If you’ve been to an event before, chances are you’ve met Francis
It’s more than likely that Francis has helped you up the steep slope of Everest, or you’ve seen him on course with his 10 ft tall rose. He’s part of the group we call “Everest Angels,” a group of people who are kind enough to pull you over the top of Everest. Without further ado, let’s get this interview started…
Tell me about yourself…
Hi, my name is Francis Lackner and I’m a 129-time Tough Mudder Legionnaire.
I Tough Mudder because…
I Tough Mudder because I really enjoy lifting other people up which in doing so, lifts me up. My journey has really transitioned from distances and number and events, to the amount of hands I physically help on the course. The more I help people on the course whether it be giving them a hand, getting out a cramp, helping with food, volunteering… that builds me up and I feel I’ve accomplished what I wanted to accomplish.
I’ve helped thousands of people at events throughout the years. What they’re trying to get through could be the distance of the event they’re trying to do, or maybe they have a personal challenge on course, or maybe they have something else going on in their life – it could be anything, but helping these people out brings so much joy to my life.
How would you describe Tough Mudder to someone who hasn’t heard of it?
Tough Mudder is more than just an obstacle course, it’s a mental and physical challenge. It’s something you may come in as an individual, but you leave as a team. When you start, you may be by yourself, but you become a team throughout the course.
What’s one of the craziest things you’ve done at Tough Mudder?
One of the craziest things I’ve done was at World’s in 2018 when it was below freezing at 26-28 degrees. It got so cold that that there was a quarter inch of frost built up on Everest while we were there helping. It was our first time doing Everest Angels at Worlds for 24-25 hours. They had to shut the obstacle down, but we didn’t wanna go back into the pit because it got too cold and wet, so we decided to stay at Everest and had to figure out ways to stay warm. We decided to walk in circles in and around the obstacle to stay warm, and we actually ended up forming frost circles in the grass because of how many times we were walking around. We did this for hours on end… 4 or 5 hours, covering who knows how many miles we just walked in circles. It was the only way to stay warm other than putting sandwich bags over our feet.
Do you have any personal goals for World’s Toughest Mudder 2022?
My goal is still staying and being an Everest Angel at Everest for 24-25 hours, and to help as many people as I can. Lending a hand and helping them up, giving them a hug or reminder that they can do anything they set their mind to accomplish there. I’ll have extra gear, food, snacks, or whatever it might be that they need.
Raise money for a cause with GoFundMe
Last year I raised over $5,000 for Saint Baldrick’s and Make A Wish Foundation. After dealing with skin cancer myself, I felt I had to do something for the community. I made a large rose and wrote the names of friends, family members, and strangers that have been through cancer, or have passed away from cancer to acknowledge and lift them up. I wrote 400 names of Make A Wish kids to help carry them with me throughout the course. That giant rose which is over 10 feet tall has been through four events now.
This year I want to raise money for children going through cancer. When my mom was going through cancer, my Christmas wish was for my mom to be cancer-free. I’m raising money this year for Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital.