Overcoming Obstacles: Meet the Inspiring Mudders of Michigan, Seattle, Capital Region and Süddeutschland

By Matt Alesevich | December 17, 2014


Tough Mudder's 10-12 mile military-style obstacle course is about much more than overcoming on-course obstacles-- it's a chance for people around the world to test their fitness while bonding with friends and fellow Mudders and overcoming physical, mental and personal obstacles along the way.

Faced with conditions ranging from broken bones to broken hearts, countless 2014 Mudders and their teams stepped up to the Tough Mudder start line with a mission to turn their scars into stars, and in the end, found that beyond the finish line awaited a new beginning.

So to honor the everyday men and women who, in true Mudder spirit, overcame seemingly-insurmountable obstacles both on course and off to become 2014 Tough Mudder finishers, we’ll be recognizing 57 motivational Mudders throughout the month of December--one from each Tough Mudder event this year.

Moving down the event schedule from Wisconsin, UK-North West, Perth and Utah, let’s meet the motivating Mudders of Michigan, Seattle, Capital Region, Süddeutschland.

Devon Musko - Tough Mudder Michigan Finisher

My Mudder journey started back at Tough Mudder Kentucky in October 20, 2012. One mile into the event, I started to panic and tear up. I wished it was over. I realized that I had fallen out of shape and was nowhere near where I used to be. It took me 6.5 freezing hours to get through the course, and I failed every single obstacle. The next day, I went for a run and kept going until I couldn’t breathe. I thought I made it pretty far and looked down at my phone app. I only made it a quarter-mile. I went home and weighed myself. I was overweight. I decided enough was enough and got a Tough Mudder 2013 Season Pass, vowing to go to every event within 12 hours.

I decided enough was enough.

With every 2013 Mudder, I was able to track my progress by my improvement on obstacles. Looking back now, I'm able to watch the weight come off with every Mudder. I became the girl who went from “fatass to badass” in one year’s time. During the 2014 season, I became the first woman to reach 50 Tough Mudders and placed 22nd among women at World’s Toughest Mudder 2014.

Vashron Chapple - Tough Mudder Seattle Finisher

I have been living with multiple sclerosis for 13 years. Over the last six years, my health has taken a turn for the worse. My weight ballooned to 290 pounds. I developed hypertension and high cholesterol. Physically, I was experiencing regular fatigue, tingling in the limbs and major weakness. A physical in 2011 was a wake-up call to make some changes. I became a vegan and starting exercising consistently, causing me to drop 115 pounds. While I still battle issues related to my MS, I'm in the best shape of my life, and I’m able to still push through some of my symptoms. Before the lifestyle change, once I got sick, I was pretty much shut down. I ran Tough Mudder Seattle three weeks after an MS attack and discovered that Tough Mudder is similar to my battle with MS. There are struggles, long stretches and down times, but I must continue and endure, as I have no idea what challenges await around the corner.

Paul Jackson - Tough Mudder Capital Region Finisher

I basically hit "fat boy rock bottom" at 340 pounds. I set up a zip lining trip and there was a weight limit of 300 pounds. This really hit me that my weight was an issue. I started running and working out and right when I was getting into the flow, I found out I had blood clots behind my knee and in both my lungs. I was put on immediate bed rest because any wrong move could have caused a stroke. Doctors told me I was lucky to be alive. After a year, I started running again, and I haven’t looked back. I started with 5Ks and worked my way up to half-marathons. I’ve been maintaining my goal weight of 205 for about six months. My ultimate goal is a World’s Toughest Mudder. That would be the perfect family road trip.

Elke Martin - Tough Mudder Süddeutschland Finisher

I was never the type of person to do sports or be active. Growing up, I loved books and avoided parties and sports. I was a person who loved to start things but never got around to finish them. Then in 2013, I hit a low point in my life. I had a miscarriage, became depressed and was overweight.

I now feel like a fit and happy person again.

When I heard about Tough Mudder I knew that I not only wanted to, but to needed to do this. It gave me a tangible goal to work toward, and for the first time in my life, I was doing something crazy that pushed myself to the limits. I finally got things done and managed to lose over 20 kg over the course of my training. Needless to say, I made it through the course and am now proud to say that I am a Mudder. Tough Mudder has changed my life for the better, and I now feel like a fit and happy person again. [German to English translation by David Gordon.]

Having previously featured the inspiring Mudders of Wisconsin, UK-North West, Perth and Utah, our month of inspiration continues tomorrow, as we highlight the motivating Mudders of Dallas, Dublin, Hamburg and Missouri.

To share the story of your own Mudder journey, visit the official Mudders of 2014 page.