FORT DRUM, N.Y. (June 18, 2021) -- It’s an obstacle course that challenges both the mind and body, but also the strength of your laundry detergent – and more than 600 participants put that to the test June 18 during the annual Mountain Mudder at Fort Drum.
The 5.5-mile course had teams and individuals low crawling through mud and sand, climbing walls, leapfrogging across Remington Pond and performing, in all, 25 different challenges.
Capt. Tyler Townsend, B company commander, 41st Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, was covered in mud, head-to-toe, just like the rest of his team as he crossed the finish line.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “But what really makes it more enjoyable is doing this as a team – we had 14 people here – and feeding off each other’s energy makes it more fun.”
Townsend said the team found the water negotiation obstacles the hardest, but they didn’t shy away from the mud.
“We just tried to stay together the whole way as a team,” he said.
Sgt. Sara Plant, A Company, 210th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd BCT, ran the course with her executive officer and another platoon leader from her unit.
“This was a great way for us to get out and show support for our unit, our division and Fort Drum,” she said. “It was really fun. I did this two years ago, and I thought they brought back a lot of really fun obstacles like the slide and all the mud pits. But this was one of the best events I’ve been to.”
The Mudder, hosted annually by Fort Drum Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (FMWR) and the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program, had twice as many obstacles as last year. When several volunteers tested the course out earlier in the week, they knew participants were in for a challenge.
“Because of COVID-19, last year we only had about 12 obstacles on the course. So this year, we wanted to make it bigger and better,” said Pauline Beck, BOSS administrator. “After the run-through, they were tired but they were also really excited to be able to do it. We knew that people were going to have fun on every obstacle.”
Beck said that planning for the Mudder started in January, and that a lot of work went into this event – from the engineers who helped create some of the obstacles, to the medics and military police making sure everyone was safe, and the 10th Mountain Division Band performing at the post-race party. Most of the FMWR staff and BOSS volunteers were in place before sunrise that morning, hours before the first participants toed the starting line.
Pfc. Ryan Bauer didn’t seem to mind the early hours, as he volunteered to operate the power hose at the coldest station on the course. While participants waded through a pit filled with 500 pounds of ice, Bauer blasted them with an additional shock of water.
“This is the happiest I’ve ever been,” he said, having already doused his battalion commander, as well as the garrison commander and command sergeant major.
Beck said that there are already a few new ideas floating around for next year’s Mudder, and that it promises to be just as wet, dirty and challenging as this one. Until then, Fort Drum community members can stay active in upcoming FMWR events such as the Red, White and Blue 5K on July 1. Soldiers can try out for the Fort Drum Army Ten-Miler team at the next qualifier on July 15.
To see photos from the Mountain Mudder, visit www.flickr.com/photos/drum10thmountain/albums/72157719429862461.