Military Style Obstacle Course Challenges Warriors and Citizens Alike

By Staff Sgt. Nina Ramon | 205th Press Camp Headquarters | July 20, 2016

July 17, 2016 — HUGO, Minn. -- What makes a Soldier? Dedication, selfless service, commitment, perseverance – but most importantly the community. The American Soldier wouldn’t be able to successfully complete their missions without the support of the American people.

This summer Hugo, Minnesota, was the location for an Army Reserve-sponsored Tough Mudder held July 16 and 17, 2016.  This 10 to 12 mile, military-style obstacle course has challenged more than one million competitors since its inception in 2010, testing the participants’ strength and stamina while building camaraderie.  

For the past several years the U.S. Army Reserve has united with Tough Mudder in an effort to strengthen its partnership with the local community, while fostering the resilience of Soldiers, Families, and Civilians.

“I absolutely love having the military out here,” said Jennifer Friederich, four-time Mudder Legionnaire. “I have a lot of friends and family that are in the military. It’s great seeing them support everybody and their challenges no matter what’s going on in the nation.”

As participants make their way to the warm-up rally point, they pass the Army Reserve Fitness Challenge manned by drill sergeants of the 3rd Headquarters Brigade, 95thTraining Division (IET). Participants were able to take a peek into the life of an Army recruit as they attempted a weighted sled push, pull-ups, low-crawl, elevated push-ups, and a weighted sled rope pull, all while being “motivated and de-motivated” by the campaign-hat wearing drill sergeants.  

Fitness is a crucial element in a Soldier’s daily life and according to the Pentagon, fewer than three in ten citizens are able to meet the minimum requirements for enlistment.

From the warm-up point, Mudders make their way to the start line where they must overcome a seven-foot wall provided by the Army.

“I love it when our Army Reservist are here,” said Sean Cordelle, start line motivator.  “You guys bring the wall and that is the first challenge, but that immediately gets them into that team-work mode.”

The competition encourages participants to strive for their best – to push the limits – very much like the Army does with each of its Soldiers. Soldiers and Tough Mudder participants alike must overcome physical and mental obstacles by not quitting and accomplishing a common mission with their teammates.  

“What I love about Tough Mudder is it is about camaraderie. It is about achieving those challenges and not here, but in your life and out in the community also,” said Cordelle. “I think that whenever we have Army presence here, it gives legitimacy to all of that because that is what you guys preach. It is about looking to your left and right, behind you. It is about team work.”

The Soldiers who motivated Mudders on Saturday looked to each other and their community counterparts for encouragement as they donned team garb to take on the obstacle course themselves the following Sunday.  

“The Army focuses on teamwork and I think that’s what we’re going to need,” said Spc. Kimberly Anderson, 847th Human Resource Company. “We’re going out there as a group and plan to all stay together as a team to help each other out.”

The Army Reserve Mudders included first-time competitor Suchin Raj Sharma, a native of Katmandu, Nepal, who moved to the United States in 2007.  

Sharma enlisted as a health care specialist under the U.S. Army’s Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest, a recruiting program that allows legal non-citizens with in-demand skills to join the Army in exchange for expedited U.S. citizenship.  

Sharma, like many others interested in the military life, stated he joined the Army to continue his personal self-development and nurture a stronger sense of common purpose. He specifically appreciated the shared purpose put into action by those uniformed Army personnel at the event.

 “Their presence means a lot,” said Sharma. “People feel safer to be around and that is a good thing.”  

Soldiers continue to represent the service, pride and spirit of America and a tremendous debt of gratitude is owed to our communities, as their support and commitment ensures our Army’s readiness and our Nation’s freedom.

“When the people out here see the uniform they are like ‘oh my gosh our heroes are here, we are running with our heroes,’” said Cordelle. “And I can feel the difference in the events when the Army is here and they are not.”


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