Obstacle Racing's Breakout Star, Amelia Boone

The Tough Mudder and Spartan Race champ is paving a new path through the sport

IF OBSTACLE RACING has a breakout star, it's Amelia Boone. The 30-year-old Portland, Oregon, native has won, or scored a podium spot in, each of the 14 races she's entered, and she's done it while working 80-hour weeks as a corporate bankruptcy attorney for one of the world's largest law firms. At last year's World's Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour championship race in Englishtown, New Jersey, Boone traversed 90 miles and more than 300 obstacles to take first place among women. She also finished second overall and a full ten miles ahead of the guy in third. As an encore, this summer at the eight-mile Spartan Super Championship, she got lost and was forced to run an extra mile—and still won the women's division.

THE ASCENSION: In 2011, Boone, who was a high school soccer star but gave it up in college, registered for her first obstacle race, a Tough Mudder event in Wisconsin, along with three colleagues. "Within five minutes," she says, "I ditched my coworkers and floored it up the mountain."

PROUD WARRIOR: Boone's office is littered with racing paraphernalia—the orange Tough Mudder headband, liability waivers, a faux skull from one of the three Spartan Death Races she finished. "My bosses are a little scared," she says, "but they're always very interested in what I'm doing."

FEAR OF FRYING: "I'm petrified of electricity now," she says. "I crawled through the Electric Eel nine times at World's Toughest Mudder last year. One time I got blasted so hard I nearly blacked out. I fell and hit my head and started crawling in the wrong direction."

CALL IT A HOBBY: For the moment, there's no such thing as a professional obstacle racer. That could change soon, though, as the fledgling sport gains sponsors and a TV audience; September's Spartan World Championships, with a $250,000 prize purse, was filmed for the NBC Sports Network. It's easy to see how Boone could make a career of it—if she had any desire to. "I'm not sure I'd want to do it full-time," she says. "I like using my brain too much."

UP NEXT: Boone defends her World's Toughest Mudder title on November 16, then heads to England in January to tackle her first Tough Guy, a nine-mile, 40-plus-obstacle event held in the dead of winter. "I have a feeling it will be an entirely different level of suffering," she says. "I hate the cold."

From Outside Magazine, Nov 2013 Get the Latest Issue

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web