Play in the mud: Local team of nine faces all kinds of obstacles in Tough Mudder race
Halfway through the Tough Mudder competition last month at Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs, Calif., Aaron Geith stood on a platform more than 15 feet above cold water.
After the rest of his team already jumped into the water, he remained on the platform.
“I froze. I don't like jumping off things,” Geith said about the race on July 7.
With the stairs back down blocked by a flood of other competitors, he had only one way off the platform. He chose to ask the Tough Mudder supervisor working the platform for a little help.
“Before I could even finish the sentence, he pushed me in,” Geith said.
It was one of the light-hearted moments for the team known as “The Desert Dirtbags” — Geith, Lacey Geith, Tawnee Miller, Michael Miller, John Hannon, Mike Hannon, Matt Molenar, Meagan Gomez and Briana Nossaman. The 10-mile race at Snow Volley featured 29 different obstacles, ranging from climbing grease-covered walls, diving into ice-cold water and maneuvering past hanging electric wires that jolt any competitor looking to finally cross the finish line. Tough Mudder has competitions all over the country and even has races in Europe, South Africa, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
“It was everything I expected it to be,” Tawnee Miller said about her first Tough Mudder experience. “Fun, exciting. It felt like we climbed forever.”
For some, the steep climbs of Snow Valley were harder than the obstacle of diving into ice-cold water — the Arctic Enema, as it's called.
“The hard part is walking up a 45-degree slope and really your (steps) are 12 inches at the most,” Michael Miller said.
“It was way harder than I expected,” Geith said about the course. “Going up and down those hills was really gnarly.”
Founded in 2010 by a former counter-terrorism agent in the British government, Tough Mudder has become an increasingly popular alternative to marathons and triathlons. Having run the San Diego Marathon twice, Michael said he actually preferred Tough Mudder.
“To me, it was more entertaining and much less damage to your body,” he said.
However, Tough Mudder is anything but pleasant. On one of the two obstacles that involve electrified cords — Electroshock Therapy and Electric Eel — Geith was zapped enough on his right leg to make his calf go numb.
“I got bit pretty bad a few times,” he said.
However, the pain during the race was outweighed by the thrill of finishing for some of them. Tawnee said she's rallying up a group to do the Toro Loco Challenge on Sept. 29 in Yuma. Geith said he always has his eyes on the Tough Mudder race in February in Mesa.
“At the time, it sucks. But after the race, you start to regain feeling again, and you want to do it again.”
Jesse Severson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 539-6881. Find him at facebook.com/YSJesseSeverson