Russ St. Hilaire has completed three Tough Mudder challenges in one year

Russ wrote yesterday about why he was attracted to this obstacle course. Think you are ready for it?

So let me give you a brief description of the fun. Lets start with taking your Tough Mudder pledge (look it up at www.toughmudder.com ). Then out the gate and run up a long hill. Down the other side and across a river. Up a full ski slope on a mountain—with the snow makers turned on—keeping you nice and soaked. Jump into an ice bath four feet deep and swim under a wall and out the other side. Run down the mountain—run up the mountain. Hang upside down from a rope and cross a large pond. Climb up the mountain again. Crawl under barbed wire in the mud. Climb through sewer pipes down into a pond. Cross some water under more barbed wire and go back up the hill in another sewer pipe. Run through the woods. Use a rope to climb a tower and then jump out of the tower into a freezing lake. Swim out. Go up the mountain half way—grab a 30-40 lb log and finish going up the mountain. Run down through fields of mud. Splash into a pool of water and mud and slosh through it while electric fence wires zap you on your back. Get out and run. Crawl through a zigzag of underground tunnels. Run through the woods and down a river with logs and barbed wire across it. Run back up the mountain while people with large water cannons try to blast your legs from under you. Run through a gauntlet of burning hay bails and inhale rancid smoke while tripping in the mud. Cross a huge jumble of giant logs and then run a hillside of tires, stepping in and out of each one. Run down a hill and try to run up a half pipe and pull yourself over the top. And finish the day with running through a tunnel of electric fence wires, while climbing over hay bails and through the mud—being shocked the whole way.

Here is Russ conquering one of the course obstacles in the video above. You can see and hear that it is a team effort. And you can imagine the effort and strain it takes to reach the other side.

Now doesn’t that sound like fun! And I probably left out some obstacles. And what do you get for your suffering—a terry-cloth headband with the words Tough Mudder on it and a beer and a T-shirt. But those three small things are treasured items! So treasured that people wear those orange headbands to work! They are prized items, because finishers are in an elite crowd that have proved to themselves and others that they ARE Tough Enough to finish a challenge like that. So tough that I have seen people crawl through the finish line with injured knees, or carried through the finish line with broken legs. I have literally seen plenty of blood, sweat, and tears on that course. But when you are done—other challenges in your life seem small and easily surmountable.

This is why I do the Tough Mudder. It may have started out as just a challenge and a way to prove to myself that being 50 wasn’t going to stop me. But it turned into something much more.

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