In the beautiful community of Whistler, B.C., on a bright sunny June day, seven determined woman embarked together on a journey that was not for the faint of heart. These women, six from the Barriere area, and one from Williams Lake, not only overcame the physical obstacles thrown at them by the June 22 to 23, Tough Mudder competition, but many personal obstacles as well.
Literally taking the plunge, to travel to and compete in Whistler’s 2013 Tough Mudder competition were; Karen Hill (Williams Lake), Linda Ransome, Peggy Brown, Marilyn Ransome, Sandra Burkholder, Kim McNallie-Law, and Jennifer Amos.
Also on the team were spectator helpers, Brittany Bobinski and Dominica Leuthe; these two ladies held team members gear, took photographs,fed them, helped clean them up, and made sure they all had water and other required necessities.
The Tough Mudder is an obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces. All Tough Mudder events are held to raise money for injured soldiers in the countries where they are held.
The event has become so popular it is now an international competition, with events held in Europe and other continents.
Tough Mudder events have many ex-military who compete in the competition. There are a number of competitors with physical disabilities who also take part – an inspiration to other competitors.
The premise of the Tough Mudder obstacle course is to test your physical and mental grit. Whether you enter as an individual, or as a team, the course is a challenge, not a race; and participants are encouraged to help one another throughout the course.
Groups of individuals enter as a team to combine skills and make sure that the team members, no matter their physical condition or fears, all get to the end of the course, successfully and together.
Team member Sandra Burkholder of Darfield reported, “There were 20 obstacles over 18 km…the terrain was quite varied. At one point we were climbing up the hill where the Olympic ski jumpers came down – very steep. There were three really muddy sections, one was actually a mile long and called the Mile of Mud.
“Our team entered for a variety of reasons. A few of us were already in good physical shape, and we wanted to get into even better condition so we could really attack the course and the obstacles.”
She noted some of the team members used the Tough Mudder as a goal to improve their physical condition over the winter and spring of 2013. They also used the challenge as a way to overcome some of their individual fears, while facing obstacles with fire, electrical shock and heights. For example, one of the obstacles on the course is descriptively called the ‘firewalker’.
“Our shining moment as a team was when one of our members talked about turning around and giving up. The team rallied behind her and got her up one of the toughest climbs; then she was able to easily complete the course,” said Burkholder.
She also commented that while the team was training during the spring, she would occasionally say out loud, “nobody gets left behind”, and that is exactly the way it was.
“We all finished together, with varying degrees of bumps, bruises and fatigue. But no injuries,” said Burkholder, “The whole event was pretty awesome; a real adventure. The course organizers do a good job…there were some amazing obstacles. Each of our team had at least one obstacle (sometimes more) that they were nervous about getting through. Most of us decided to bypass one or more of these obstacles; but by the time we had crossed the finish line each one of us had overcome some of our own personal physical or mental obstacles.”
If you want to learn more about Tough Mudder competitions, go to: www.toughmudder.com