Looking off in the distance, I could see the last mile-marker, painted bright orange. As I gazed at it, my heart started to beat faster before I looked up at the obstacle that was in front of me. “Electroshock Therapy” was plastered in big, white letters across the top of the poles. I looked at my teammate, shaking my head. This was my biggest fear, electricity. I would have to run through fifty feet of dangling wires that were buzzing with electricity. As each person ran through, you could hear the zapping of the wires before they involuntarily fell into a pile of mud. As my turn came up, I clenched my teammate’s hand, letting go before I covered my face, running forward into the wires. I jumped over one hay bale, dropping to my knees. Completely blacking out, I felt my teammate trying to pick me up. As he dragged me through the obstacle, I woke up, got to my feet, and ran out, through the finish line.
Tough Mudder is a 10- to 13.1-mile obstacle course that tests your mental grit, fellowship, and overall physicality. Tough Mudder is a challenge, not a race. Nobody wins and there are no clocks to race against. It is about taking risks and helping others along the way. Tough Mudder came to Sedalia, Missouri, on October 8th and 9th at the Missouri State Fairgrounds. Collectively, 2.5 million people have taken on the challenge, and it is offered in six different countries. There are 500,000 gallons of mud and 40 tons of ice that you run through to just receive a headband and a t-shirt at the end.
Tough Mudder 2016 was exactly that-- tough. At the beginning, you are rounded up with your time group in a huddle to do a warm-up, and then a pledge. As you pledge the Tough Mudder, your nerves are already running. In the beginning, you will want to run as fast as you can, but you have to pace yourself. Every half-mile, there is an obstacle that you have to use teamwork to defeat. There were some parts that I believed I wouldn’t fulfill because of my physical strength, but between your teammates and the people around you, it is easier to manage.
Tough Mudder held up to its name and intentions. It pushes you physically and mentally beyond your limits. There will be times when you think you can’t do it anymore, but I promise, you can and you will. Listed below are some tips from a recent Mudder if you decide to take on the challenge.
- Get Back Up - I’m not going to get sentimental with you. You will fall down, you will want to give up. Get back up--it’s the best advice, especially with Electroshock Therapy.
- Bring Extra Underwear - Not going to joke with you on this one. Mud gets into everything and will turn your whitey tighties a nice tan color.
- Eat Breakfast - Learn from my mistakes. I opted out of breakfast. The next four and a half hours, I could hear my stomach rumble between water stations. They do give you part of a banana and half of an energy bar, but make sure you eat at least a little something before you start on your trek.
- Get Pumped - Each obstacle that you run across, which is about 20-25 obstacles, you need to get pumped for. Whether that be the “Arctic Enema” or “Killa Gorilla”, you better get pumped or you will dread each of them.
- Be Able to Swim - My strong suit was swimming, and thank goodness for that. Make sure you are a strong swimmer for “Cage Crawl” and “King of Swings”. During “Cage Crawl”, they technically water board you, and if you have no idea what that is, you aren’t ever able to catch your breath because water will flow right into your lungs.
- Look Behind You - They tell you to never look back while running, but the point of Tough Mudder is to help others. After every obstacle you finish, turn around and help somebody else, even though you might not know them.
In conclusion, the Tough Mudder that came to Sedalia, Missouri, was extremely hard, but it paid off in the end by allowing me to join the Mudder family. It’s a strenuous test to earn your place in the family, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.