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    SUPPORTING CHILDREN WITH CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE

    June 2013

     

     Tough Mudder by Tom Graham

     

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    To sum it up, Tough Mudder is exactly what it says, it is tough and extremely muddy but also great fun and exhilarating.

     

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    Tough Mudder consists of 12 miles of cross country running with 22 spread out obstacles in between. Obstacles designed to test your mettle and to encourage fun and team work. It is designed not as a timed race but as the ultimate team building exercise and so unless you were born with bionic limbs, it isn't the sort of event you would really want to do by yourself.

     

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    As an example of some of the fun you encounter, you start with a brisk 1/2 mile run up to the first obstacle, a large rectangular tank filled with ice cold water and ice cubes, appropriately named "The Arctic Enema". My god is it cold, not something you really want to start a run with. Going in 3's you jump in and are forced to swim underneath a board dividing the tank in half, once out the other side and with frozen limbs you continue your run to further obstacles that include a wall with hand grips you must scale across (not up), crawl spaces with electric shock cables hanging down (not so kind on big people such as myself), multiple high walls that require help from your team to scale and my personal nemesis - The Mud Mile.

     

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    I won't ruin it for you and tell you where you might encounter it, but lets just say that after running for many considerable miles, being continuously worn down by the previous obstacles, I was met by not one but TWO separate mud mile courses that consist of large mounds of mud piled high for you to climb over. On approach, you think "Oh yeah this will be easy..." think again. With your muscles tightening and cramping in areas, and your hands and feet slipping for grip to pull you over the top of a mud hill that exceeds my height of 6ft 2" this was easily the most soul destroying event for me.

     

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    My training consisted of road running and where I could, circuit training where I would run a mile, then do different variations of weight training before running another mile. My training took a hit when I developed shin splints and definitely reflected when I took part in Tough Mudder. This is definitely not an event you can take lightly when it comes to the training, the obstacles, or indeed the running itself as portions of it involve running through a woodland, the ground is treacherous, caked in so much mud you would need studs and a guide rope to keep you upright if you insist on running it all. The atmosphere is electric and everyone helps everyone, even complete strangers. The sense of comradery is brilliant and it is definitely something I would recommend, especially if fitness challenges is your thing.

     

     

    The funniest thing about all of it is that I would do it again in a heartbeat (with a load more training involved first). My friends convinced me into participating for the event in October 2012, and given how hard it was going to be, there was only one charity that I really wanted to raise money for and that was Amelia Matters. I raised nearly £300 which is equal to one Warfarin Machine, something I'm proud to say I've raised.

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