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Sergeant Adam Crum, HHC, 1HBCT, 3rd ID, wraps himself in an emergency blanket after he finished his latest Tough Mudder near Atlanta, Feb. 12.

FORT STEWART, Ga. - Most Soldiers are content with doing morning physical training, then a little on the side either after work or during the weekends to maintain physically fit. However, some Soldiers have taken their fitness to the next level with the Tough Mudder.

The Tough Mudder is a ten- to twelve-mile obstacle course that includes basics Soldiers are familiar with like ladders and rope walls, but also something that may be new to them: like 10,000 volt electric wires and jumping off fifty-foot structures into ice cold water. One such Soldier willing to brave the obstacles is Sgt. Adam Crum, a forward observer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division.

"The Tough Mudder has anywhere from 25-30 obstacles spread throughout it," said Sgt. Crum. "The proceeds from it go to the Wounded Warrior Project. Last year they raised two million dollars for the program and they are looking to increase that this year."

The reasoning behind doing it is simple for Sgt. Crum: he wanted to do more.

"I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something more than just getting 300 on a PT Test. I looked into marathons, but that is just running, so why not mix it up?"

His first Tough Mudder wasn't just a race for him- it was an experience.

"The first one I did was in March in Atlanta. I didn't know what to wear, bring or even eat before hand. I started out with a t-shirt but then I ended up not having one at the end, don't know how that happened," he laughs. "I did the first one and I didn't think it was too bad, it took me around two hours to do the twelve-mile course."

For his first Tough Mudder, friend and fellow Soldier, Spc. Seabrook Fields, HHC, 1st HBCT, was with him as a first responder. For his second Tough Mudder, Spc. Fields joined him at the starting line.

"I first did it in December in Tampa Bay with Sgt. Crum and I had a blast," said Spc. Fields with a grin. "The temperature during that Tough Mudder was in the sixties. However, this last one that he did was in the teens."

Spc. Fields, a forward observer in the same unit as Sgt. Crum, but also a certified Emergency Medical Technician in the state of Georgia, explained the challenge of doing a Tough Mudder in such low temperatures.

"Almost every obstacle is a water obstacle in some way," he said. "Once the human body core temperature reaches 94 degrees, the body will induce shivering to try and warm up. This takes away your Adenosine Triphosphate, or ATP, which is used up by the glucose and potassium sodium pump to perform that action. So you're wasting a lot of energy just to keep your muscles warm. So you're even more exhausted going through the obstacles."

For this last Tough Mudder, Spc. Fields was busy with classes, so Sgt. Crum found himself alone at the starting line.

"If you don't have a friend joining you at the start, you will have one by the end," he said. "I didn't have Spc. Fields with me this time, so I was at the starting point looking around wondering who would help me finish. But after a couple miles into it you're talking to people and teaming up."

For Sgt. Crum, nothing is quite like finishing a Tough Mudder.

"There's no time limit, there's no winning, either you finish it or you don't," he said simply. "There are no referees saying you didn't go through an obstacle, so you have to have the heart and the internal fortitude to do it. Finishing is an accomplishment that no one can take away from you."

Page last updated Thu February 23rd, 2012 at 00:00