So we did it! Last Sunday over 500 of us from Team PDF set of to Punchestown at 5am to take on the toughest obstacle course in the world and in the process ended up raising over €120,000 for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland! It’s pretty amazing what a group of like-minded people from a relatively small area can achieve.
The day started with everyone checking in and then running around trying to braid each others hair, duct tape their shoes on, scrawl over each others faces with permanent marker and then fling whoever was closest to you over a 5 foot wall to get the start line. Once inside and huddled together with the absolute fear of the unknown we got into beast mode with a few “hooraaaas” and a pep talk from a man who has done 50 (yes not a typo…) Tough Mudders, including the one the day before where he injured his leg and ended up in hospital for 5 hours yet he still wanted to do it again! After hearing that and taking the Tough Mudder oath there was absolutely no turning back and we set off…looking a bit apprehensive…
|Taking the Tough Mudder Oath|
|Looking slightly scared…|
|Obviously at this stage I was oblivious to what was ahead!|
The first stage was a long run, the first of many long runs…and I’m not a runner.. We eventually got to the first obstacle which was called Dirty Ballerina – a series of 5 foot wide and 5 foot deep trenches that you have to either leap over or climb in and out of..we just option number two after some inspiring words from the steward telling us we’d be better off not breaking our legs on the first obstacle…So with one obstacle down we next took on Creek Crusade and Glory Blades (a series of 8 foot high walls) until we reached Arctic Enema and this happened…
|Top left: Cage Crawl, bottom left: Electoshock therapy, top right: Everest, bottom right: Balls to the Wall.|
The major message behind Tough Mudder is that you compete as part of a team and you help and encourage all those around you whether you know them or not and that really is what makes it so special and enjoyable. When you are at mile 8 and you’re cold and tired and you don’t have someone beside you encouraging you and making you laugh then unless you have a screw loose somewhere you’re not going to enjoy this 😉 Apart from being helped along by everyone I met in an orange pdf4cf t-shirt I was lucky enough to be part of an amazing sub group that from start to finish stuck together, motivated each other and had absolutely no issues with throwing each other over walls or pushing each other over in Creek Crusade and Mud Mile!!
|Some of Team PDF4CF|
I think the last few miles were the most challenging. You knew you were near the end and you were close to getting a nice cold beer but you also knew that the small matter of Everest and 10,000V of electric shocks were standing in the way and getting imminently closer…Everest was even bigger than the pictures made it out to be! Queuing to take it on while watching people falling or being dragged over the top by three or four people made it even scarier but in my head I was like yeah I can totally do this…So I finally plucked up the courage to go for it and I just remember feeling like I was sprinting like Usain Bolt with the crowd all cheering and the people at the top with their arms outstretched waiting to catch me…and then falling flat on my face not even a quarter of the way up the ramp and having to get up and turn around, head down hoping nobody saw (as if) and walking back into the crowd…bruised knees and ego 😉
So after that little incident not even electric wires were going to stop me from getting my headband and drink, although they did come pretty close! These were a b***h although can we just spare a moment for the unfortunate few who actually fell half way through and were stuck lying in mud getting shocked whether they lay there or tried to get up!
Even though it’s been a week and looking back on what we actually all did I would say that we’re bordering on crazy, especially as we’ve already signed up for another one, the feeling you get when you cross the finish line with your team makes it all worth it…nawwww