One Tough Mudder

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Angela Stebbins
  • 157 Public Affairs
This past Mother's Day was far from the norm for Tech. Sgt. Melinda Fuller, a mother of three children and NDI Shop Unit Training Manager from the 157ARW maintenance group.

While most moms would simply want to relax on mother's day, relaxing was not what Fuller had in mind.

This year Fuller spent Mother's Day with those she refers to as her extended family, other members of the 157th ARW. She and four other guardsmen from Pease participated in the Tough Mudder Competition held at Mount Snow in Vermont. The competition was designed by British Special Forces and is said by many sports race and endurance critics to be one of the hardest one-day endurance competitions in the world, with courses typically between seven and twelve miles.

The organization boasts that this competition tests all around toughness, fitness, strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie ~ all in one place and in one day. The competition Fuller competed in composed of 10 miles of steep ascents, descents and obstacle courses that could compete with some of our best military training facilities in the world. This competition also raises money for The Wounded Warrior Project, raising over $600,000 in 2010 alone.

"Six months ago, my team members and I started training. We ranged in age, gender, fitness levels, body types, heights and weights. The motivating factors for each of us may have been a bit different, but 'bettering our physical fitness' was a common goal," Said Fuller.

"Our team from Pease was made up of Tech Sgt. Keith Brocato, Tech. Sgt. Hope Townes, 2nd Lt. Jeff Hill, Staff Sgt. Sean Avery, and myself (along with some friends and family members)." Continued Fuller. "We made a Tough Mudder team pledge, sang the National Anthem with great pride and ran across the starting line. The 'race' that we knew would test our physical and mental strength took longer than any of us had anticipated... 4.5 hours. At 37 years old, I can say that the 'race' was grueling and filled with physical and mental challenges that I had not expected. We were faced with vertical climbs and steep descents, knee deep mud, icy and rocky terrain and 35 degree waters that we had to swim across. It was immediately apparent that this 10 mile course was going to be tough and could not be done with an 'every man for himself' attitude. We all quickly put the word 'race' out of our mind and replaced it with 'challenge", as we knew the only way any of us would cross the finish line was if we crossed it together," Fuller described.

On average, only 78% of participants finish a Tough Mudder event, however, every one of our unit members were able to finish!