Tough Mudder – London South 2017
“The only place where success comes before work, is in the dictionary.”
To put it simply, Tough Mudder is an event with a strong brand ethos for teamwork, alongside the best-fuelling stations and the most bragging rights.
When I started taking part in obstacle course races, people often asked me if I’d completed Tough Mudder and the answer was always no. There was always a part of me that felt disappointed I’d not taken part in the event which is arguably the biggest household name.
If you were to ask me why it’s taken me so long? I’d say it was for the simple reason that I never felt good enough, for some reason I’d always questioned my personal ability. I finished the event feeling accomplished and annoyed that it had taken me so long to join the orange headband collective.
Let me tell you about my day…
The morning of the event was less than smooth sailing, I fell asleep in my contact lenses and woke up with streaming red eyes. This wouldn’t be an issue for some folk, but I’m -7.50 and had no other option than to frantically locate my spare glasses and dash into Tesco for some eye drops. Fortunately, by the time we got to the event I was able to change into contact lenses and with only 10 minutes to spare, we arrived at the Trek stand with rosy cheeks and slightly out of breath. It was okay, we’d stopped for a sausage butty, and I’d applied my much-needed mascara and thrown my bag into bag drop #priorities.
After changing into our team t-shirts and a quick photo it was soon time to head across to the warm-up, we lovingly threw Trek bar’s into the adoring crowd* Note: I made that up to make myself sound better, I’m not sure if they were peckish or not. I then took the chance to showcase my sensational dance moves whilst warming up, we dropped down on one knee to say our pledge and in a whisk of orange smoke, we were off…
I’d spent the week before the race resting and felt on great form, for one reason or another we lost our fellow team members during the initial stretch but that didn’t dampen our spirit. The first few obstacles were primarily walls of various heights. I know wall climbs play a large part in obstacle races yet if I’m honest, I find them somewhat predictable and on the other hand, they can be a touch unnerving at times.
Before we knew it the infamous ‘Arctic Enema’ was in our sights, due to my contact lens issues I avoided this obstacle but Lorraine and Eni took on the challenge. Frankly, I was just thankful I had an excuse to avoid it. We laughed our way across the ‘Mud Mile’, taking a moment to enjoy an impromptu dance as we passed the Jeep stand blasting music, it would have been rude not too?
‘The blockness monster’ saw us pushing, pulling, and rolling our way through 60ft of slick, rotating barriers in 5ft of water. It took me 3 very unglamorous attempts to complete ‘Everest’ (a super slippery half pipe), despite the fact they’ve recently made the addition of a rope.
They say that you should never look down on someone unless of course, you are helping them up.
The important thing about Tough Mudder is remembering that it’s not a competition or about setting a personal best. It’s about working together and focusing on remaining a team, we spent time helping others on obstacles, reaping the reward of seeing the happiness on their faces. For us, that was more important than setting a certain time, with each obstacle I tried, I was pushing my boundaries and unafraid to fail. I couldn’t cross more than 4 rigs on ‘Funky Monkey’ which consists of monkey bars which then evolve to revolving wheels, all above 5ft of water. So, I ended up taking a nice, refreshing muddy swim. I fell over during the ‘Hero Carry’ and aced ‘Augustus Gloop’ which saw me climb up a vertical tube, whilst battling with a constant downpour of water, a personal achievement if I say so myself.
I’m fully aware that obstacle races aren’t for everyone, but Tough Mudder has opened a ‘Half’ option which is between 5-6 miles which would be the ideal ‘taster’ or first-time event. We took on the full distance and in my opinion, the obstacles were fairly spread out across the 10-mile distance, which broke up the mileage perfectly.
Frequently asked questions….
Do you have to be seriously fit to take part in Tough Mudder? – No, just be a little braver, don’t whine and enjoy a cold beer after being electrocuted at the finish.
Is it worth the cost? – I know the high ticket price would make many people think twice before entering, but remember you’re paying for an experience. There are early bird discounts and not only is the event exciting and a great day out, there’s plenty of support on the course and goodies at the end.
Can you skip an obstacle? – Yes. There are no forfeits for skipping, but it’s always worth trying and failing or backing off knowing you’ve tired, than not trying at all.
What kit do I need? – I’ve covered this in detail here.
Have you ever entered Tough Mudder before? Would you be tempted?