Lessons Found in the Mud

It’s no secret that the favorite race I’ve ever done has been the Tough Mudder. It’s the one that started this whole journey and transformed me into something that remotely resembles a runner. Everytime I step on that Philly Mudder course, I get just as hyped as I did the first time. It’s equal parts exhilarating and terrifying (at least when it comes to any water obstacle). And with each passing year, I’m bringing more people along for the ride. Shout Out to Team Maximum Effort and #RandomJason for making Tough Mudder Philly 2019 the best yet. Though, I can’t say that this was the best ever solely because I brought my big brother and some of my best friends along for the muddy ride this time around. What made this go-around special was volunteering for the Sunday Mudder.

I had limited expectations for what volunteering at the Tough Mudder would ultimately look like. You see the MVPs on the course, and you see them helping out runners along the way. But it’s one thing to see and interact with the MVPs as a runner and another thing entirely to be an MVP. There’s something fulfilling about being an MVP and still getting about as muddy as I did on Saturday.

I was stationed at the obstacle Skidmarked. For those of you sane people out there that haven’t put yourselves through this muddy crucible, Skidmarked are three angled walls that you have to get over any way you can. In a perfect world, it’s essentially a simple pull-up/muscle up and over the wall and you’re done in about 5-8 seconds flat. But considering a large majority of those running Mudders on a Sunday afternoon are not the epitome of Crossfit Jesus stereotype, a little help is usually required. Most of the time, that help comes in the form of fellow Mudders giving each other a boost and a safe yet hearty push over the top. But when there’s a lull and the group at the obstacle isn’t that big, I was more than happy to lend a helping boost.

I’m being completely honest here, helping as many people over that wall, some on the verge of giving up and skipping the obstacle altogether, reaffirmed why I love this race and why it was worth all of the sunburn. It’s one thing to be running the race and helping your fellow Mudders get through obstacles. That’s part of the mission statement of the entire event. But those that take the time out of their daily lives to come down and help make sure that not only the race runs smoothly, but that as many people as possible finishes whatever obstacle is in front of them and moves onto the next one ready to punch it in the face, that makes me want to keep coming back for more of the shenanigans. And considering I saw a couple people wind up completely inverted on Skidmarked, shenanigans are part of the experience. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ll see you in Pittsburgh, Tough Mudder.  

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