Story and photos by Andrea Sutherland
“If I don’t throw up on this thing, I will be disappointed in myself,” said 1st Lt. Tim Palmer as he prepared for the start of Tough Mudder, a nine-mile obstacle course set in the Rocky Mountains.
“I’m going to bite one of those live wires,” Palmer said, referring to “Electroshock Therapy,” an obstacle that sends runners through a live wire field that can deliver 10,000-volt shocks.
“I’m going to ‘Tarzan’ through them,” 1st Lt. Keith Fine said. “I’m going to one-up you every time.”
Fine, Palmer and five other Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, joined forces to tackle 25 obstacles throughout the course, which had a 4,250-foot change in elevation.
Athletes charged steep hills, crawled through mud pits and snow fields and swam through frigid waters. Obstacles included the “Chernobyl Jacuzzi,” “Turd’s Nest,” “Sweaty Yeti” and “Greased Lightning,” a giant slide down one of Beaver Creek’s ski runs.
“As soon as I heard these guys talking about (Tough Mudder), I was in,” said Capt. Seth Allen. “Something like this, it’s easier to do with more people than just yourself.”
“It was for a good cause, the Wounded Warrior Project,” said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Simer. “I wanted to do it for the camaraderie. I wanted to do it with my friends.”
Tough Mudder officials claim the event is “Ironman meets Burning Man” and obstacles are designed by British Special Forces. The event began in 2010 and raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project. In its first year,
Tough Mudder raised more than $700,000 for the nonprofit.
“That is such a raw event,” said 1st Lt. Travis Wright. “Never have I been so happy something was over. It was tougher than I thought it would be.”
“My manhood was left in the lake,” said 2nd Lt. Timothy Myers. “That water was so (expletive) cold.”
For Simer, overcoming muscle fatigue and cramps at the end of the race proved most challenging.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I don’t think you can expect it unless you’ve done it before.”
Nine thousand participants competed in Saturday and Sunday’s event. Tough Mudder officials estimated nearly 20 percent of participants were military.
“I’m not going to say I’m the toughest mudder,” Palmer said. “But I’m definitely top three.”
Although tired, many competitors said they would take part in the event again.
Fort Carson’s Hero Series offers several multi-discipline challenges including the July 16 Turkey Creek Ranch Mountain Bike Race and Trail Run; the Aug. 27 Triathlon; and a Sept. 17 Adventure Race and Mystery Endurance Challenge. Visit http://www.mwrfortcarson.com/recreation-and-sports.php for more information.
Colorado hosts several adventure races throughout the summer including the July 9 Adventure Xstream Summit County in Frisco, a 12-hour race that encompasses rappelling, rock scrambling, zip lining and kayaking; the July 16 Rampart Rage Adventure Race in Woodland Park, which includes orienteering, mountain biking and Tyrolean traverse; and the Aug. 14 Muddy Buddy in Boulder, a mud-run and obstacle course that is slightly tamer than the Tough Mudder.