This past weekend myself and several members of Marquette’s NROTC unit took on the Tough Mudder, one of the newest and greatest teamwork challenges of camaraderie and endurance. Members of the military, many of us enjoy competition whether it is in teams (some of us play basketball or football) or as individuals (marathons, triathlons, etc…) so the concept of the Tough Mudder certainly fit the bill and it came with the added bonus that all profits from the race go to the Wounded Warrior Project and enables more good than most people know.
The Tough Mudder is a challenge that was modeled after the obstacle courses used by the British Special Forces and scaled so that a reasonably athletic person can tackle it in three or four hours. Along the 10 mile course there are 21 obstacles meant to be both fun and engage the whole team during their completion; some of the obstacles include:
- Climb two sets of two 10 ft high walls
- Crawl through pipes running downhill and underwater
- Greased monkey bars spanning about 30 ft
- Military crawl through the mud under barbed wire
- 15 ft jump into water
- Crawling over and under cargo nets
- Ice cold bath underwater
- Run through wires charged with up to 10,000 volts
- Run through zig-zagged hay bales lit on fire
Where the Tough Mudder is at its toughest is on uphill climbs of the ski slopes where the course is located. Many of the obstacles were not grueling although most did present a risk of injury to even the most fit of those competing. There have been deaths during the Tough Mudder in other states and we were told the most serious injury from the race the day before was a broken pelvis so we considered ourselves warned and proceeded with caution.
Our team of 10 ended up dividing into a two groups after the first few obstacles and stayed split up for the rest of the race. Everyone appreciated the overcast weather and consistent breeze that negated the heat advisory issued that morning. As fatigue set in there was a noticeable difference in the difficulty of the obstacles. For example, The early set of 10 ft walls had been a challenge but not nearly as difficult as the second set five miles later.
We finished the course in about three hours and, besides a few cuts, scrapes, and cramps, we were just as healthy as before the start. Dos Equis, a main sponsor of the Tough Mudder, provided every racer (of drinking age) with a free beer at the finish line and the Dos Equis girls awarded every finisher with an orange headband and t-shirt. One day later I am definitely feeling the effects of the race on my body and my teammates have expressed the same. The Tough Mudder is a great competition especially with a team of good friends as ours was and anyone who completes it will surely recommend it with pride.