They bill themselves as “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet.” According to their website: “Tough Mudder events are hardcore, 10-12 mile obstacle courses, designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, half a million inspiring participants, and more than $3 million raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.”
While the goal is to finish the race, there’s a lot of fun involved as well and Tough Mudder recognizes those who go out of their way to make the race as entertaining as possible. There are awards for Toughest Mullet, Toughest Mohawk, Best Costume, Least Clothing, and our personal favorite, Most Likely To Have Been In The Village People.
Hatch’s Eric Becher participated in the Minnesota Twin Cities Tough Mudder race this past weekend in Somerset, Wisconsin. We thought we’d get his thoughts on the event.
Posing with his teammates, Eric is in the back row, fourth from the left.
Was this your first Tough Mudder?
Eric- Yes this was my first, as it was for everyone on my team.
What got you involved?
Eric- It was after I ran the half marathon in Kansas City Half Marathon, Lori (Malett) and others pushed and motivated me to do something else. My buddy Jim asked me, so I signed up and began training for this new challenge.
What was the toughest obstacle?
It’s tough to say, but probably Everest as they call it…you run up a full half pipe and rely on someone to catch you as you leap for their hand to pull you up. I made it up the first try with a guy who caught my arm as I lept. Others not so lucky. I saw three people run up and face plant after leaping to be caught.
It was the most intimidating because from the ground level looking up at it…it looks like Everest. At this point in the race we were already 9 miles in and our shoes and clothes were covered in mud. It almost seemed impossible to get up it. I cut my arm up bad on that one The worst part though was running for a mile and half up monster hills, and running on all logs and sticks.
Did you help any of your fellow runners throughout the race or did any of them stop to help you?
On Everest I helped four people. Like many others, I hung over the half pipe with my arms extended and grabbed the people leaping and pulled them up. To be honest, the whole race is about helping one another the whole time. You can’t make it without the help of others no matter how tough you are. The motto of the run is not about your time, but it’s all about helping your fellow mudders. I developed a severe cramp in my calf at mile nine and I needed two people to help me for about half mile until it loosened up again.
The shock treatment, what was that like?
They had two Electric Eels as they called them during the race. I was shocked in the crawl space of one and all I can say is it feels like a jolt going through your body like no other. Then you black out for a couple seconds and then you are right back up and ready to rock. My friend, Andrea, got it the worst. At the end, she got hit by one with 10,000 volts. It hit her in the side of the face. She crumbled like a ton of bricks and didn’t get up for a couple of seconds. She hit a rock on way down and was bleeding everywhere…fun right??
Was it tougher than you thought it would be or about what you expected?
The obstacles I felt were the easy part, I know it sounds crazy but they were. The hills and the running through the worst terrain I have ever seen was just down right brutal. If anyone wants to do this and is training, all I will tell them is run up the biggest hills you can find for hours at a time non-stop. They brought people to their knees and to the hospital. More broken bones, twisted ankles and people passing out from the heat, than from the running the obstacles themselves.
So how did the team do?
We all finished and there is not one of us that could have done it alone. Everyone at some point needed another team member to pick them up or motivate them to keep them going.
For more info on Tough Mudder, check out their website: http://toughmudder.com/