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Tat Mudders take up challenge

A group of local boot campers took part in the Tough Mudder event on January 19 and 20.

JODI MUTTON February 6, 2013 1:10am

Tat has some Tough Mudders with 31 locals competing at the Phillip Island event on the weekend of January 19-20


What do you do to work off the festive season’s over-indulgence?

A group of local boot campers took on Phillip Island’s Tough Mudder on January 19 and 20.

The group, known as Tat Mudders, was made of up several of Simon Gilboy’s Roarfit boot camp group, along local with football club trainers and friends of participants.

The idea to enter this year’s event was put to several of the team last year by Damian Smith, who completed the event last year.

The teamended up with 31 participants.

Two training sessions were organised before the event, with participants getting a taste of running 20kmwith exercises to challenge.

One of the sessions was run by Damian, which included puzzles and challenges along the way.

Thanks goes to Sonyia DeCicco for organising accommodation at Phillip Island for the participants, their families and supporters.

Carmel Basile and Jodi Mutton organised the team’s tops and the end result was a team of Tat Mudders looking great in orange/grey singlets.

 

Start time for Tat Mudders was 8.45am on the Saturday, with Jen and Grace Lovel and Katie Thorn starting a couple of hours earlier. These three women did an awesome job, and finished the course just before the main 8.45am group.

With our ‘‘official’’ photographer Adriana Leocata ready to capture our challenge and with the spectators pumped to cheer us on, 8.45am arrived and we took our Tough Mudder pledge.

Tough Mudder was a challenge in all aspects — physically, mentally, in stamina, strength and most important, teamwork.

The course is 20km and has 19 obstacles strategically set out across uneven terrain, with a picturesque view along the way.

Adam, Semmo, Frank and Susan decided to tackle the course aggressively and were off at the starting gun. They were aiming to be part of the main group’s cheer squad at the finish line (and they were), finishing the course in just under three hours.

The first obstacle was designed to prepare us mentally for the challenges that lay ahead.

It was aptly known as Arctic Enema (ice-cold water). There was no tiptoeing through this challenge; you had to jump in, duck under and get out as fast as possible.

We learned why it is Tough Mudder as we made our way along the 20km course. We were faced with eight-foot walls, belly-crawled through mud under barbed wire, crawled under live wires, in pipes, up and over muddy and slippery trenches — just to name a few.

Tat Mudders showed great resilience, camaraderie, stamina and mental toughness as every obstacle was tackled.

Everyone at some stage over the course was forced to step outside their comfort zone in facing fears — from jumping off a 15-foot platform into water, to crawling through pitch black trenches or climbing the ladder from hell.

With each obstacle, there was a hand, a voice, a cheer to get us through. It didn’t matter if you were in the Tat Mudder team or a complete stranger, no-one was left to tackle the obstacles on their own.

There was laughing (at each other, usually), tears, sweat and mental grit showing through.

Toilet stops were spread out over the 20km, with some going a lot more than others. Drink stops and even banana stops (my highlight) were also offered.

Pete Leahy and Damian Smith needed the first-aid tent for a couple of unexpected injuries.

If the group started to separate on the running leg, a call out of ‘‘Tat Mudders’’ meant to slow down for fellow team members to catch up.

Stretching exercises at stops helped ease the muscle soreness.

The strength of our male teammates pulled us through obstacle after obstacle.

At times when it was tough and we just needed that little bit extra — and then Gilly, Josie, Mark Dighton and Damian would rev us up.

As we neared the finish line, the adrenalin kicked in and just two obstacles stood between us and our bright orange headband, Tough Mudder T-shirt and and ice-cold beer.

Everest, a quarter-pipe, required participants to sprint up and reach for that helping hand to get to the top. Tat Mudders had the best helping hands — Rod, Brad, Sam, Fred, Damian, Mark and Haseeb were not going to let us down.

Watching Rocket Rod take on Everest in one foul swoop gave us that inner strength to defeat our own inner demons and conquer Everest.

Then, there was just one more obstacle before we could earn the right to say we conquered Tough Mudder 2013 — and Electroshock Therapy was a field of live wires.

With no time for reflection, it was a case of sprint through, jump over a hay bale and hope not to slip in the mud and receive more shocks.

At the last obstacle, there were three moments that stood out for all of the Tat Mudders:

Josie, affectionately known as ‘‘J-Cat’’, had been our encourager over the 20km. She met every obstacle with determination, but electroshock was not just any obstacle. Josie, running through, took on the live wires, but one shock to the back saw her face-plant into the mud. But with the same determination, Josie got up and laughed (everyone watching was laughing too) and got through to the end.

Eva Finster knew that Tough Mudder wanted to beat her. Overcoming the fear was a challenge, but teammate Louisa Scrimizzi was not going to let Eva go it alone. After already running through once, Louisa went back to the start and stood with Eva — ‘‘We will do this together,’’ she said — and they beat the Electroshock Therapy obstacle.

 

As Eva was contemplating the live wires, there were two other Tat Mudders standing with her, Brad W and Mark Wilson. This was not the first time Brad and Mark had been at the back, this was the 19th time. They ran at the back throughout the challenge, they made sure that everyone had gone through each obstacle before they went on.

Brad and Mark then finished their last obstacle and lived up to our motto — ‘‘No Mudder Left Behind’’.

This is what Tough Mudder is about, it is not racing against each other, it is not leaving someone behind who may or may not be struggling, it is about doing what you need to do to get your team through.

Well done Tat Mudders, you have all achieved so much and I am proud and honoured to be part of the team.

To our spectators who walked, supported, cheered and laughed around the course with all the Tat Mudders, you were brilliant.

As someone said afterwards, ‘‘No spectator Mudder was left behind’’.

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