12 miles of mud doesn’t stop competitors in Arlington event

They climbed and crawled and slogged their way through mud, and if it wasn’t exactly everybody’s idea of fun, it at least gave them a sense of pride.

More than 5,500 competitors converged on the Viridian master-planned community in north Arlington on Saturday for Tough Mudder, a 12-mile obstacle course along the banks of small lakes, through rough terrain and around homes.

“This is not a race but a challenge about coming together and overcoming obstacles,” said Lauren Danecek, the event’s operations manager.

With the sun rising and music blaring, energetic Mudders gathered in teams to warm up and get pumped for the tough obstacles and unpredictable terrain on the three available courses, the full and half Tough Mudder and the Mini Mudder for children ages 7 to 12.

Christina Chesters flew in from Nebraska a couple days before the event to surprise her partner-in-challenge, Jana Giles of Lubbock. The two said they chose the event because they love to push themselves. Last summer, they spent eight weeks biking from Seattle to New York.

“This was on my bucket list,” Giles said. “I’m excited about proving to myself that I can do hard things.”

Another team, the green-shirted Korey’s Superheroes, came together from Oklahoma and the Houston area not just to push themselves to the limit but also to raise awareness for suicide prevention.

Pat Morley of Hunstville ran two Tough Mudders with his nephew Korey, who later took his own life.

“These were a huge accomplishment for him,” Morley said. “He trained for them, lost a lot of weight. It means a lot for us to be here and do this for him.”

Soaking wet with mud covering pretty much every inch of their bodies, competitors who finished the full Mudder overcame 20 obstacles on uneven, rocky and wet terrains. The obstacles included the Ladder to Hell, Shawshanked, Arctic Enema 2.0 and the electroshock therapy, which zaps participants with 10,000 volts and pushes first timers to the finish line, Danecek said.

All finishers receive a headband; first timers are inducted into the Tough Mudder Legion. Danecek said the event crowned its first 100-time Mudder last month in Colorado.

The high energy, camaraderie and challenge are what brings dedicated Mudders back time and time again.

“I like the team concept,” Morley said. “This isn’t an individual event; people encourage each other to keep going, and no one gets left behind.”

Azia Branson: 817-390-7547, @aziabranson