On June 5 2022 I participated in my fifth Tough Mudder.
I hadn’t planned on it but friends who were running invited me to go along with them.
It was tough. But not in the way you might assume.
A Tough Mudder is an endurance event where people traverse obstacles along a 10-to-12-mile-long course. The first Tough Mudder was organized in 2010. I did my first Tough Mudder in 2012.
Over the years, a number of competing “races” started and ended. All designed to make a 5K (or longer) more fun. There were races with a firefighting theme, there were races where you ran through foam, and there were races where you got covered with colored powder. There were even “races” that included brain-teaser puzzles, scavenger hunts, and the occasional zombie who would chase you through the woods.
Brian Stephens — A Closet Tough Mudder
Brian Stephens and I did a number of these races. From the Tough Mudders to Warrior Dashes to the Expedition Everest Challenge (an obstacle treasure hunt through Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park in the middle of the night).
I remember the first time Brian joined me in one of these events. I told him beforehand what I have told other friends who joined me (and eventually us): the most important measure of success is completing the course (and the day) without any injuries, followed by having fun.
My most vivid memories of Brian are cemented in these kinds of races: from Brian doing a race just days after surgery on his right hand, to Brian spending time at the top of a challenging element helping others who were struggling, to Brian laughing like a little boy on the playground while going down a two-story water slide into mud.
Brian came to exemplify the spirit of a Tough Mudder as embodied in the Tough Mudder pledge that is said before every event at the starting line: