Tough Mudder season is upon us here in the Uk so I thought it would be good to do a little recap of my TM experiences. Last year I took part in my first TM at the Yorkshire event in August. Myself, my brother and a couple of friends signed up with no real idea of what TM was or what it entailed, we just had a vague idea that we would be running an obstacle race in the mud! It sounded like fun so we decided to give it a go.
I like to keep a good level of general fitness so knew with a few tweaks to my regular training regime I could get myself TM ready, if your thinking of doing Tough Mudder or have already signed up check out the ultimate guide to your first obstacle race over at www.fix.com where you will find lots of great advice and training tips to get you and your body conditioned for the rigours of an OCR.
So we arrived at the TM Yorkshire site full of nerves and excitement! we checked in, ditched our bags and headed to the warm up area, you have a designated start time or wave as TM calls it, when your time is approaching you are encouraged to get involved with a gentle warm up with your fellow mudders to loosen up your muscles and prepare you for the test that awaits. Once you have completed this you move into the final wait area before starting your race. In true TM fashion they like to throw a couple of obstacles in your way to give you a taste of what's to come. While waiting the resident TM emcee gets you pumped up with lots of motivation and Hoorah's (TM's battle cry) before you recite the Tough Mudder pledge out loud in unison with your fellow runners, by now I was raring to go! when the MC gave the signal I set off with adrenaline pumping through my veins, I was fired up and ready for the challenge!
Now to the actual event, Tough Muddder is a stern physical challenge that will test your strength, grit and endurance, it is designed by British Special Forces and consists of a number of challenging obstacles (some harder than others) over a 10-12 mile distance of rolling terrain, there's lots of hills, drops, water and of course mud. While TM is a test of your physical capabilities it's also a mental challenge, some of the obstacles involve heights, freezing water, electricity and fire so it definitely challenges your mind and body.
Tough Mudder prides itself on its carmaraderie, the course is designed for teamwork, you will encounter obstacles where you need help to complete them and also find others where people need your help, this aspect of TM was fantastic and I loved the whole atmosphere and energy of the race. It's so rewarding to know you helped someone conquer an obstacle or one of their fears and your grateful for that helping hand when you need it too, in TM your all in it together, nobody gets left behind, I loved this aspect of the race!
There are lots of obstacles, some that are in every TM and some that are hand picked for your particular event, my favourites were the feature obstacles as they challenged me the most, if your doing TM you will encounter them too! You will get very familiar with Arctic Enema (basically an Ice bath), walk the plank (a drop into cold water from height), Everest ( a run, jump and grab up a slippery half pipe skate ramp) and many more. I loved my first TM experience so much I quickly signed up for my second! I'm now what TM calls a legionnaire (multiple runner) so I get to tackle extra obstacles that are reserved for the select few that come back and do it all over again after their first race, I'm aiming for my 10+ headband in the future as I'm hooked! I'm sure after your first TM you will be too!
You can check out my GoPro footage from the London South Tough Mudder here!
One thing is for certain, at the end when you receive your finishers pint, t-shirt and headband you will look back with a great sense of pride and achievement, give yourself a pat on the back for taking on and conquering the challenge that is Tough Mudder!
See you in the mud.