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Five Things to Take Away From Your First Tough Mudder

Bobbi Snethen

Bobbi hails from Madison, WI, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin where she studied journalism and strategic communication. Following a stint as a freelance reporter, she served as a public relations professional in the nonprofit sector working to enhance community service through storytelling and online engagement.

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1. If every day, you behaved like you did on a Tough Mudder course or a disaster response with Team Rubicon, the world would be a pretty awesome place. 

You’re tired, there’s mud in your unmentionables, and you might be doubting yourself. Then, obstacle after obstacle, some stranger says, “I got you” and summiting Everest 2.0 suddenly becomes possible.

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That’s probably how a brand new TR member feels when she’s heading out on her first operation. “Am I going to fit in?” or “I have no understanding of how a tornado response works” until she meets dozens of other Greyshirts who welcome her with open arms, give her a cot, a briefing, and ensure she’s fed and hydrated while kicking that EF-5 in the face.

If we took that high we achieve from completing a Tough Mudder or helping our neighbors on their worst day and applied it our everyday lives, we’d build a better, more collaborative and integrated community. Slopping around in mud or hauling heaps of debris all day is not required to make a positive impact.

2. When’s the last time you did something for the first time? 

This question is brought up during every wave at a Tough Mudder event. Thousands of nervous, first-time participants gather ‘round and prepare to slay a 10–12 mile course and 20-ish obstacles nearly every weekend around the world. At the halfway point of the course, 99 percent of participants will be sweating, smiling, laughing, and butt-slapping new buds while the other 1 percent fell victim to velociraptor attacks after veering off the path.

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Try something new. Register to serve with Team Rubicon, sign up for a Tough Mudder, apply for a fellowship, learn a new skill, or find some uncharted territory worth exploring. No excuses. No whining. Give it your best and crush the seemingly unobtainable. Feels pretty damn good when you’re done.

3. Say “us” more than “me” and “I” less than “we.”

Heard this a lot out there on the course on Long Island. If the guy who easily hoists himself up the Pyramid Scheme doesn’t turn around and help the first-time Mudder who’s barely tall enough to ride the ride, then he’s not doing it right.

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If Team Rubicon’s planning section chief doesn’t ensure the brand new deployers conducting damage assessments feel confident in explaining TR’s capabilities to a homeowner who’s just lost everything, we’re not giving our best to a community when they need it most. We have a greater impact as a team than we do as an individuals, so leave any trace of an ego at the door and put the group’s success first.

4. Shared misery is the best kind.  2016.07.23_ToughMudder_HINEN_0438

“Dude, it was so gnarly. I conquered the Mud Mile all by myself. Me, FTW.” Statements like these [should] never happen. Embrace the suck together and win. Suit up with your TR strike team and get more done together. Team up with a NVOAD partner and help more people affected by disasters. And while you’re at it, car pool more often.

5. Everyone looks good in grey. 

And blaze orange silkies. See below. Available for purchase at Team Rubicon’s online store soon.

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Team Rubicon is the official U.S. charity partner of Tough Mudder. Sign up for a Tough Mudder event near you, and use code TRNATION to get 10% off your registration. For every participant that raises $150 for Team Rubicon, Tough Mudder will donate $15.