By Christina Schiavo, Corporate Relations Intern, Palio
Here at Palio, health and wellness runs through everything we do – in the office and out. And our employees are involved from every angle! From running to yoga, and tennis to ironman – you name it, we’ve got folks who do it. Because health is such a big part of our lives and work, we want to share some of our experiences with you. Our Because We Can health initiatives series is designed to highlight the passions, commitments, accomplishments and goals of a few of the members of our team. The series kicks off with thoughts from a couple of our Tough Mudder enthusiasts. Future posts we’ll be sharing include: running events such as this Sunday’s Boilermaker Road Race (Good Luck Tim Roberts!!!), The Saratoga Palio, and the New York Ragnar Relay Series; yogini’s in training; training for the Ironman; the sport of kings, tennis; and competing in the National Ultimate Frisbee Championship.
Tough Mudder –Got What it Takes?
You might be wondering, what’s all the buzz about the Tough Mudder? Well, if you haven’t already been told, it just might be the toughest event on the planet hosted by an adventure sports company. Described as a combination of Ironman and Burning Man, this is one hardcore battle and Palio would like to congratulate two of our own who were brave enough to take on the challenge: Mike Myers and Andy Neufeld. Both fought to be deemed a Tough Mudder victor!
Think it sounds simple? –You’re mistaken! This is no Warrior Dash where the course is only 3 to 4 miles, but rather, this is a grueling event. Here are the dirty details: Tough Mudder is a 10 to 12 mile event with multiple obstacle courses along the way. You’ll be put to the test –Running over hills, trudging through mud, and diving into freezing water. You’ll climb, crawl and jump over the assortment of obstacles with ropes, walls, electric barbed wire and fire trying to stop you. You better believe these events will leave you with battle wounds to brag about.
Designed by British Special Forces, Tough Mudder events were created to not only test overall strength, stamina and mental grit, but also camaraderie. The events are a new type of team endurance competition where participants are encouraged to help fellow mudders throughout the course and over difficult obstacles. Prior to participating in the event, mudders are asked to say a pledge. It reads, “As a tough mudder I pledge that… I understand that tough mudder is not a race but a challenge; I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time; I do not whine –Kids whine; I help my fellow mudders complete the course; and I overcome all fears” (Tough Mudder, 2012).
Isn’t that funny? –3 of our 5 core values are represented throughout these competitions: teamwork, fun and work/life balance. This event is right up our alley. Completing a Tough Mudder event is just as much about teamwork and having a good time as it is being physically fit. “If you entered the event to run by yourself, you would still need the help of other mudders,” said Andy Neufeld, account director at Palio. “It’s nearly impossible to do this alone; some sections are too steep and the obstacles can be extremely difficult without help.”
It’s challenging enough running a multi-million dollar business, wouldn’t you think? –Not for Mike Myers who was hungry for that next big challenge and surely got it with the Tough Mudder event he participated in this May. “It was never ending –With a surprise around every corner. It was a battle to the finish, a battle of will,” said Mike Myers, president of Palio. For most mudders, this is biggest physical and mental challenge they’ve ever undertaken. Tough Mudder is taxing no matter your physical shape, size or level of fitness. Even the toughest of the tough will get rocked in this competition and end up physically exhausted.
Tough Mudder’s range from athletes to thrill seekers and military veterans, to those simply interested in supporting the cause. Proceeds from Tough Mudder events are used to support the Wounded Warrior Project, helping soldiers who are returning from the battlefield. According to the website, Mudders have helped raise approximately $3 million for this project, providing programs in combat stress recovery, adaptive sports, benefits counseling, and employment services to injured warriors.
Even though Tough Mudder events draw in all kinds of people, there’s one common denominator –They all have a little bit of crazy in their souls. “The thing about Tough Mudder is you have to be a little bit crazy to even consider doing it. There is no reason on earth why someone would ever volunteer to get electrocuted, frozen, battered, bruised, or stuck in a hole in the ground,” said Neufeld. “But once you do it, it’s addicting. I’ve done two and plan on raging through the Las Vegas TM in early October.”
The most thrilling part of these events is that every course is different and the obstacles are continuously changing. For example, Neufeld participated in one this past November that was a relatively flat, 10-mile course but the air, water and mud was freezing. Come May when he decided to participate in another, it was 90 degrees and took place at a ski resort where the hills were endless. These events went from one extreme to another with entirely different obstacles along the way.
It is highly recommended that anyone signing up prepare. “This is not an event you just jump into. I’ve seen guys get seriously injured before even crossing the starting line,” said Neufeld. Tough Mudder events are no joke; you have to be mentally and physically tough to survive. And you have to want it! Think you got what it takes? –Tough Mudder is waiting for you! There are upcoming events in California, Washington, Texas, Nevada, Missouri, Utah, Tri-State, Kentucky, the Carolinas, and Florida. Take your pick to get down and dirty. Prove you’re tough enough to hang with Mike and Andy!
Always remember, with great challenge comes great reward. Those who finish a Tough Mudder are rewarded with an official orange sweatband and a free beer! Check out Mike Myers enjoying his free beverage in this Youtube he put together about the experience.
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