Monday, 1 June 2015

I survived Tough Mudder and loved it

On the 2nd May, myself and twelve others from Dawn Breakers had an amazing day at Tough Mudder London West (Henley-on-Thames) which involved 10.8 miles of mud, hills, water, ice, monster obstacles and electric shocks.
Warning - long post... 

What is it? 
'Tough Mudder is a team-orientated 10-12 mile (18-20 km) obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit. Tough Mudder puts camaraderie over finished rankings and is not a timed race but a team challenge that allows participants to experience exhilarating, yet safe, world-class obstacles they won't find anywhere else'. 

1. First up is a wooden wall to get over to the start line - members of our team kindly helped us with a boost up.
2. Skidmarked
A ten-foot wooden wall angled toward you - we worked well together with people hanging from the top to help you up.
3. Arctic Enema 2.0
Down a short slide, under a chain-link fence, and into freezing cold ice water - not too bad at first, but the shock set in after submerging again to go under a beam. 
4. Birth Canal
Crawl under a deceptively heavy, water-filled liner - tougher than I expected and luckily Simon was on hand to help drag me out at the end. 
5. Bale bonds
One of the easiest ones, just bales of hay to get over.
6. Quagmire
Climb down to wade across a stretch of muddy water - quite pleasant after Arctic Enema.
7. Hero Carry
Take turns carrying another team member for a distance - not bad as there wasn't too much of a size difference with my partner (compared with Simon and Caroline).
8. Sewer Rat
Crawl through a pipe and climb down into an area of thick mud - not bad, but I was glad to be able to encourage one of our team members who wasn't a fan of this.
9. Crybaby
An enclosed structure filled with a safe tear gas-like substance with logs to climb over - I actually found the gas quite pleasant and it cleared my bunged up nose a bit...
10. Pyramid Scheme
As the name suggests, it's all about forming a pyramid and helping to boost others up - quite tricky as not much grip.
11. Haha Ditch
A ditch to climb into and out.
12. Kiss of Mud 2.0
Crawling with barbed wire overhead with some muddy trenches and hale bales to navigate.
13. The Liberator
A ten-foot A-frame to be climbed up using pegs slotted into holes with not much for a foothold - a tough one and luckily a team member helped to haul me up near the top.
14. Mud Mile 2.0
Waist-deep water with mounds of mud to climb up and down - I loved this one!
15. Hold Your Wood 2.0
Your team carries a massive log around a course and over walls.
16. King of the Swingers
Swing off a ledge to try to reach out to ring a bell before landing in water - I was nowhere near the bell and the impact of falling in the water was quite a shock. 
17. Killa Gorilla
From looking at videos, I was expecting to run up and down a super muddy hill multiple times, but the course instead wound up and down some steep hills instead. 
18. Funky Monkey 2.0
Monkey bars over water with a trapeze and pipe to climb at the end - I've been working on my upper body strength, but bodged it on the day, slipping off and hitting the starting platform before falling in the water. A bit stunned and winded (bruises to come later), but able to carry on.
19. Hero Walls
Two ten-foot wooden walls - I admit I was still a little shaky after my fall, so I came pretty close to wanting to miss the second one. However, we all got over.
20. Devil's Beard
Cargo nets to crawl under. 
21. Everest 2.0
A curved ramp/pipe that you need to run up to to reach up to people hanging over the top - I can't find anything about how big this is, but it is huge! I got up on the fifth attempt and wasn't giving up. 
22. Electroshock Therapy
Wires hanging down that you run through with small bales of hay to get over - the first shocks felt more like static electricity, but the final biggie got me in the neck which flung my head back. I managed to keep going though to help encourage other team members through. 
Obstacles I could have happily missed out
The second Hero Wall (see above), and King of the Swingers as I had just dried off and warmed up.

Toughest thing of the day
Being cold.

How fit do you need to be?
There's some useful info at and I would recommend working on your upper body strength and you do need to be doing some training beforehand. However, your team will work together and it's not a race.

What to wear
I'd recommend a tight fitting long sleeve top and running tights, and old trainers you don't mind ruining. There are mixed opinions about wearing gloves. I didn't wear mine and was fine, but others found they were helpful. I wouldn't recommend wearing glasses due to the water and mud. I wore contacts and put on swimming goggles for the times when I knew I would be submerged.

What to take 
Photo ID, ticket, signed waiver form, change of clothes, towel, money including £3 for the bag drop, plastic bags for wet clothes. Some snacks for afterwards, but the water stations also provided some. 

What I loved 
Helping other people and being in a team with such wonderful people. It's really well organised with a great atmosphere and everyone is very helpful. The event has helped show me how much my fitness has improved and it was a perfect balance between being tough and fun.

A HUGE thanks to Hutchy, Jo, Simon, Jenni, Helen, Olly, Stef, Angela, Caroline, Mandy, Ivor and Charlie for being such awesome teammates! And thanks to Spencer for driving and being our support team.