Getting Muddy For Money

Are you tough enough?

The email flashed tantalizingly in the right hand corner of my screen

ToughMudder – Are you tough enough?

I couldn’t resist a peak. And that’s where it all started. The gauntlet had been laid down.

The request had gone out for volunteers to form a team to tackle a 12 mile course, with 22 obstacles thrown in for good measure … oh, and then there was the mud. So to cut a long story, and several hours’ worth of training, short a few months later I found myself driving through the back gate of Boughton Park on a cold, grey Saturday morning on the 4th May, ready to meet up with my fellow ToughMudder team mates. There was no turning back now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere we were, the Wyndham Warriors, 4 ladies and 6 men, ready to do battle with the course, the English weather (more on that later) and miles of deep, slippery, wet mud. You may be thinking that this couldn’t possibly be well subscribed, but so popular was the event that the 10,000 entrants had to start in different waves. We were reminded that this was a challenge, not a race. After a pre-start warm-up and a fancy dress competition, which featured, amongst others, a Ninja Turtle and some Braveheart Scotsmen, we were off, accompanied by Eye of the Tiger.

It wasn’t long before the first obstacle loomed up in front of us: Arctic Enema, a tank full of ice cold water and ice cubes, with a bar right through the middle, forcing you to submerge your head under water. Feeling somewhat refreshed, we ran on to do battle with the next one, which was appropriately named Kiss of Mud. This entailed crawling under wire through slick mud, followed by Walk the Plank – jumping from a platform 15feet up into … you guessed it … muddy water.

Hero_WallsOther obstacles included scrambling over walls (Glory Blades, Berlin Walls), leaping over a fire pit (Firewalk), jumping over a series of trenches (Dirty Ballerina), and crawling through pipes partially submerged in water (Trench Warfare). And then there was the mud. Two separate miles of mud fields with muddy water often reaching waist height: the weather wasn’t on our side either. Back when I had volunteered, I envisioned a bright spring day, but here we were running through a hail storm, followed by torrential rain. This was turning into a tough ToughMudder.  One positive point – at least the mud fields provided a bit of warmth.

More obstacles followed: Human Gecko – using hand and foot grips to walk across a wall – one slip and you plummeted into a trough of water … ice cold, of course; Funky Monkey – get to feel like a kid again hanging from bars, which were slippery and prone to dropping you into the muddy cold water below; Log Jamming – where you had to Electrocross over, under or through several barriers of 20ft logs; and not forgetting the perennial favourites Electric Eel and Electro Therapy, where you had to crawl and run through two courses with hanging wires, which were electrically charged at around 10,000 volts. Delivering more than a slight tingle when you got hit, several people were thrown to the ground with the force.

The mud was not only something to contend with over the obstacles, but also on the few miles of forest paths where, in places, it was so slippery that runners were holding on to trees, plants and even each other to stay upright.

EverestThe end was finally in sight – Everest – consisting of a concave, slippery 20+ft high wall, which required a long run-in and help from some strong arms, but was not conquered by many (including me), but marked almost the end of a memorable achievement for the Wyndham Warriors.

And so to the rewards: a welcome space blanket, a bright orange ToughMudder headband and a pint of cider, but the best reward was yet to come. You see we hadn’t just done this for our own glory (and pain); we were also raising money for the Help For Heroes Charity, H4Hwhich supports soldiers who have been injured in service. Our final total was £775, so a big thankyou to all our colleagues, families and friends.

Would we all do it again? On this the team is split. Some have already registered for next year’s event. Me? I’ve had my moment of toughness and more than enough mud to last me a lifetime, but am I glad I did it? You bet!

If anyone would still like to donate to our charity page,the address is

Kristi Nicholls