. Last month, perhaps in training for this event, Petrova won the 2024 G.O.A.T. Ultra Trail Race 50k in the United Arab Emirates, beating Marathon des Sables top Moroccan women’s runner Aziza El Amrany.

Among her recent trail results, Mericle was 13th at the 2023 Broken Arrow Skyrace Vertical Kilometer. And Pepova ran Sierre-Zinal back in 2021.

2024 Tough Mudder Infinity AlUla Women’s Results

The complete women’s top 10 was:

  1. Alisa Petrova (Russia) – 9 laps, 17:40 – $80,000
  2. Nicole Mericle (U.S.) – 8 laps, 17:00 – $32,000
  3. Janka Pepova (Slovakia, lives in Switzerland) – 8 laps, 17:08 – $16,000
  4. Eszter Hortobágyiová (Slovakia) – 8 laps, 17:11 – $7,500
  5. Lindsay Webster (Canada) – 8 laps, 17:19 – $5,000
  6. Ulrikke Evensen (Denmark) – 8 laps, 17:33 – $4,000
  7. Kris Rugloski (U.S.) – 8 laps, 17:39 – $3,000
  8. Petra Arvela (Finland) – 8 laps, 17:58 – $2,500
  9. Sabrina Daolio (Italy) – 7 laps, 16:51 – $2,000
  10. Katie Knight (U.S.) – 7 laps, 17:01 – $1,500

Full results.

Justin Mock

Justin Mock is the This Week In Running columnist for iRunFar. He’s been writing about running for 10 years. Based in Europe, Justin has run as fast as 2:29 for a road marathon and finished as high as fourth in the Pikes Peak Marathon.