Mud & Glory

This past weekend, I accompanied Son #2 to his first Tough Mudder race.  If you aren’t familiar with these challenges, it is an 16km obstacle course normally involving running up and down a ski slope.  This is not for the faint of heart.

Participants are often in teams to provide assistance to one another to complete the various obstacles.


BEFORE – Son #2 (centre) with the rest of his team.

My first uh-oh moment came before I even entered the grounds at the ski resort where the race was being held.  As a spectator I needed to sign a waiver.  Say, what?!!  No one said anything about ME being at risk.  I was suddenly much more alert on this chilly Sunday morning.

My second uh-oh moment came when I realized that the key word for the day was going to be MUD … and it wasn’t going to be just the participants who would be battling it.  I looked down at my clean running shoes and deeply regretted my choice of footwear.  My feet were about to get wet and dirty and in spite of all my experience as a hiker, it didn’t occur to me that I might need clean shoes for the long drive home.


Certain obstacles on the course could be accessed by spectators and of course Son#2 expected that I would be there to see him.  Two of the most popular obstacles were Arctic Enema and Walk The Plank.  The former involves a dive under a fence in ice water and the latter involves a jump from a height of about 20 feet into a pond of water.

To get to these obstacles, I needed to climb one of the ski slopes and go down on the other side.  No problem, I thought.  I’m a reasonably fit person.  That was my third uh-oh moment.

Climbing that ski hill was brutal.  More than once – bathing in sweat – I wondered if I was heart attack material. Going down the other side wasn’t any easier … I slid on the wet grass twice and came down hard on my butt.  My little Point and Shoot camera in my back pocket cushioned my landing each time.  It really is a miracle this little thing continues to work (sort of) in spite of all the abuse it has taken.

I was humbled by my single climb of the ski hill.  The participants were going up and down the different hills on the course FIVE times.  My heart threatens to explode at just the thought of it.

For many people – both participants and spectators – the highlight of the obstacle course is the ElectroShock Therapy just before the finish line.  Think of a mud path topped with dozens of thin wires carrying an electrical charge strong enough to give you a good zap.


Son2 (right) navigates ElectroShock Therapy … against my advise.

Caked in mud, limping from various pulled muscles, and covered in scrapes under the layers of mud, they finished the course with huge smiles as they claimed the prize all finishers receive – an orange Tough Mudder headband.


AFTER – the happy and victorious team

My purpose as chauffeur for the group became apparent on the ride home … after they had showered and changed clothing.  Within 10 minutes, all three had fallen asleep in the car and I had a very quiet and peaceful drive home in the heavy cottage country traffic heading back into the city.

My son is one Tough Mudder.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
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37 Responses to Mud & Glory

  1. jannatwrites says:

    This was a fun post. That is not something I’d ever want to do (cracked up at the sign to leave your dignity here.) Also thought it was funny that they all fell asleep. Bet they were hungry when they woke up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I quaked at that first sign – leave dignity here! Well done just for watching Joanne!


  3. Sammy D. says:

    Haven’t heard of this version of a challenge for “the younger set”, except it appears you had some obstacles yourself. Ski hills? Those are tough climbs!! You deserve a headband, too 🙂


  4. pambrittain says:

    Wow, I’ve never heard of such a competition. Sure would have liked to have seen pictures of you too.


  5. Sounds like you were some tough mother…oops I mean mudder too!


  6. Megz says:

    Way to go Son2! I’ve done a few mud runs in my day and while I aspire some day to be a Tough Mudder I draw the line at being voluntarily electrocuted multiple times. I did meet the guy who created the obstacle and learned a few “tips” on getting through without too much pain if I ever work up the guts to do it.


  7. Wow, that’s one brave man! I don’t fancy any of that-the ice bath, electric shocks, jumping from heights….yeah, definitely not for me!

    Congratulations to him though 🙂



  8. Wow. Electroshock? That would be difficult enough to watch let alone experience! Especially for a mom watching her son! Again, Wow.


    • joannesisco says:

      Yeah – I wasn’t really happy about that one … but I learned a long time ago that it’s just a given that sons will take their mom’s concerns ‘under advisement’, then do what they were going to do anyway 🙂

      There is NO WAY anyone would get me in there. Just the mud alone … ewwwww.


  9. I’m too prissy for mud anything. The ElectricShock Therapy sounds dangerous. I marvel at your completing the run up and then down again. Bravo.
    Congratulations to son and company. 😀


  10. Lynn says:

    Congrats to Son #2 on this accomplishment! Love their outfits:) Good on you Mom, for acting as his photographer! It’s amazing the lengths we will go to for our children!


  11. nancytex2013 says:

    Go Son #2 and friends! Tough Mudder is the toughest of all the mud-challenge races! They were beasts for completing this thing!

    You might be interested in reading Martha’s recap of her Pittsburgh Mudder last Sunday here:
    (It’s the same Martha who turned me on to Namaste Yoga; she is awesome!)

    Where was the GTA Mudder? Blue Mountain?


  12. Ewww! My sister just did a Mud Run two weeks ago. I think there are people who embrace this and people who run the other way….I run the other way……Yuck….though I am admiring of those who can be free enough to enjoy it and certainly your son’s trek was a true physical challenge which is also worth of admiration.


  13. Sue Slaght says:

    These are great shots Joanne. Dave and our son and daughter in law did a Tough Mudder two years ago. Brutal!


  14. This has actually been on my bucket list for a couple of years (the Oz version, natch).
    Mmmmm. I think….. yep, still on the list. 😀
    (Probably should aim for sooner rather than later, though, by the sounds of it.)


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