I know, at my age I should know better! At least that's what I thought until I did this year's 'Tough Mudder' at Whistler; possibly one of the most scenic locations in the series - and maybe even the most inhospitable terrain - who wouldn't want to run up the side of an Olympic ski jump park??? (and don't mention the bears...!)
It had been on my mind to do at some point since the event became world wide; but clearly not on my mind enough to make the effort and actually go and do it! So it was my wife who mentioned it after last year's event and then a friend suggested we join his team when I'd let slip that I wanted to do it. It may have only been bravado but when said friend is 12 years older than me and his daughter, herself a mother of three were in the team, how could I not?
The challenge, (as it's not a race) is basically a 10+ mile obstacle course and was originally designed by ex British Special Forces although don't let this put you off if you're thinking of entering; there are no bullets flying and no ridiculously heavy packs to carry, nor are there any night parachute jumps to be made. Instead the obstacles are more challenging and fun than out-and-out dangerous and most can be performed with a decent level of fitness an attitude of 'feel the fear and do it anyway' and an open minded sense of humour.
The event is about teamwork and not just your own team as everyone seemed to be helping everyone else across, through and over the obstacles. Some of the obstacles included the electric eel - a shallow pit of water with live electric cables hanging into them - ouch, the Arctic enema - a deep pit of ice water with a barrier across, so submerging was necessary - also ouch(ish), some high walls to climb over, with team assistance, tunnels buried and flooded, long deep muddy trenches to run/walk/slip/squelch through, a high jump into a deep pool of murky muddy water, a monkey climb over, yes you guessed it - more water and a final dash through more hanging live wires - really ouch this time!
I didn't count but I believe there were around 20 obstacles over 18 kms which when cold and wet is enough to challenge the hardiest of 'players'. Having said that though, I would certainly encourage anyone with a relatively decent level of fitness, (it really isn't an event for just the elite!) to grab a team, sign up for the next Tough Mudder nearest you, and go and have the time of your life - it really is that much fun!