Two local men completed “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet” last weekend – the Tough Mudder.
The event’s website calls the Tough Mudder “the nation’s fastest-growing and most-recognized endurance series ….”
Dan Heady of Buffalo and his friend, Mark Tucker of Mount Sherman, completed the run in Maysville along with about 7,400 others. It took just under four hours to finish.
“Mudder was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Heady said.
Tough Mudder trails are constructed by British Special Forces. They include 10-to-12 miles of rugged terrain, steep inclines, water hazards and military-style obstacles. The event is used as a fundraiser for Wounded Warriors.
Every dollar that is raised is used toward providing combat stress recovery programs, adaptive sports programs, benefits counseling and employment services as injured veterans transition into civilian life.
To date, Tough Mudder participants have raised more than $3.5 million to support thousands of warriors returning from the battlefield, according to the website.
The weather was chilly, the wind was gusty and the course was … muddy.
Heady said the course “tests your stamina both physically and mentally. The way it’s designed, you have to have a sense of camaraderie to complete it. ‘No Mudder Left Behind’ is the motto you live by for the next 12 miles of pure Hell .…”
Heady described the course:
“We started off crawling through some mud while trying to stay low enough not to get caught in the barb-wire. After that, we ran through some more mud and finally got a chance to wash it all off by jumping into a dumpster full of ice water. Now let me tell you, if you’ve had to take a cold shower, times that by 1 million …
It’s like 10,000 needles stabbing your whole body. You had trouble breathing and focusing on how to get through this and that’s before you had to totally submerge yourself and get under the wood plank that divided the dumpster.
Once on the other side, you had to push through ice to get out. Once out, your body is an iceberg and you have to tell yourself to run just so you can get the blood flow going to warm your body back up so hypothermia doesn’t set in. Again, it’s 42 degrees outside and windy ….
After many miles of more mud and lots of really steep hills to go up and down, your body wants to just stop and catch a ride back, but that’s when this challenge turns from physical to mental. Your legs hurt, you’re starting to cramp up, your freezing cold, but you have to push through this in order to find success at the finish line. So, you keep pushing and visually seeing yourself crossing the finish line. When all the sudden you come to your worst fear … electricity.
This obstacle is made to break you. You stand there, eyeing the situation, thinking I can’t do this. Your body has had so much punishment at this point that you have a hard time mentally making yourself run through the live wires, which are packing up to 10,000 volts of electricity. Not to mention you’ve already had a taste of how much it hurts to get shocked by the same type of set-up earlier in the challenge, except then, you were crawling through water and having 10,000 volts hit you multiple times.
But on the other side of this obstacle is victory. All you have to do is run like a mad man through the live wires and that’s it, you’ve faced your biggest challenge and conquered it.
So, as you take that first step, you realize there’s no turning back and then … POW, ZAPP, POP and STING, the wires are bouncing off you and giving you a strong shock each time but then it stops … and you stand there listening to the crowd cheer … and suddenly realize that you have faced your biggest challenge and conquered it. You are a ‘Tough Mudder.’”
Heady said his employer, Metalsa, sponsored him in Tough Mudder.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Metalsa from the bottom of my heart for their generosity ...,” he said.
The challenge of the course “is nowhere near what the brave soldiers go through on a daily basis on the battlefield,” Heady said. “But, in this challenge, you’re forced to push on and never give up. Camaraderie is what makes this challenge so special. Without it, you fail. Not only did I choose to never give up, I also stopped to help those that had lost the will to finish and pushed them to the finish line.”
The Ledger Independent reported 18 EMS runs related to Maysville’s Tough Mudder. Injuries included dislocations, a broken ankle and hypothermia. There were 28 walk-in patients at the local hospital.
Entry fee for Tough Mudder is $150.
When you register for Tough Mudder, an online fundraising link is included in the registration confirmation email.
For more information, visit woundedwarriorproject.org and www.Toughmudder.com.