Fort Sill Soldier finishes 'Tough Mudder'
February 28, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Staff Sgt. Robert January, who joined the Army in July 2001 from Woodbridge, Va., as a fire direction specialist assigned to 214th Fires Brigade is a proven Tough Mudder after his recent event in Paige, Texas.
According to the Tough Mudder website, their competition is "probably the toughest event on the planet."
The Tough Mudder first made its debut in May 2010, which sold out all 4,500 spaces in only 35 days. Tough Mudder events are hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test all-around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. As the leading company in the booming obstacle course industry, Tough Mudder has already challenged half a million inspiring participants worldwide.
"I became interested in the Tough Mudder competition when his friend that he served with showed him what he did one weekend," said January. "I looked at the previews, trailers and photos and it looked like something I would want to do." "It was a challenge I might want to participate in I thought.
"Participating in the Tough Mudder was a personal challenge for me," said January. "It made me challenge myself physically and mentally."
Tough Mudder participants have raised more than $3 million in support of its official charity partner, the Wounded Warrior Project and many wounded warriors participate in the events.
After running in the Tough Mudder in October, January got an e-mail from the race officials to attend the World's Toughest Mudder, which is where the extreme Mudders from around the world will come together and compete over 24 hours to determine the Toughest Mudder in the world.
"It is hard to train for a Tough Mudder," he said. "But I have trained numerous Soldiers for the competition and have been successful.
"The training that is done for the Soldiers would consist of runs that range from 6-10 miles," said January. "The objective of the runs is to build up endurance that is needed throughout the Tough Mudder competition.
"Doing most of the obstacles have to deal with people pulling their own body weight, for example: low crawling, and climbing up and down a net or rope," he said, "also, part of the training is push-ups and pull-ups."
He has noticed there's a lot of people who don't want to participate in Tough Mudder events, but that doesn't stop him from motivating Soldiers who work with him to go.
"I've brought a couple Soldiers out and they've all enjoyed it," he said.
He added the obstacles in a Tough Mudder have participants running up and down hills, through mud, fire, freezing cold water, over 12-foot walls and through mud tunnels. The mudder also has an obstacle where you get shocked by 10,000 volts of electricity.
"Competing in a Tough Mudder will test your endurance, stamina commitment and heart," said January.
What makes the Tough Mudder different from similar events is it isn't a race and isn't timed; merely finishing the course is meant to be a reward. The event also allows people to experience camaraderie and teamwork with both teammates and strangers. Many of the obstacles require teamwork just to maneuver through them.
January and his team will start training for an upcoming Tough Mudder around the first part of March. Then, April 5, January will test his heart, endurance and stamina in Austin, Texas, for his next Tough Mudder event.