Echuca resident Jim Avard recently finished 22nd in the World’s Toughest Mudder in Englishtown.
If a 30-hour flight to New York without sleep is tough, then a 24-hour slog through 100km of mud and electrical wires, among other obstacles, must be near-on torture.
That was the reality for Echuca resident Jim Avard, who finished 22nd in the World’s Toughest Mudder in Englishtown, in the US state of New Jersey recently.
Avard and 1096 other athletes from around the world were greeted by sunshine and a brisk 4°C before reciting the Tough Mudder creed on one knee.
At 10am, the athletes took to the 16km course, which included road, bush, swamps and obstacles like the ‘Electrical Eel’ — a crawl through 10,000 volt wires — as well as avoiding 10kg blocks of concrete, one of which Avard copped to the head.
While the Echuca paramedic was protected by his wetsuit, the many water immersions and decreasing cold temperatures saw the garment torn to shreds by the end of the race.
Avard was joined by a Canadian whom he met before the event and shared the same goal as he — to finish the race.
The two athletes ran at a conservative pace as they completed each lap in about three hours, while being checked up on by medics to make sure they were healthy enough to complete another lap.
Temperatures dipped below -3°C during the night and before too long there was about 200 athletes left competing.
Mud started to freeze and Avard’s refuelling foods of Coke, fruit and water had also frozen.
Competitors could be seen shivering uncontrollably in front of heaters in first-aid tents, succumbing to hypothermia.
But as the race dragged on through the night the toughest mudders willed each other along, with Avard describing the camaraderie as ‘‘palpable’’ and ‘‘humbling’’.
He said the idea of the event was not about winning, but finishing.
By the time 10am rolled around, Avard had finished second in his age group, but, more importantly, was one of 140 competitors to have completed the course.
He thanked his friends and family, who sent through messages of support during the race, which were relayed by his partner, Bec, from the pit crew.
Avard said while his body was battered, his wetsuit torn and toes numb, he had accumulated some unforgettable memories.
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