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Team Building Stories from the Tough Mudder

by | Jul 30, 2013 | Fitness Info, General Info, Healthy Living, Stress Relief

Do you remember splashing through muddy puddles in the street after a rainstorm or sitting in the backyard crafting mud pies from the gunk in the hollow of a tree? Does this picture remind you of those muddy, carefree play days?

Minnesota Sports Medicine Clinic

I’ll be honest, this mud was completely different! The mud-caked faces you see here and here have seen the underside of mud packed trenches, the belly of a 34 degree frigid ice bath, the ugly side of 10,000 volts of electricity and 11.5 miles of hilly running… all with smiles and a big mud-ball of fun.

I could regale you with all the horror stories of the obstacles and the gruesome stories of having mud all up in everywhere. But, I’ll spare you because I want to show you the sunny side of this amazing team building event. Check out these great stories of perseverance, team-work and hilarity.

Pushing Through the Hills

A little background on this story: Jessica is a physical therapy assistant (PTA) at our Silvus, IL location. Because of the distance she had not met most of the OHW team, so she brought her son, Donavan, to the Twin Cities to meet the team and complete the Tough Mudder. Jessica is a fighter and I’m so impressed with her perseverance. The 11.5 miles of hill after hill was tough for everyone but every time I’d see her come around a corner or over the crest of a hill, she’d let out a big sigh and then smile. She did an amazing job pushing when it was uncomfortable (which was most of the time) and her positive attitude despite the pain was a stimulus for the whole team.

Here are Jessica’s own words on her motivation to finish: “My two biggest motivators during the event were knowing my son could not see me fail and even bigger than that was my mothers recent battle with Cancer…. I KNEW that I could NOT give up. She went through 8 weeks of radiation, weak and ill daily, getting a feeding tube and not being able to talk very well all with a smile on her face and daily laughter. I knew I could certainly push through a few hours of pain and discomfort with a smile on my face and get back up after a little electrotherapy and even laugh about it after!”

Cartwheeling Through the Mud

There is a particular obstacle that I wasn’t a big fan of called the Mud Mile. Basically it is hill after hill of slippery, slimy mud that rockets you into waist deep muddy sludge. It is pretty much impossible to get up and over the countless mud hills without getting totally coated in mud head to foot.

This is what I thought about it.

I might have borrowed this image for the purposes of this blog.

I might have borrowed this image for the purposes of this blog.

But there were several OHW employees that enjoyed the mud bath immensely. I wish I had a picture of Andy, Chris, Trygve, Jonathan and all those guys completely covered in sticky mud slop! It  was these giddy mud lovers that willingly shovedTeamwork me up the slippery burms, taking my muddy shoes in the face, patiently lowering me down the other side of the hills so I didn’t splash all the way in. Thanks guys. I really appreciate you not making fun of my mud hating expressions and putting up with my attempts to not fall in headfirst.

Taking One for the Team

Christian is a PTA at our Columbia Heights location and he was the only OHW employee to finish a Tough Mudder before. He shared his mudder knowledge answering endless emails, questions and worries from everyone. I think one of his biggest leadership moments of the day was before we even crossed the starting line though. The whole team was lined up at the start waiting for our wave to begin when an OHW employee arrived to watch the race (hey, she’s pregnant so she couldn’t run with us). I’ll plead the fifth on whether or not a driver’s license was used multiple times to let multiple people in the gates BUT this employee needed a nameless item to get in the event gates. This item was in a bag, in a tent mixed in with hundreds of other bags. She was outside the gate and we were about to start this momentous team event any second. Who wants to miss the start of a race and search for your team ahead of you?

Christian willingly bolted from the starting line, raced to the tent, found the bag, grabbed the nameless item, ran (quite a distance) to the employee outside the gates, then ran back to the start line and caught up with us all before the pledge of allegiance had been sung. Whew! That was sacrifice and all out effort in the name of the team.


In the several hours we worked as a team to get through the obstacles and the run, everyone stepped up to encourage, launch you over a wall, take a face-plant for the team and push each other to finish well. John Edwards was always double checking everyone for injuries and making sure no one was left behind. Andy McLean was bouncing all over the place encouraging everyone to keep going and embrace the mud. Kelsey Moyer battled through everything with an injury, putting us all to shame. Jonathon Odom was constantly singing, hooray-ing and spurring us on. And a ton of OHW employees and spouses cheered us on and gave us tips on obstacle strategies.

You can check out more fun pictures from our Tough Mudder experience on our facebook page HERE.

Minnesota Sports Medicine