Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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October 21, 2012

Tough enough for Tough Mudder

MAYSVILLE — It was cold, hilly and of course, muddy on Saturday when 7,400 participants from across the region and country descended on Maysville to tackle a 12-mile Tough Mudder obstacle course at the Big Rock Off Road Park.

Already billed as “probably the toughest event on the planet,” Saturday’s chilly October weather, along with the park’s steep terrain, combined to create one of the toughest courses yet, according to experienced participants and organizers.

The course featured 23 unique military-style obstacles with names like Artic Enema, Fire Walker and Electric Eel.  In each of these three respective obstacles, “Mudders,” as participants are called, plunged into a dumpster loaded with ice then submerged themselves under a barbwire barrier, jumped over mud-pits surrounded by burning straw and then crawled through watery mud under electrically charged wires.

Since its inception in 2010, Tough Mudder has held more than 40 events around the world that have attracted more than half a million participants and raised more than $3.7 million for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Tough Mudder is not a race, its organizers insist, but a challenge. According to its motto, it is designed to test “strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. The goal is not to finish first but to overcome fears and finish the course.

The event lived up to its reputation, according to local Mudders. Dozens made the trip Saturday to participate.

David Johnson, 41, of Ashland, tackled Tough Mudder with 10 other teammates on Saturday, including his wife, Missy.

 “We had a blast,” said Johnson, early Sunday. “The temperature was the hardest thing. I’m sure almost everyone would say that — just trying to stay not even comfortable, just not being so cold. It was so cold and wet,” he said.

Four of Johnson’s team members bowed out during the course due to hypothermia and other injuries but seven pushed through to finish.

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Wendy Sparks

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