I Am One Tough Mudder.

by Mark on October 22, 2012

A little less than 4 months ago, I was browsing profiles on a dating website, and I saw that one woman said that she had completed 2 Tough Mudders. I had no idea what a “Tough Mudder” was, but I was curious, so I checked out the Tough Mudder website. Consistent with my new Fuck Comfort philosophy, I immediately knew that this was a challenge that I just HAD to do!


The Tough Mudder is a brutally difficult 10-12 mile event complete with massive amounts of mud and obstacles. The course is designed to be incredibly physically and mentally demanding. It’s not enough to be physically strong. You have to have the will and determination to withstand extended periods of exhaustion and discomfort while overcoming numerous obstacles that test your strength, skill, and tolerance for pain and discomfort.

The event is not a race. It’s a challenge. The company bills the Tough Mudder as “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet.” While that’s debatable, there is no doubt that it is extraordinarily challenging. It’s not an individual challenge. Everyone helps out everyone else, whether they are on your “team” or not. It’s an incredible demonstration of strangers coming together to overcome adversity that we wouldn’t be able to overcome alone.

As a Tough Mudder I pledge that…

I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge.
I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time.
I do not whine — kids whine.
I help my fellow mudders complete the course.
I overcome all fears.

I ended up joining up with the United We Change team that was basically put together at the last minute, and I was glad that I did. We supported, helped, and encouraged each other the whole way. Here is a picture of me in my “Better. Stronger. Faster.” T-shirt with my new friends before starting the Tough Mudder. They “branded” us with our participant numbers on our foreheads with a black marker.

Tri-State Tough Mudder - October 20, 2012 - Before

Clockwise from the left: Godfrey, Mark, Steven, Samy, Jen, Ava (our little Tough Mudder fan), and Katie

The course started with a short run to the first obstacle, which was called the Arctic Enema. It is basically a small pool of water loaded with ice cubes. To say that it provides a shock to the system is an understatement. You then have to dive under the water to get past a barrier and climb out on the other side. You are then soaking wet and uncomfortable for the remainder of the event.

Some of the other obstacles: climbing over high walls, going up numerous mud hills, climbing ropes and rope ladders, sliding down a slide that starts out as a vertical drop, jumping off a high ledge into a pool of water, crawling in a shallow pool of wire with electric wires, running through electric wires, and much more.

One aspect of the Tough Mudder that made it extremely challenging was that there was deep mud over practically the whole course. I wasn’t expecting this. Although I knew that there would be obstacles involving mud, I thought it would include much more normal running in between obstacles. Instead you trudge through mud pretty much the whole way. You can try to empty the mud out of your shoes, but it just seeps right back in. It is very uncomfortable.

You have to be very careful not to hurt yourself every step of the way. You never know when you will unexpectedly step in a deep mud hole, and every obstacle offers the potential for injury. In fact, Samy, one of our team members, sustained a serious arm injury and had to go to the hospital afterwards. He maintained a positive attitude through the hours that he had to wait to go to the hospital. Samy is one Tough Mudder.

I want to thank my team members for helping me get through this incredible challenge: Jen [our awesome team leader], Katie, Godfrey, Samy, and Steven. You all rock!

Tri-State Tough Mudder - October 20, 2012 - After

Clockwise from the left: Samy, Steven, Mark, Godfrey, Katie, and Jen

It ended up taking us 7 long hours to complete the event, but we did it. We didn’t finish nearly as fast as some of the younger, better conditioned participants, but we persisted through sheer determination. Seven hours of being cold, wet, exhausted, uncomfortable, and in pain. Fuck Comfort. This is about being Better. Stronger. Faster.

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