This blogpost was written by Randy Pierce, a blind Tough Mudder Legionnaire, in celebration of upcoming release of It Takes A Tribe: Building The Tough Mudder Movement written by Tough Mudder CEO and Founder Will Dean.
Initially, when I lost my sight 20 years ago, it was incredibly challenging for me and it really negatively impacted my life. But it never extinguish my passion for life. Instead it enhanced my desire to use obstacles as a catalyst for growth. In my journey one of the best sources of strength for me has been a full appreciation for the power of teamwork. The very word, “TEAM”, is an acronym for what I believe: Together. Everyone. Achieves. More.
Because of this, it is not surprising that my team and community found the Tough Mudder Tribe and Tough Mudder Nation. We signed up for the August 2014 Tough Mudder Great Northeast, and immediately thought of how we could conquer the obstacle course together. We all began to problem solve using the strategies and techniques we learned from our previous mountain climbing and marathon running adventures.
I was excited for all of the grand obstacles along the course. But I can vividly recall my initial concern for managing the rough terrain which could make it easy for me to roll an ankle or worse. While I could have worn a tall, supportive hiking boots which would make it easier to take fast strides like I do while hiking in in northeastern mountain ranges, those same boots would increase my difficulty in the water and on the obstacles. I decided to trust my guides and our rigid tether technique and allowed their judgement to dictate our pace.
My team and I went into the event with a general plan that, off-course, worked tremendously at accounting for challenges. But what we had not properly accounted for was the very essence of Tough Mudder Tribe...the most valuable part of the Tough Mudder experience to me: the community.
Mudders are a community of supportive, encouraging and determined people brought together in an environment designed to challenge them while building a “tougher together” team mentality. The intense and emotional testimonials and inspiring Legionnaire stories make it clear that there is something different about the people who choose to take on what is probably the toughest event on the planet. Legionnaires share a common vision for how to tackle challenges to help us all reach success. It was truly overwhelming and the euphoria of such an experience stays with you and entreats you to share it with everyone, especially those who you know can appreciate and benefit from the strength of community.
Tough Mudder’s, like life, show you that a tribe is built every time you stick together, challenge yourself, and persevere with your team or community through any obstacle. That’s why when Oberto reached out to both Tough Mudder and my team to have us take on another epic Tough Mudder to capture the experience on film, we agreed. I flew across the country and met the Tribe in San Bernadino, which had the same quality of character as I’d found at the Great Northeast. When it comes to Tough Mudder, it doesn’t matter where you are, who you are, or what your abilities or disabilities you have. What matters is that you choose to challenge yourself and that you choose to support that community that supports you.
I don’t think any experience can match what I felt that day as I took on King of the Swingers. Every Mudder watching and cheering understood the nature of that challenge for me. I don’t know how many in the incredible crowd that was chanting my name thought I could ring the bell, and I’m not sure if I even thought I could ring the bell, but right before I jumped I felt the true power of the Tribe. The Tribe was cheering because they believe that if you give it all you’ve got, you’re already winning.
With a plan, determination, and adrenaline the success of ringing the King of the Swingers bell is much like the success we get to experience every time we sign up for a Tough Mudder. The venue may change, the obstacles may evolve, our team may change, Tough Mudder Nation may change and grow, and we will all undoubtedly be changed every time we step in the mud, but the feeling of crossing the finish line as a Tribe is constant. Ultimately, this sense of belonging to something worthy is the essence of the Tough Mudder experience for me. Together, we all bring out the best in each other and find ways to reach our peak potential as Tough Mudder Nation.
To read more inspiring Tough Mudder Finisher stories like Randy’s, pre-order It Takes A Tribe: Building The Tough Mudder Movement written by Tough Mudder CEO and Founder Will Dean.