Source: Tim Epperson
Camaraderie was what it was all about during the Missouri Tough Mudder event this weekend hosted at the Missouri State Fairgrounds where one could hear cheering, clapping, air horns and whistles and see determination, smiles, grimaces and plenty of mud.
The Missouri Tough Mudder featured approximately 4,600 participants on Saturday and 1,000 on Sunday, plus a crowd of spectators and volunteers. The event was comprised of a winding course stretching 10.5 miles from the MSF campgrounds to the west along Clarendon Road to the front of the fairgrounds along South Limit Avenue. It featured 20 obstacles that pushed the limits of the participant’s endurance using mud, water, ice, heights and close quarters. With names like the “Arctic Enema,” “Everest 2.0,” “Electroshock Therapy” and “Backstabber” many participants banded together with teamwork to help others conqueror the course.
Sedalia Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Carolyn Crooker said Saturday she thought the event was going great and the numbers looked good.
“They run them out every 15 minutes,” she said of the participants. “They have a new group of 165 that start on the starting line every 15 minutes.”
She added that she thought there around 2,000 spectators on Saturday.
“I have been talking to a lot of them and it’s just amazing where they are all from, Wisconsin, Colorado, it’s great,” she said. “I think it’s successful, it’s very good. The weather is ideal, and boy, I’ll tell you they love doing this.”
Upon arriving Saturday a group of teachers and their families, from Blue Springs High School, who called their team the Swamp Donkeys, were ready to roll. They said were there for fun. Their team boasted nine members with ages spanning 17 to 53.
“Seven of us are teachers,” team member Steve Phillips said.
Phillips, a seasoned Tough Mudder, said this was his sixth event and it was team member Zoe Wheeler’s fourth. Phillips noted that as a team it usually takes them four to five hours to finish the course.
“It’s fun, it’s one of those things you just have to do to understand,” he added.
“It’s just a personal challenge, (to say) we actually did it, got through it.” Wheeler said.
Wheeler noted that her daughter Zavia Wheeler, 17, was participating for the first time.
Although many Tough Mudders train before entering the event, the Swamp Donkeys said they really hadn’t spent time training.
“But we always finish,” Wheeler interjected. “We go slow, slow and steady wins the race. That’s our motto. We’re the tortoises.”
U.S. Navy Nuclear Instructor Brandon Turner, 30, of Charleston, South Carolina, and his sister Melissa Taylor, 32, of Ellsworth, Kansas were dressed as Batman for the event.
“I came out here just to run the race,” Turner said. “This is her first one, and this is my sixth.”
Taylor said with a little trepidation that she wasn’t sure what to think of the event yet.
“We’re only a couple obstacles in,” she noted. “Maybe at the end I’ll do good.”
Turner said the event was “great.”
“It’s a great time, great weather, great people out here, it’s nice to be back in the Midwest,” he added.
The brother/sister duo’s Batman outfits were in honor their late father Bruce Turner, of Kansas.
“Our dad’s initials were BAT,” Turner said. “So, when he was in the Navy, his rack was the Batcave and he was Batman. He passed away recently, and I’ve done several of these before, and and he wanted to do one. So we are doing this in memorial of him.”
John Bigham, of St. Joseph, had just plunged in to the “Arctic Enema,” an obstacle filled with water and 20,000 pounds of ice, at noon on Saturday. He was one of 20 men with the 139th Missouri Air National Guard who were participating in the Missouri Tough Mudder. Bigham said that their team members are all part of aircraft maintenance for the C130 cargo plane.
This was his first time to participate.
“It’s awesome, it’s painfully cold,” he added. “It’s great teamwork and team building. There’s about 18 of us that are first-timers.”
At the finish line Nick and Jessica Teson, Wright City, were tired and muddy on Saturday. They were with friends Chris and Jessica Chambers, of O’Fallon part of team Rad Running. This was the Teson’s first time to participate in a Tough Mudder event.
“It was good, but it’s cold,” he said.
They couple said they were still freezing from the “Arctic Enema” obstacle. They both added they would like to try a Tough Mudder again, sometime.
“We thought at first it was in Montgomery City, close to where we live, so we signed up for it, and then found out it was here,” Nick Teson said. “The two and half hour drive was a little surprise for us.”
They said they really didn’t train for the event because they already stay fit by doing jujitsu and working out.
“We did another mud-run earlier in the spring,” he added. “It was a different one, Battlegrounds.”
The Fighting Cocks team, with 11 members, finished Saturday afternoon and Jarod Thompson, 33, of Breese, Illinois said this was his “final round.”
“It hurts,” Thompson, who participated with his wife Becky, said. “It was good, it was the third time for most of us.”
He said it took him three hours and 45 minutes to complete.
“We started at 8:45 and we finished 12:30,” he added. “It was good, it was good for us.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.