It’s cold and windy outside. You’re shivering from swimming through a dumpster of ice water, and as you run, your feet are sinking into inches of mud. The miles ahead are filled with even more mud and even more obstacles. Sound like a good way to spend your Fall Break?
It does if you’re Rebecca Dalton, sophomore teaching English as a second language major. Some students use Fall Break as a way to get much needed rest. Dalton, however, chose to spend hers running a grueling 11-mile obstacle course known as the Tough Mudder in Montgomery City, Missouri.
“I did a half marathon last year, and I wanted something else to keep me in shape that wasn’t just running,” Dalton said. “This sounded more fun, because the running is broken up by obstacles.” She completed the course in approximately four hours.
The 20 obstacles scattered throughout the course were designed to test a participant’s strength, endurance and stamina. This included an arctic plunge, an army crawl through mud and monkey bars that hung over a pit of water. It rained for several days leading up to the race, which only intensified the difficulty of the mud-slicked challenges.
“The artic plunge was so horrible . . . I could feel my muscles freezing up as soon as I jumped in, and I knew I just had to get out of there,” she said.
Some obstacles required teamwork among participants to complete. For instance, one challenge required scaling a wall, so several racers formed a human chain for those around them to climb up.
“The wall was cool because you had to stop and help each other,” said Dalton. “It really wasn’t a race at all . . . the challenge was to finish the course, because most people can’t even do that, so everyone was helping everyone.”
Another obstacle involved repeatedly climbing up mounds of dirt and sliding into pits of mud.
“At that point, you were so covered in layers of mud that you didn’t even care,” Dalton said.
Dalton had been training for the Tough Mudder since August. She prepared for the course by running an average of 30 miles a week to build endurance, as well as doing workouts focused on building strength several times a week.
“I’m so glad I did it . . . the feeling of accomplishment was incredible,” she said. “It was exhausting but really, really fun. I would definitely do it again.”