It was wet, muddy, and very, very cold but the Bella Coola Grizzly Sows completed the infamous ‘Tough Mudder’ challenge in Whistler on June 22nd. After months of training, Shauna DeGrace, Fawn Gunderson, Caitlin Thompson, Chantale St. Pierre, Tanya Moren, Banchi Hanuse, Lauren Collier (Squamish) and Zoe Thompson (Vancouver) made up the eight-person, all-women team.
Billed as ‘probably the toughest event on the planet,’ the Tough Mudder is a series of obstacles inspired by the British Special Forces to test your all around ‘strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie,’ and is set up over an 18 kilometre course.
It is also part of a larger cause – the ‘Wounded Warrior Project.’ Every Tough Mudder event hosts a team of ‘Wounded Warriors’ on each course, and ‘Mudders’ are encouraged to fundraise for the charity as part of their participation. Monies raised go to helping veterans recover from the debilitating effects of military service, such as stress and physical impairment.
The Bella Coola team started at 11am on June 22, part of an estimated 25,000 other people that had come to watch and participate. The course was set up in Whistler’s Olympic Park, over a rugged 18-kilometre track with 20 obstacles.
Some of the more famous obstacles included the ‘Arctic Enema,’ where participants are required to jump in a neck-deep tub of freezing, ice-filled water, then dive under a board to surface through ice cubes on the other side. Brain freeze extraordinaire!
Another crowd favourite was the ‘Electric Eel.’ Mudders had to army crawl through a watery, muddy section about 30 feet long with electric wires hanging down all the way through. Talk about shocking! ‘Walk the Plank,’ a 14-foot jump into a muddy pool of water, had many Mudders shaking and was a definite hurdle for those with a fear of heights.
The final stretch consisted of the ‘Boa Constrictor,’ a crawl through some water-filled, muddy tunnels (not a happy place for the claustrophobics), the ‘Funky Monkey,’ a trip across an adult-style jungle gym, it’s just happens to be above some more freezing cold, muddy water, and the final zap – ‘Electroshock Therapy.’
For this final obstacle, which delivered shocks so powerful it brought some participants to their knees, the Grizzly Sows linked arms and ran through as a team! Cold, wet, and seriously muddy, we proudly donned the renowned ‘Tough Mudder’ orange headband and t-shirts. Too bad we were shaking so much from the cold we couldn’t even finish the celebratory beer!
For more information about forming a team for the 2014 Whistler Tough Mudder, check out www.toughmudder.com