- Created on Thursday, 17 October 2013 12:04
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By BRITTANY ERWIN
They conquered Everest. They scaled the Berlin Walls. They walked the plank. And were shocked with 10,000 volts of electricity, twice. They ran probably the toughest race on the planet.
Sept. 28 is a day that team Mud, Sweat, and Beers, consisting mostly of Niagara College students, will never forget. Valarie Ceko, Lindsay Ceko, Dillon Erwin, I and Alana Ferguson and Kyla Ceko, all gathered that day and made our way to Coldwater, ON, outside Barrie at 6 a.m.
After a two-hour drive to Burl’s Creek Family Event Park, they boarded busses and headed to Mount St. Louis Moonstone Ski Resort. The team checked bags and headed to the start line at 11:45 a.m.
Tough Mudder is designed to test your overall strength. With over one million participants to date, it is the probably one of the toughest races a person can run. British Special Forces designed it to test operatives’ mental and physical strength.
The obstacles test human fears of fire, water, heights and electricity. Almost all of the events are impossible to complete by yourself. Help from other participants, if not your own team, is crucial. Without that, it can’t be completed.
The first Tough Mudder course, in the United States in May 2010, was co-founded by Will Dean and Guy Livingstone. Held at Bear Creek Ski Resort in Allentown, PA., it had 4,500 participants. Today, Tough Mudder is held in the U.S., Australia, Canada and Germany among many other places; it costs from $80 to $160 to participate.
Tough Mudder has raised over $6 million for the Wounded Warrior Project, raising awareness of the needs of injured service members, and providing unique programs for them.
At the start line you scale a wall into a mud pit, sing the Canadian anthem, and take the Tough Mudder Pledge. In the pit you take a knee for all of the soldiers who have lost their lives in battle and recite, “As a tough mudder I pledge that I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race, but a challenge. I put teamwork before my course time. I do not whine, kids whine. I will help my fellow Mudders. I overcome all fears.” Count to 10 and begin the race up the mountain.
The 17-kilometre course took the team six and a half hours to complete. Among the survivable events are the Arctic Enema in which participants dive into a dumpster filled with ice water, Electroshock Therapy in which live wires, carrying 10,000 volts of electricity, zap you as you crawl through water and as you cross the finish line.
The Funky Monkey is a set of inclining bars crossing a cold-water pit, and the Berlin Wall presents a daunting 12-foot high wall, which you help your teammates scale. Ceko says her favourite part was the Dirty Ballerina, a series of mud hills you climb over.
“I enjoyed being able to get messy. It was so much fun, and that was the obstacle that I found that everyone was just smiling and laughing through.”
She added she trained for three months by taking cardio classes and cross fit training circuits. Despite that, she says, “I wish I had done a lot more cardio though, since tough hills killed me.”
Ferguson says, “The course would have been better if there were less hills and better showers at the finish line.”
With the physical challenges, also came the emotional ones. Ceko says, “When I completed Tough Mudder, I have never been more happy in my life. I was so proud of myself and everyone else, I actually cried.”
“It was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t have changed for the world! If you are looking for something to challenge yourself, do Tough Mudder and train hard. Crossing that finish line gave me the best feeling of accomplishment I’ve ever had.”
At the finish line a Mudder volunteer crowns you with a Tough Mudder headband, only presented to those who complete the race, a T-shirt and an ice-cold beer.