Tough Mudder: GC Team Shows True Grit for a Good Cause




Facing the formidable challenges of swimming in ice water, slithering through mud tunnels, climbing 12-foot sheer walls, and overcoming an unimaginable array of other obstacles, the team from Garrett College, sponsored by the Adventuresports Institute (ASI), successfully completed the 10-12 mile course of the Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder
adventure challenge in Gerrardstown, W.Va., last weekend.

Andy Hershey, Associate Professor in the Adventuresports Institute of Garrett College, coordinated the team and said he would like this to become an annual tradition for ASI students, faculty, and staff.

Since its beginning in 2010, Tough Mudder has attracted more than 700,000 participants with an average of 78 percent actually able to complete the course. It has expanded to include events nationwide as well as in Germany and Australia.

Designed by British Special Forces to test strength, stamina, mental agility, and camaraderie, Tough Mudder events have raised more $5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project. These donations help provide combat stress recovery programs, adaptive sports programs, benefits counseling, and employment services for wounded veterans.

Though Mudder, which event organizers refer to as a challenge not a competition, emphasizes teamwork and camaraderie. Garrett College team members Jason Liggett and Garrett Heydt reflected that philosophy in their comments. “It was a great bonding experience with my fellow Mudders. Nothing prepares you for the grueling events that unfold but somehow those around you help you through it,” Liggett said. Heydt described his participation with a similar comment: "It was a great time to build relationships and bond with others. It was a hard course but I had a great time doing it!"

ASI team members Janelle Hershey and Andy Jacob both found that they possessed residual strength. “An event like Tough Mudder challenges you and makes you realize you can push yourself further than you may have thought possible.  Our team kept positive attitudes throughout the various challenges and finished strong,” Hershey said.

Jacob discovered his own reserves. “I felt as though my experience was very beneficial. It is always good to push yourself and find out that often times you are much tougher than you may think which can inspire happiness and confidence in all aspects of your life,” he said.

Andy Hershey said he was very proud of the ASI team. “Despite the cold, windy conditions that sent a few event participants to the local hospital with hypothermia, the ASI team members pulled through and completed the challenge with smiles on our faces - even if our teeth were chattering.  The Tough Mudder was an excellent team building moment for the Adventuresports Institute, and may have been the most difficult physical and mental challenge that many on the team have ever encountered.  A big thanks to the ASI Tough Mudder team for their positive attitudes, hard work and dedication to finishing the challenge as a team,” he said.

More information on Adventure Sports at Garrett College is available online at www.garrettcollege.edu