Last weekend, I was part of Team Maximum Potential Calisthenics, who participated in the annual Tough Mudder (TM) event on the Sydney central coast. This was my 3rd year, which is an achievement in itself, considering how much effort Dave from MPC put in to get me into the event in the first place 2 years ago. I severely dislike all trail or off-road running. Outdoors and I don’t mix well, so the prospect of 19-20 km wading through mud and climbing over walls and through tunnels understandably didn’t entice me much. After much convincing and mainly to shut him up, I agreed to join Dave for TM in 2013, out at Eastern Creek … and we had a blast.
It is truly a unique event. The emphasis is 100% on having fun and for most people, finishing is an achievement. There is no looking at the clock, checking your km splits or worrying about your pace. People mostly run in teams and the sense of comradery is everywhere; everyone helping and encouraging strangers, pushing them along the course and over obstacles, working together both mentally and physically. Rarely is it more acceptable to grab a stranger’s butt and give them a shove than at Tough Mudder, and they will likely thank you for it.
As much as it is a fun event, a base level of fitness is important. There is a lot of running between obstacles, so if you want to finish before sunset, you keep moving, there’s no dawdling. The terrain can be rough, so ankles and knees take a pounding and scratches/bruises are the norm. Each obstacle has a bypass lane, but the aim is, of course, to complete them. There is no shame in getting help; in fact, several obstacles are not possible to do solo.
I can say with full conviction that the last several years of calisthenics training with Dave at MPC have been enormously helpful and made a big difference on the weekend. Having worked on upper body strength and explosive power, the obstacles that were really hard 2 years ago, are now substantially easier. Scaling the Berlin Walls is now mostly effortless; the half pipe (Everest) doesn’t seem so high anymore and the dreaded monkey bars and King of the Rings are scaled with ease.
The highlights of Tough Mudder in Sydney were watching Dave conquer his demon from 2014, the dreaded Leap of Faith (he’ll be happy to tell you that the first time, he jumped high enough, but somehow forgot how to close his hands and grab onto the rope); and a face plant on the Everest … again. Watching our 3rd compatriot, Ronan, collapse in a heap during the final Electroshock Therapy obstacle was worth the entry price.
For anyone wanting a physical challenge and to have a great day out with your friends, I highly recommend it. See you in 2016!