Steve Tracy, 45, Southern Maryland
Air Force veteran and current DoD contractor supporting the USMC—although my friends are convinced that I’m a CIA agent and would have to kill you if I told you what I do.
I have completed more than 50 events, including four regional Toughest Mudders and three World’s Toughest Mudders, about 45 Classic or Full events, and handful of Tough Mudder Halfs and 5Ks, covering more than 1,000 Tough Mudder miles. I recently ran TriState and am registered for World’s Toughest Mudder this month.
I Mudder because…
The fitness, the fun, the challenge, the mud, the obstacles, but most of all, the people. I love the culture. I love running with my friends and making new friends on course. I love the staff, the volunteers, and the spectators. I started running Tough Mudders in 2013. The year before I had lost 90 pounds to become the lightest I have been in my adult life, but I needed to be "fit.” Tough Mudder became my fitness goal. After a punishing first Mudder in October 2013, I was hooked. I immediately signed up for my second event in June 2014. I approached that event even fitter. But, on the fifth obstacle, about 2 miles into the course, I vaulted over Lumberjacked and collapsed with the sound of a turkey leg being separated. My knee gave out, but I continued through the next 8 miles. It turns out that I tore my ACL, but this team of strangers I had put together on the forum helped me in a way I never expected. I was humbled. My season was over, but I came back to volunteer. Again, I was hooked. Over the next few years, I volunteered for shifts and ran the course again and again. Knowing I wanted to do World’s Toughest Mudder, I began doing multiple laps during my fifth event. I met others who were training for World’s Toughest and became accepted into the tribe.
On the morning of a Mudder, I wake up feeling…
A little anxious, but grateful. Each event brings a new challenge, whether it’s course layout, terrain, or weather. And although I still occasionally get goosebumps when I see the first obstacle when pulling into park, I’m both anxious and grateful for the Tough Mudder family that I get to see and spend the day with. I have good friends that I sometimes see outside of events, but there are a lot of friends that I only get to see on Tough Mudder weekends. I truly enjoy catching up with this community, running with these amazing people, and celebrating another course with my Tough Mudder family.
My favorite part of being a Mudder is…
The community. I am truly amazed at the selflessness, teamwork, and athleticism I see demonstrated at every event. The athletes, volunteers, and TMHQ staff and partners create a culture that I love. Although I began my Mudder journey for the fitness and obstacles, I stay with Tough Mudder because of this community.
Being a Mudder has changed how I…
View accomplishment and success. In anything we do, we don’t have to be the best, we just have to give our best. Making it to the start line and completing a 5K or Classic is a huge accomplishment. Giving your best for that particular moment is all that is asked. For me, I don’t even really need to compare to previous performance—admittedly, I still do—but my best today will be different than my best last year, or three years ago. Do your best, be kind to yourself, and that is your success.
Why do you Mudder? Join the conversation at #WhyIMudder on Facebook and Instagram, and read more Mudder inspiration.