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4 Athletes Who Fought for Positive Change...and Won

By Matt Alesevich | 08. December 2014


Tough Mudder's 10-12 mile military-style obstacle course is about much more than overcoming on-course obstacles-- it's a chance for people around the world to test their fitness while bonding with friends and fellow Mudders and overcoming physical, mental and personal obstacles along the way.

Faced with conditions ranging from broken bones to broken hearts, countless 2014 Mudders and their teams stepped up to the Tough Mudder start line with a mission to turn their scars into stars, and in the end, found that beyond the finish line awaited a new beginning.

So to honor the everyday men and women who, in true Mudder spirit, overcame seemingly-insurmountable obstacles both on course and off to become 2014 Tough Mudder finishers, we’ll be recognizing 57 motivational Mudders throughout the month of December--one from each Tough Mudder event this year.

Moving down the event schedule from Chicago, Ohio, New England and Nashville, let’s meet the motivating 2014 Mudders of Scotland, Virginia, Whistler and UK-Midlands.

Alan Stewart - Tough Mudder Scotland Finisher

This year I've been taking on 1,000 miles of personal challenges to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, which included my third Scottish Tough Mudder. My final adventure is still to come. I will be summiting Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, on New Year's morning 2015. I'm raising money for British Heart Foundation because my dad was lucky enough to survive a heart attack last year on holiday in the Far East. It was tough being helpless thousands of miles away, but he made a full recovery after heart surgery. My granddad survived two heart attacks in his lifetime, but the third eventually took his life. I’ve done many races this year, from 10Ks to ultra marathons, but Tough Mudder is one of my favorites because you can enjoy it without the pressure of being on the clock and take time to help your fellow Mudders along the way.
[Visit Alan’s fundraising page.]

Grace Alegre - Tough Mudder Virginia Finisher

Tough Mudder Virginia was on Father’s Day, and I was there because of my father-- the toughest badass I ever knew. He was a 23-year Navy veteran who fought for our country and died in 2012 of lung cancer from exposure to agent orange in Vietnam. I initially grieved his absence with unhealthy habits to numb the pain, but one day my doctor said, “What would your dad think of this?” She was right. I made a commitment and slowly went from barely huffing out a quarter mile to running my first half marathon. Tough Mudder was a pipe dream, but my Mudder friend, Jared, convinced me I could do it. What a rush of adrenaline. Tears welled up in my eyes after the first obstacle. I felt an enormous amount of gratitude for my father and every soldier that fought for my freedom. Will I do it again? Oh, yes. But not for the headband. Not for the bragging rights. Simply for the heart.

Carling Middlestead - Tough Mudder Whistler Finisher

A few years ago, I was in an abusive marriage feeling trapped and alone. Deciding to leave was the hardest decision I ever made. Shortly before my 29th birthday, I decided something had to change. My life was out of control. On a whim, I walked into a gym and asked to speak with a personal trainer.

I am not a victim. I am a Tough Mudder.

Working out gave me the self-confidence I needed to fight the legal battle with my ex, but I needed something more. I needed something that scared me-- something out of my comfort zone. I saw Tough Mudder on Facebook, and I knew I had to do it. Tough Mudder has taught me so many things about myself. It has shown me that I am strong, capable and brave. I am not a victim. I am a Tough Mudder.

Lorraine Lewis - Tough Mudder UK-Midlands Finisher

My mother-in-law had non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was enduring an endless list of treatments. I would visit her cancer ward daily, and during one visit, I discovered that patients had to pay £10 per week to watch television in their rooms. As these people were already experiencing financial pressure, they would just sit in their rooms staring off into space. I set myself a goal to buy TVs for the ward, but I wanted something that would push me physically and mentally as I raised money. Tough Mudder seemed perfect. Whenever I felt weak during training or on course, I just thought of the pain my mother-in-law was going through. Completing Tough Mudder was one of the proudest moments of my life, and the money I raised enabled the hospital to purchase TV/DVD players for rooms on the ward. I can’t wait to do another one next year to raise money for the chemotherapy ward.

Having previously featured the inspiring Mudders of Chicago, Ohio, New England and Whistler, our month of inspiration continues tomorrow, as we highlight the motivating Mudders of Montreal, Upstate New York, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Berlin, Germany.