the Krav Maga team after a river crossing and rope ladder climb

Two days ago I drove 7 1/2 hours round trip to watch my son, Gavin, and his friends run the Tough Mudder Obstacle Course in New Jersey. The two-day event attracted 10-15,000 warriors who each complete the 12-mile run in about 3-4 hours. I’d written about Tough Mudder before, but here I was with a friend following along and avoiding the flying mud splatters as participants tackled various obstacles. Being at events is always more exciting and messy than experiencing them via computer/TV.

How did the donkey see?

The biggest problem was finding my son and his eight friends, because spectators can’t access all 22 obstacles, and the runners are moving much faster than we walking onlookers. Then most participants wore black. A few people wear costumes and outlandish outfits for fun that distinguishes them. I saw a donkey head, men in pink tutus, someone with deer antlers, a guy in a superman suit. Of course all these items are quickly covered in mud. It’s called a Tough MUDDER for a reason. My boy made it easier by wearing yellow shorts and a Russian, Cossack-style, cold weather hat with earlaps that also has a stuffed penguin sewn on top. He stood out pretty well, because he is 6 1/2 feet tall without the hat, which he manufactured and sells. But finding the group more than once was still my biggest challenge of the day.

One of his teammates easy to spot was a young red-haired woman in a greenish-blue, teal-colored shirt. Her name is Amy Serfass, and she is a fitness trainer as well. All the team members study or teach the deadly Israeli martial art, Krav Maga. No wonder they felt strong enough to take on this course.

many people fall in the mud crossing the Peg Legs

a 15-foot jump into mud

On the other hand, there were a few people who were not in the best shape. I saw some who were fat or even obese. At one place where there was a rope ladder, they simply walked around. I bet there were other obstacles that they and others who were thinner couldn’t complete. But it was admirable to see them trying. A way to lose some poundage and build up confidence. Just walking 12 miles through that mud is a real achievement. One frightened woman sat for 10 minutes on a 15-foot-high platform called Walk the Plank before jumping into a mud hole. Her teammates’ urgings and yells helped her make the leap.

The pictures are of my son’s group and a couple of random shots from the day.

Everest: No Quit In Here...a half pipe that's hell to climb in muddy shoes when you are exhausted so people slide down many times