Do American Ninja Warrior fans ever really know what to expect from Jake Murray? Well, yes, an entertaining run. Jake loves to add a little personal flair to the course and the start of his fifth season in Seattle/Tacoma was no different.
After ending his season at the National Finals, on Deja Vu during Stage Two, in season 10, Jake returned with his focus on getting back to that point. And he wanted to take the first step by earning the Speed Pass from the Power Tower that would guarantee his place back in Vegas. That meant he’d need put up one of the two fastest course completions of the night.
Jake fell just short of that goal with a time that put him in third place overall, but he still brought his charisma to the run. He started things out with a little homage to Hannibal Lector before chewing on the obstacles.
We spoke with Jake before his run to learn more about his strategy heading into this season and how he always stays ready for the course.
“Last season, I punched two buzzers in Qualifiers and City Finals. Hallelujah. And donned it on Stage One, where I had the fastest time. Going into Stage Two, the inverse happened and I fell on the first obstacle, Epic Catch and Release.
I guess I didn’t assert myself on the obstacle. I was a little meek. In hindsight, I should have charged into it a little faster and used my momentum to lock that first bar. Then when I transferred to the second, I was surprised by the jolt during the drop and it ripped me off. Into the water, joining the ANW season 10 swim team.”
“My motivation (this year) is the buzzer at the end of Stage Two. Well, the ultimate goal is the top of four, always will be. But the shorter term goal is the buzzer at the end of Stage Two. I have to know if the mythical buzzer exists.
It’s a goal I’ve been striving towards since, this will be my fifth season, so it’s been four years. I’m kind of stubborn like that. When the seed it planted in my head, I have to go after it. I have to reach that goal and I just don’t stop until its done if it’s something I’m really into, which Ninja Warrior is.”
“It’s a selfish pursuit for me, and it always has been. Much less so when I garnered a fan following after, you know, the corn dog incident. I’m not worried about what people think about me when I do this. I think if that had been the case, I wouldn’t have worn a fanny pack and pulled out a corn dog. It’s a selfish pursuit. I’m not too worried about what people think.
I don’t care about the Mega Wall that much. $10,000 is cool and it would be nice, but I didn’t train for it once again. That’s my choice. Mega Wall is not something I’m worried about, especially now that you have to stick with it. You know, you don’t get one shot and it’s like, ‘Oh it’s alright, I can walk up the 14 and half, no big deal.’ It’s either you’re all in or potentially risking not getting to the relay.”
“If there’s a season to go fast, it’s this season. I haven’t really ever gone my fastest on the show just because it’s not worth it. If you hit a buzzer, you’re moving on. It doesn’t really matter where you place. I’ll turn it on a little bit. A safe amount.
I don’t love the head-to-head aspect just because it is you versus a really good friend potentially. I won’t love it, but I will try my hardest. I’m just glad Adam Rayl isn’t here.”
It’s usually back to training for me (after Ninja Warrior) almost instantly because I have UNAA Finals. The competitions don’t quit beyond the show. So I’m always trying to stay in shape. What really helps me, especially after last season on Stage Two, a friend of mine told me that it’s not your worst performances that define you. If you look at Michael Jordan, no one remembers all the shots he missed or the games he lost. It’s your best performances that people remember you for. Not that it’s about being remembered by people. That really helped me. It’s kind of true. You have to shrug off the bad performances and realize that it can happen to anyone. Just because you didn’t live up to your potential doesn’t mean that was your potential.”
Jake Murray can try for a top time again when he returns for the American Ninja Warrior Seattle/Tacoma City Finals!