Its crazy to think that its been over two years since I took part in my first (and only, to date!) Tough Mudder event, and to say it was an experience is an absolute understatement!
I took part in a small team made up of a few people I knew from work and their friends, plus my dad, and had the craziest 12.5 miles of my entire life as I ran, waded, climbed and threw myself up, down and over the infamous obstacles that put the tough in Tough Mudder.
Its no easy feat, but its absolutely doable by anyone with determination and a bit of preparation, and if whether you’re already training, or thinking about taking on the course one day, here are a few words of wisdom for you..
Your team is much bigger than you think it is
Most people participate in the events in small groups and teams, but in reality, everyone on the course is on your side too. Total strangers will come to your aid if you need a leg up, hand over or just some moral support for anything that comes your way.
If you want to run with a Go Pro, or a fitness tracker (only do this if its waterproof), or anything that could potentially fall off, label it. A friend of mine who regularly volunteers at the events says that after each race they scoop at least 10 Go Pros and more watches and sunglasses than you know what to do with out of the obstacles, and they do try and return them all, but that’s not easy if you can’t tell who’s from who’s.
You won’t be able to do it all alone, and that’s ok
I’m not being funny, but unless you can jump vertically 12ft in the air to get over some of the enormous obstacles in your path, you’re gonna need help every now and then, and people will be more than happy, as I’ve just said! Plus, its totally ok to fall/jump off everything!
You cannot prepare for Arctic Enema
Plunging into a container of ice water is like nothing I can describe. Its not like skinny-dipping in the English Channel on New Years Day, it will literally knock the breath from your lungs! Whenever I go out for a run in the rain, or complain about the cold I just think that I will never ever be as cold as I was in those moments.. But don’t worry, you warm up again pretty quick!
Cry Baby is not as bad as you think it will be
Crawling through an enclosure filled with what’s marketed as ‘tear gas’ is enough to fill anyone with a bit of dread – hell, I was so worried about doing this – but truth is, its actually laughing gas, and its not that far to crawl either!
But Electroshock Therapy really is
Probably the most infamous of all the torturous obstacles, and they love to save the best for last, running to the finish line through a structure with dangling electrical cables that are hooked up to car batteries is certainly an experience. Not all the cables will shock you, but when they do, oh my word.
You don’t have to do everything
All of the obstables can be bypassed, and there’s absolutely no pressure to participate, and no shame in saying no. I was prepared to skip quite a few, but I actually only missed one (which actually appeared in the course twice, so technically I did it once anyway!) which I was pretty impressed by.
It takes time
I did my event during the peak of my half marathon training, and I figured that 12.5 miles of obstacles wouldn’t take me much longer than just running the distance. Well it took us over 4 hours..
Bring a tonne of wet wipes and a big towel
After you’ve mudded up, you can wash off in a makeshift shower area, but this is outside (so unless you’re a bit of an exhibitionist, no stripping off), and the water is freezing (but warmer than Arctic Enema) and has no pressure. I showered fully dressed to get the mud off of as much as possible, then ducked into the women’s changing tent to put on as many warm clothes as I could, despite still being fairly muddy and wet, but all the veterans in there had wet wipes which seemed like a much easier way of doing things.
Enjoy the photos
I know that in many of the photos I look ridiculous, but seeing them makes me so damn proud of what I achieved. Never in a million years did I think I’d make it through that course, yet here I am, a Mud Legionnaire.
If you’re unsure about taking part, all I can say is just do it. You’ll amaze yourself.