Having served in the Navy, I have a special fondness for events that support Wounded Warriors. As I mentioned in my last article, I ran the Army Ten-Miler three times (2010-2012), which is a great event that supports Wounded Warriors. One of my favorite memories of that event is watching the Wounded Warriors lead off the event and then seeing some of them out on the course being cheered on by spectators and other runners alike. I recently signed up to run another event that also supports Wounded Warriors: the Tough Mudder.
The Tough Mudder is an obstacle course that takes place over 10-12 miles. Entrants can run alone or in teams, although it is encouraged to run in teams. Some of the obstacles are typical of military training courses, such as “Berlin Walls,” which are eight to ten foot high walls that entrants must climb over, and mud crawls that require entrants to stay low in order to maneuver. The event features 25 obstacles in all, which tests the full range of the individual entrant’s physical and mental prowess. There are monkey bars over water, ice plunges, and even electric shocks that the entrant must endure. The obstacles change depending on the course, but entrants can expect to get muddy and tired regardless of where they do the event.
One of my favorite aspects of this challenge is that some obstacles, such as a 10-foot high wall, are literally impossible to do for some individuals (like me). I will need the help of either someone to stand on or someone to catch me and pull me up in order to get over this obstacle. The “Mount Everest” obstacle has become infamous in Tough Mudder circles for its difficulty. This obstacle features a half-pipe that skateboarders might use. Entrants must run up, jump on the ramp, and pull themselves up and over the wall. As if this was not difficult enough, Tough Mudder officials came up with the (barbaric) idea to spray the ramp with certain substances, like vegetable oil, to make this obstacle more difficult. Thanks, Tough Mudder people!
Training for such an event is difficult. The ability to run 10-12 miles over the course of 3-4 hours is just one of the challenges, although entrants can expect that no individual run will be longer than 1-2 miles. The Tough Mudder website includes circuit training ideas on their website which are based on the abilities of the individual competitor. Entrants need to be at their physical best to complete this run, including the ability to run, jump, pull themselves up and over walls as well crawl on their bellies for distances (typical in mud). I am training hard for this event and really looking forward to it (being over).