“No brain, no pain”. That is what someone once told me. If that statement is true it must mean that I have a huge brain because believe me, not long ago I experienced pain thoroughly and completely. My regular readers (I do have regular readers, right?) will remember how I described the physical and mental torture which I had to endure. The misery and gnashing of teeth, the exhausting challenge and test of stamina and mental endurance, which is better known as the Australian Corporate Games 2011. It was difficult, but I believe it made a better person out of me. No really, I think it did. And so I sat the one day, reminiscing about that fateful day when I was suddenly brought back to reality by an email that appeared in my inbox with the subject “Tough Mudder Australia”. A subject line like that will always catch my attention, so I promptly opened the email and began to read.
The email was sent to me by a colleague who thought it would be a splendid idea if we were to participate in the afore-mentioned challenge, with a link to a video clip that promised to tell me more (I have included the video at the bottom of this post for those of you who want to have a look for yourself). I opened the link and observed the spectacle. If I though the Corporate Games was tough I was in for a surprise. In this “race” you try to get as close to death as you can without actually kicking the bucket, or at least that appears to be the general idea. Where the Corporate Games was 5km, this one was 20. The Corporate Games run had a clean and level path around a picturesque lake with cute little duckies and swans. With this challenge you had to traverse mud pools, dive into ice cold water, overcome obstacles, crawl through muddy tunnels, climb up ropes and
jump fall off the structure on the other side, run through electrical wires, jump through tyres, swim through rivers and run between fires and over coals. Nice...
Why, I ask you, would a healthy, sane person do something like that? Apparently it’s simply to be able to say “I DID it!”. I watched all of this and then asked myself, “Was this a bad idea? Yep, without a doubt! Would I survive something like that? Certainly not! Would I be crazy to try it? Absolutely! Would any person with half a brain attempt something like this? Definitely not! Am I going to do it? You bet I am!” Don't ask my why, but I simply have to try this! Now I know I’m not exactly a picture of fitness so this will now doubt be a great challenge for me, but one which I will gladly accept.
So what is this “Tough Mudder” all about? In short, it's a charity event to raise funds for Legacy, an organisation that assists war veterans and their families, hence the theme. I borrowed a little from the Tough Mudder website because they sum it up nicely:
“Tough Mudder events are hardcore 20 km-long obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses and half a million inspiring participants, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world”.
Now doesn't that sound like a great challenge?
Tough Mudder is different from other races in that they don’t focus on a winner. No, the challenge is against yourself, to test your own endurance and perseverance. Here are a few Q&A questions from their website:
Will Tough Mudder be cancelled if there is bad weather?
Tough Mudder events will happen regardless of the weather conditions. (who’s afraid of a little hale or snow??)
What is the average finishing time?
The average Tough Mudder will complete the course in around three hours. (I suspect that after I have completed the course, they may adjust that average upwards a little to 4 or 5 hours, assuming I don’t die trying)
Can I skip an obstacle?
Tough Mudder is not supposed to be about getting a faster time than your mate, so it’s fine by us if you want to skip an obstacle. The way we see it, you are there to have fun (uhm... fun?) and get a real sense of achievement at the end. If you think a particular obstacle isn’t going to do this for you, just go round it – no shame there (thank goodness!). The marshalls that you will see at each obstacle are there for safety reasons, not to make you do something you don’t want to do. However, if you are skipping an obstacle just to improve your time, then we think you are only cheating yourself. You paid to do the course – why not actually do it? Obviously, though, for some who participate there is a real element of competition involved in the event, so we do say that to qualify for a winners’s prize or for the World’s Toughest Mudder competition you must have completed all the obstacles.
How does Tough Mudder punish cheaters?
Tough Mudders do not cheat. (so it's plan B for me then...)
Do I really get one beer?
Yes. The registration fee includes one beer for participants, which can be collected after the conclusion of the event. (Only one?? I was hoping for at least two, but I would have to make do with one. Without a beer though, I would have thought twice before committing to this!)
What is the Tough Mullet and Mohawk Competition?
We recognize that the toughest people aren’t always the fastest or most athletic (I think they may be referring to me here). One way of celebrating this is the Tough Mullet and Mohawk Competition. Participants can either arrive with a mullet (I know I live in Queensland, but no, definitely not!), Mohawk (possibly...), or take advantage of the free head shave. Those with the best mullets and mohawks will be invited to take to the stage, and prizes will be awarded to the top five mullets or mohawks. (I’m sure the Minister of Finances and Home Affairs will support me in this, won’t you lovey? ...You will, right?? ...Lovey?)
Every athlete worth his salt has a pledge, or so I understand. So too the Touch Mudders. Their pledge is as follows:
I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge (suits me just fine! I have never ended up within the first ten finishers of any race before anyway)
I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time (No problem, see point number 1)
I do not whine – kids whine (oh no, you don’t understand, not in my house they don’t! But I get the point.)
I help my fellow Mudders complete the course (I would just be thankful if someone would help me finish the course!)
I overcome all fears. (Careful? maybe... Slow? certainly! But afraid? NEVER!!)
The Melbourne Touch Mudder happens this year in March, with the Sydney event scheduled for September. Unfortunately the Brisbane Mudder is only planned for 2013. Maybe it’s a good thing, that way I have some time get rid of the extra weight and try to achieve a measure of fitness. I will therefore now have to focus on starting some form of exercise routine to get fit, something that may well be a greater challenge than the Mudder itself! But you know what they also say, “No pain, no gain!”
So, who's in this with me??
Here are a few pics that I borrowed from the Tough Mudder website (toughmudder.com.au), just for some inspiration: