By Cindy M. Cranmer
About 50 Rockford women calling themselves the Dirty Girl Scouts started on the journey to have their strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie tested at what is labeled as “probably the toughest event on the planet”, the Tough Mudder, a hardcore obstacle course of almost 13 miles designed by British Special Forces. While a few Dirty Girl Scouts were unable to do the event on Sunday, June 30 due to injuries obtained along the journey, 43 women who began at the starting line successfully completed the challenge with support from their team members.
These ordinary women ranging in age from 20s to 50s, and fitness levels (when they began training) from having never worked out to advanced, worked hard under the guidance of certified personal trainer Chloe Haddad and her husband, George. The majority of women first started training in late September but some joined throughout the training journey.
“I’m so proud of my Dirty Girl Scouts. Forty two women fought like amazons to finish the Tough Mudder race and many of them proved their nay-sayers wrong. NEVER say never to a Dirty Girl Scout,” Haddad said. “I am so proud of each one of them.”
Tough Mudder events include jumping into ice cold water, jumping over fire, getting electrocuted, scaling walls, leaping off planks into cold water 25- to 30-feet below and crawling through tunnels and under barbed wire. The Dirty Girl Scouts crossed the finish line and earned their orange headbands as a team. Divided into smaller groups, they went through the event, but ran through the football-sized field of live electrical wires with up to 10,000 volts of electricity and crossed the finish line together. The ladies, along with George’s male team Mudweiser, exemplified the spirit of the challenge helping teammates and strangers complete the course.
This meant a boost at the Berlin Walls, which were a series of 10- to 12-foot walls that participants had to get over, or calling out to a teammate who feared army crawling through the dark, dirt tunnels of Trench Warfare or
downward and then upward into the cramped and slippery spaces of the Boa Constrictor, a series of pipes that force participants downhill into cold mud and then up a slippery hill on the other side. Due to the narrow confines of the pipes, participants need to use their arms to pull themselves through the obstacle. It meant cheering for those who were scared of heights and encouraging them to make the 25-foot jump into the cold water below at Walk the Plank, or completing the Electric Eel, which forced participants to slide through ice cold water and mud while ducking down so that they are shocked by as few electrical wires overhead as possible. The pain of the shocks was eased knowing your teammates believed in you.
Then there’s the Arctic Enema, where participants jump into 70,000 to 80,000 pounds of 30 degree ice and water and are forced to go under the ice water due to a plank in the middle with barbed wire on the top. The support of teammates, to call out to you as well as to be there to help pull you out when your body is not responding to your mental commands to lift yourself out of the ice and freezing water, is vital.
The final physical obstacle is Everest. To complete Everest, a participant runs at a half pike wall that is slippery, muddy and curved and then jumps, grabbing for the top of the wall as well as the hands of other soon-to-be Tough Mudders that are there to help.
Haddad said not a single Dirty Girl Scout would be left behind and the women encouraged the others to face their fears, their exhaustion and their pain so that all could finish.
According to the Tough Mudder website, “Being a Mudder is all about taking on the obstacles in your life and the enormous sense of accomplishment that you feel when you overcome them.”
“The Tough Mudder was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” said Nancy Richter. “What a positive, encouraging, fun, caring and friendly group of women. I am feeling so blessed to have been a part of this.”
Wendy Hanna was injured but managed to come back and become a Tough Mudder. Ivor Thomas, a member of Mudweiser, celebrated his 51st birthday by completing the Tough Mudder with his wife, Dirty Girl Scout member Kim.
For more information on the Tough Mudder or to view other obstacles, the website is www.toughmudder.com. Haddad’s Facebook page is under Chloe Haddads personal training.
Editor’s Note: Cindy Cranmer covered a story in early 2013 about the Tough Mudder. After meeting the coach for the team and the amazing women who make up the Dirty Girl Scouts, she began training with the team and covered the event firsthand Sunday as she successfully completed the Tough Mudder.