Are you tough enough to complete the Gulf Coast Mudder?
By Grier Wellborn
For some, an 11-mile run with more than 20 obstacles through 5,000 gallons of mud sounds like a personal hell. Others see it as an opportunity to physically and mentally prepare themselves for a challenge many wouldn’t dare try.
The Tough Mudder race is coming to the Gulf Coast this weekend, on April 9 and 10, at the Ates Family Ranch in Milton. Many University of West Florida students have signed up for the challenge, hoping to prove they are prepared to complete one of the most physically enduring races in the world.
Registration for the race includes a headband, finisher T-shirt, a finisher beer and free photography along the race.
UWF graduate student Taylor Middlebrooks said he looks forward to taking on the challenge of the Tough Mudder this Sunday.
“I’ve never completed a Tough Mudder,” Middlebrooks said. “I am really looking forward to challenging my body and completing the course.”
Middlebrooks said he believes that the most challenging aspects of the race will be completing obstacles with heights.
Last year, more than 6,000 mudders participated in the one-day event. This year’s event is projected to attract more than 15,000 participants over the two days.
Even those who ran last year are in for some new surprises this time: The 2016 race includes classic obstacles as well as brand-new ones on the 10- to 12-mile course. Mudders must be prepared to get wet, dirty and even run through 10,000 volts of electricity in the electric field.
After volunteering at the Gulf Coast Tough Mudder last year, senior environmental science major Connor Wagner traveled to Orlando to complete his first Tough Mudder and is running his second this weekend in Milton.
“The most rewarding part of the race was being able to try obstacles that I never thought I would have the opportunity to complete,” Wagner said. “What I am most excited for this year is the chance to complete the course with all of my friends from UWF Rec. [recreation services] I also want the second time headband look.”
Many students who work in recreational services as well as those who frequent the fitness facilities plan to participate as well as volunteer for the event. Often seasoned mudders will wear the headbands from previous mud races.
Since many runners will come from out of town, Santa Rosa County is projected to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes for the county. While alcohol sales on Sundays are illegal in the county, Santa Rosa has also permitted alcohol sales for Sunday on the Ates Family Ranch so that finishers can celebrate.
While it is still possible to sign up, on-site registration is based on space available on both event days. For more information, visit the Tough Mudder website.