Posted 6/02/15 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Some people are so dedicated to helping disabled veterans, they are willing to struggle through a 10-and-a-half mile muddy obstacle course to raise money for them.
Rob Bryant and several others from the Tioga area recently went to Chicago to compete in the Tough Mudder, which donates part of its revenues to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“It’s not really a race. There’s not a first place or second place. It’s just everyone working as a team,” Bryant said.
Bryant had learned of the event and organized a team, which consisted of eight people -- four of which were military members.
“I kind of drug others into it,” Bryant said.
Bryant served in the Air Force Security Forces. He was stationed in England, Korea, and Iraq. He finished out his service in Minot, where he met his wife, Holly Odegaard, and the couple now lives in Tioga.
Though the goal was not to win a race, the Tough Mudder competition required a lot of teamwork and endurance from its participants.
“Everyone is banged up and a little sore after it,” Bryant said.
There were about 20 obstacles over the course, which was designed by British business school graduates as a means to test mental and physical endurance. Only about eight out of 10 who attempt the course complete it.
It took Bryant’s team four-and-a-half hours to get through all the obstacles.
In addition to running tracks, they had to crawl, climb, slide, maneuver, and squirm through mud and ice water.
One obstacle called “big Bertha” was an inflated mound some 10 or 12 feet high, covered in slick muddy runoff. Bryant described it as a “beached whale” that “you had to pull yourself up and over.”
And they had to help team members who had trouble getting over its slippery surface.
Another obstacle was called the “funky monkey.” It consisted of monkey bars participants had to get down towards a swinging bar at the end, which the people then had to use to swing onto a pole. They then had to slide down that pole to the other side. Anyone who fell plunged into a muddy pool of cold water.
In another challenge, they had to wade though a box of mud while an irritating gas hovered around them, making their eyes water.
“It smelt like really strong Vicks,” Bryant recalled.
One of the last obstacles was yet another pool of mud they had to wade through, but just to make things interesting, live electrical wires hung down over the participants.
Bryant said he chose to just run through them and take the shocks, but others squirmed low through the mud hoping to avoid them.
At the end, the participants were given headbands and beer.
Bryant said he and some of the other members of the team will likely try it again in the future.
To date, the Tough Mudder event has raised about $6.5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides assistance to disabled veterans of actions following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.