Dive through an arctic ice bath, sprint through a field of fire, then make a mad dash through a mud pit complete with dangling wires, ready to deliver 10,000 volts of electricity to all who pass.
Some call it crazy. To others, it’s the definition of tough.
These obstacles, along with others, made up the Tough Mudder Challenge, a 10-12 mile obstacle course challenge held at Beaver Creek Ski Resort this past weekend.
The challenge is an international ordeal, taking place in countries across the globe. In Beaver Creek, teams of ambitious individuals signed up to take on a 23-part obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces.
Where traditional races focus on time, the Tough Mudder is rooted in challenge and camaraderie. Participants work as a team to get through the course, thriving off each other’s support.
While the Tough Mudder challenge does not award individuals based on time, it does dish out awards for clothing. Awards include Best, Costume, Worst Costume, and Least Clothing.
Attendants don outfits ranging from traditional race attire to wedding gowns, and even outfits that would make those who ran in the CSU Undie Run blush.
CSU student Tyler Burke, along with a group of friends from around the country, stepped up to the Tough Mudder challenge. Their group’s name was ‘Team Derrik,’ in honor of friend Derrik Flahive.
Flahive died on November 15th, 2011 in a drowning accident in the Chilean Patagonia. He was a junior at Colby College in Massachusetts and a member of the men’s lacrosse team.
“These young men —they’re all busy. They’re living in New York or San Francisco,” said Roger Flahive, Derrik’s father, who competed with the team. “They all took a time out from their lives, from their internships … to fly out here to be together to honor Derrik and probably to see each other, and that’s super special.”
Flahive was a son, a teammate, a friend, but most prominently an adventurer. He travelled to Africa three times and was very active.
“He was a crazy guy, always looking for the next adventure,” Burke said. “Always there to lend a helping hand for whatever challenges life throws at you.”
It was Derrik’s memory along with each other’s motivation that pushed Team Derrik to finish the course in three hours and 10 minutes. As they crossed the finish line, event staff greeted them with cold beers before they hit the showers.
Spectators were also welcome to join in the fun and could be transported to various locations on the race path via chairlift.
A portion of the proceeds from the challenge go to the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), an organization that seeks to assist and empower military service members who were injured on or after the September 11th terrorist attacks.
“A lot of people who tend to donate to veteran’s charities tend to be on the older side,” said Alexander Patterson, Tough Mudder employee. “We have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Tough Mudders between the ages of 20 and 40 who are signing up to support the Wounded Warrior project.”
The Tough Mudder has currently raised over $3 million in financial support for the WWP.