By Judy Reed
Two Cedar Springs High School teachers gave it all they had and then some when they competed in the grueling Tough Mudder event held at Michigan International Speedway June 28 and 29.
Josh Cooper and Brian Busen competed on separate days in the 12-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie.
“The last couple of miles were tough,” noted Cooper. “Afterward I looked like a bruised mess.”
Cooper said that he tries to do one or two events a year to stay in shape. Last year he did the Grand Rapids Triathlon, and he and Busen did the Warrior Dash in Millenium Park, which is a shortened version (a 3.1 mile course) of the Tough Mudder event. He had fun, and so decided to step it up this year to try the bigger event. He signed up to run on Saturday as part of a four-person team with some friends from college, and Busen signed up to run on Sunday.
To train, Cooper began running in March and working out at the gym. He felt good about his training, but when he got to the course, it was not what he expected. “It had rained excessively leading up to the event. The whole course was covered in mud, it was just a mess. I had been running on the trail, on asphalt. And sure, it’s called Tough Mudder, but there’s supposed to be mud on the obstacles, not on the course,” he said with a laugh.
There were 20 obstacles scattered throughout the 12-mile course. Cooper said the obstacles were fun, though some, like the electric shock, were definitely challenging. On the electric eel, there were wires hanging down that would shock the participant as they crawled through the mud. In some of the tubes they crawled through, they were filled with water and there wasn’t a lot of room to breathe. On the Walk the Plank, they climbed a 15-foot tower and jumped in a mud pit. “They were all a lot fun,” he said.
Many of the participants at this year’s Michigan Tough Mudder event came down sick with the NoroVirus, but Cooper wasn’t one of them.
The Tough Mudder events are held all over the world, and they have raised over $5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project. Last year, 460,000 people participated in 35 events. This year there are 53 events scheduled.
Cooper said that he would certainly do it again, and recommends that if anyone is going to do it, that they get a team to sign up together and train together. “I had a blast. Barring injury, I’ll do it multiple times. It’s quite the adrenaline rush and a lot of fun.”
For more info on the event, visit www.toughmudder.com.