Are you tough enough?
Are you tough enough for a 10 to 12 mile obstacle course that was designed by the British Special Forces to test your strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie?
When sophomore Emily Kutchera was asked to do a Tough Mudder with her sister’s army unit’s team on Sept. 9, she jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s one of those things that you just have to do — just to say you did it.”
Kutchera said she was nervous for the event but excited to be able to go with her sister because it was a great bonding experience for them. Renee Kutchera, Emily’s sister, said they don’t get to spend as much time together anymore now that they are older.
“We got to spend some good quality time together,” Renee Kutchera said. “We have two different lives together so it was nice having a whole weekend to be together.”
Renee Kutchera’s army unit, located in Green Bay, decided to sign up for the Tough Mudder together but she knew that she would be enjoy it more with her sister at her side.
“Emily is my sister and I figured I needed some support,” Renee Kutchera said. “I know that I have my army unit for support but I don’t get to see her very often and it was a good time for us to spend some time together.”
Most Tough Mudder courses have around 25 diverse obstacles, ranging from eight, 10 and 12-foot walls to greased monkey bars over ice cold water and electroshock therapy (hanging wires with 10,000 volts of electricity pumping into the participants bodies). Each event challenges the participant in a different way.
“My favorite part was probably the barbed wire, crawling through the mud, with the electroshock wires hanging down,” Emily Kutchera said. “It hurt. I didn’t realize how much it was going to hurt.”
According to Tough Mudder website, the Electroshock Therapy and Electric Eels are the equalizers on the course. A lot of their obstacles are easier for the men but everyone will get the same zap from the wires.
To someone who hasn’t yet completed a Tough Mudder, this might sound a little crazy, but Emily Kutchera said it was still a fun event.
Lorna Kutchera, Emily and Renee’s mother, had no doubts that her daughters could successfully finish the Tough Mudder.
“I thought the girls were in for quite a challenge,” Lorna Kutchera said. “It thought it would give them a time to do something together. Emily would get a chance to see kind of what Renee had to go to for basic training.”
For Emily Kutchera, the best part of the experience was the support given by spectators and participants.
“It really surprised me on how supportive everyone was — people on different teams, all the announcers — at the finish line, they made you feel proud of what you did.”
A reason the event isn’t timed, is to encourage participants to pause and help their fellow mudders, Renee Kutchera said.
“It’s all about teams, and helping each other through,” Renee Kutchera said. “I know we stayed at least 20 minutes at one of the last obstacles just helping people through it. Everyone is super friendly and positive and pumped up. Throughout the obstacles, there are random people who are helping you and cheering you on. It’s nice having people you don’t know cheering you on.”
Emily Kutchera said one of the most impressive parts what at the obstacle called Everest.
“It’s a big half pipe and you have to try to run up and people have to grab you and try to pull you over,” Emily Kutchera said. “Up there they had some army people in uniform pulling people up. It was really funny — My sister’s drill sergeant was running up the half-pipe and he grabbed onto the soldiers and he was like ‘come up private, you better pull me up or you’ll be doing push-ups ‘til your arms fall off’ and they believed him!”
At one point in the race, Renee Kutchera badly cramped up and she had to decide whether or not she could finish the race. Emily Kutchera helped her work through it and push on.
Renee Kutchera said it was much better having the support of family throughout the Tough Mudder.
“I think I could have finished with the rest of my team,” Renee Kutchera said, “but I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if Emily weren’t there. It’s nice having family there too.”
Lorna Kuchera said her husband raised their daughters with the idea that they can do anything they put their minds to but wanted to make sure they had fun during the Tough Mudder.
“We’ve always put it out there that they can do anything that they strive for, and if you fail it doesn’t matter as long as you are having fun,” Lorna Kutchera said.
As for advice for future Mudders, Emily Kutchera said, “get a good group of people to go with and just have fun.”
Emily Kutchera said that anyone can complete a Tough Mudder with the right attitude and a little hard work.
For Emily Kutchera, the most negative aspect of the experience was the price. Tough Mudder prices, as stated on their website, range between $90 to $200 depending on when you register. Lorna Kutchera said she can understand why the event is so expensive but it is still a lot of money to pay for an event.
“I think it’s a lot of money,” Lorna Kutchera said, “But I do realize that there are a lot of safety things a lot of setup and that they are raising money for the wounded warriors.”
Emily Kutchera and Renee Kutchera and already looking forward to doing their next Tough Mudder in May. Emily Kutchera is looking for a little bit tougher of a course, but more than anything, she can’t wait to get back in the mud.