Story and photo by Lt. Col. Jefferson Wolfe
Army Reserve Communications
FORT BELVOIR, Va. — How tough are they? An Army Reserve team of two generals, three officers and a family member will find out when they test themselves against a Tough Mudder course this weekend in Charlotte, N.C.
The Army Reserve is sponsoring Tough Mudder, and many Soldiers have attended and participated in the various events this season across the country.
The Army Reserve team is to include: Army Reserve Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. James V. "Boe" Young Jr.; Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Irizarry II, the Army Reserve G-3/5/7; Col. Rob Wiley, Deputy Chief of Staff; Maj. Jennifer Nolan, Executive Officer to Maj. Gen. Young; and John Nolan, husband of Maj. Nolan.
“It’s a great event for amplifying and emphasizing these things that the Army and the Army Reserve stand for,” Young said. Completing the Tough Mudder course will require physical fitness, teamwork, leadership and cohesion.
Fitness is essential for Army Reserve Soldiers, he said.
“I think it’s important that senior leaders set an example when it comes to doing things that involve fitness,” Young said. “It’s all leading by example.”
It's important for Soldiers as well as family members, John Nolan said.
“I think it is vital, from a civilian's perspective, to see how physically fit our military members are,” he said. “It helps reinforce our general sense of pride in the military, and lends literal credence to the motto ‘Army Strong.’"
Young is involved in other very physically demanding contests, competing in international distance triathlons.
To get ready for Tough Mudder, he worked a little harder on cardio exercises and upper body and abdomen strengthening exercises.
“A lot of the obstacles look like they really put a premium on that,” Young said.
John Nolan said he has completed some obstacle courses before, but never anything this intense. It’s hard to train effectively without knowing what the obstacles will be like, he said.
“I typically do cardio and light weights,” he added. “The toughest part is not knowing what muscle groups I will need the most for this event.”
Tough Mudder is not a race, Young said. The goal is to finish, and finish as a team.
“My goal is to finish the race, and help everyone on the team do the same,” John Nolan said. “I am immensely proud of Jennifer and her colleagues, and support them in any way I can.”
According to the event’s website, Tough Mudder events are hardcore obstacle courses designed to test a participant’s all- around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. There have been more than one million participants worldwide, and Tough Mudder has raised more than $5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project.