I understand that Tough Mudder is not arace but a challenge.
First and foremost, its confessiontime. This entry has very little to do with travel. I could make atenuous link but I think you're all far too good looking and cleverto be conned so easily. That said, a lot of people had to travel toget to the setting for this story. And some of it was uncomfortableand in minibuses. See? It's just like actual travel! Link, link,link! OK, even I'm ashamed of that.
I put teamwork and camaraderie beforemy course time.
So about ten days ago and for the first time ever Tough Mudder cameto Scotland. Taking up the challenge Team Hello, of which I was onefifth, joined up with a couple thousand other mudders and lined up on the start line to thetwelve mile course. We were expecting twelve miles of obstacles,lakes, hills and mild electrocution. What we got was twelve miles of thickly mudded forest trail that stretched up towards the clouds. When you reached one of the peaks, legs burning and lungs panting and dying for a break you were presented with one of the twenty-or-so assorted obstacles. Clearly vanilla was a word not in the course designer's vocabulary so all Mudders were kept busy with twelve foot high Berlin Walls, plunged into skips of ice-water, crawls under barbed wire and some casual running through burning hay! Not a bored minute was had. Not as easy moment either!
I do not whine – kids wine.
The Tough Mudder ethos isn't aboutcompetition, well at least not about competing with the otherparticipants. Tough Mudder is about you and your team against thecourse. If your team mate goes over on their ankle, like I did, yourteam dosen't abandon you to the race stewards and sprint on trying to break the two hour mark, they pull you up and drag you with them!They get you to the next aid station, get you strapped up, sing someof the Rocky soundtrack and get you back out there! And it's not justyour team that look out for you, just by starting the course you earn the right to call yourself as a Mudder. Your team expands from those you drove down with to the Mudder to your left and the Mudder to your right, the Mudder that boosts you over a wall and the Mudder you pull up after you! It's one big cheesy brotherhood! One runner took a bad fall off thelast obstacle Everest, and the sound of applause when he wasstretchered away was second to no cheer I've ever heard.
I help my fellow Mudders complete thecourse.
I don't know how I got this far withoutsome dedicated chat about the mud. We spent over three hours on thecourse and experienced, in a very first hand way, the quality product of Tough Mudder HQ. They get inside your head and coax you intocomplacency. Then they break out slippery mud that looks firm andfirm mud that looks slippery, or three foot deep pits that sitlooking remarkably innocent until you put a foot wrong. Anypresumption you can beat the mud dies the moment you hit the firstbarbed wire obstacle and have to crawl on your stomach in the tracksof the first thousand people. It's at this point you drop anypretension about keeping clean and looking respectable for thecameras, too. It's part of the event you just have to embrace. And if you see someone that isn't jumping head first into the Mudder mindset, then tackle them into the first sludge pit you can find. Camaraderie in equality! Plus you get some awesome photos!
I overcome all fears.
And what is it for? Well you get at-shirt, a beer and a famous orange headband at the finish line. Ifyou're lucky you get a protein bar too. Is it worth the eighty oddquid you pay for the abuse of the course? Not a chance in hell. Is it worth it for the pride, achievement, camaraderie, memories, challenge and the right to say that you beat Tough Mudder?Well I'm already preregistered for next year! Consider me an orange headband collector.