It’s referred to as the toughest event on the planet, and for good reason.
The Tough Mudder, designed by British Special Forces, tests competitors’ strength, stamina, mental fortitude and camaraderie through 10 miles of obstacles.
For several Williams Lake teams, all of this will come into question this Saturday, June 23 when they join 16,000 other competitors at Whistler’s Olympic Park to participate in the event — the first of three Canada-wide stops this summer.
The Williams Lake Fire Department, Concrete Fitness and a team of teachers, family members and friends, are just three of several groups from the lakecity participating.
Steve Dickens, Bobbie Dickens, Jason Greig, Brooke Greig, Becky Abrahams, Kevin Ernst and Shane Elzinga form one of teams.
Steve said they’re not exactly sure what to expect, but have been preparing for some extremely challenging scenarios.
“The one thing I understand about the Tough Mudder is there is no winner and there is no official times given,” Steve said. “It’s more of a team process where you’re lucky just to make it through with your team and to complete all the obstacles.”
Steve added the course consists of about 25 obstacles, including two secret obstacles, which will likely be situated on two Whistler ski runs.
“The two mystery obstacles on two hills — I think one may be where competitors have to carry logs up a hill, but they’re ski runs. A little mud could play a really big part in that.”
In preparation his team completed its own mini-mudder at Steve’s in-laws.
“Bob and Lorrie Greig, who live out on English Road, they set up a course on the hill out there so we ran our team through, just so we could all meet and get to know each other,” he said. “We did log carrying, crawling through skinny culverts and mud bogs, walking on ropes, scaling walls and all that. So it was pretty cool.”
The WLFD’s team of Alain Lachapelle, Spring Wiebe, Kevin Holling, Tallon Rolston, Troy Feist, Rayna Carpenter, Trevor Schick, Ed Ma, Russ Brown, Andy Wiebe, Bob Campbell, Bonnie Gillis, Ryan Grove, Steve Carpenter and Tanya Kielpenski have been training near the River Valley Trail in Williams Lake.
“We made a loop down there that incorporated crawling, climbing over logs, going through the river and going up hills,” Rayna said. “It’s about eight- to nine-kilometres and we’ve done that a couple of times. We’ve also hiked out at the end of Westridge and gone out past the power lines, then back around, which is about 15 kilometres.”
Rayna said her teammates initially thought she was out of her mind when she suggested competing in the Tough Mudder.
“The day I went into the fire department and suggested we put a team in, I think every single one of those people called me crazy,” she joked. “But I started e-mailing and sending them links and slowly got more to join. It was fun forming this team.”
Concrete Fitness’s team of Brian Doering, Stefan Hoelzler, Kim Colgate, Cher Sytsma, Mike Lenz, Don Lecomte, Jay Cheek, Brett Cheek, Kristen McDonald, Mike McDonald, Tyler Hamm and Arron Delay, was formed around New Year’s.
Sytsma said she’d seen some adds on Facebook and thought it would be fun. Soon after her brother, Tyler, asked if she wanted to start a team.
“I thought he was crazy,” Sytsma said. “But I started asking around at Concrete Fitness where I work and some people there said they’d love to do it.”
All of the teams participating this weekend have at least one thing in common — they all want to start as a team and finish as a team.
“Our main goal is to at least attempt every obstacle and finish,” Sytsma said. “We know it’s not a race. It’s something we intend to do together and help each other through.”
For more visit www.toughmudder.com.