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Overcoming Obstacles: The Inspiring Mudder Stories from Melbourne, LA, Arizona & NorCal 2014

By Matt Alesevich | 01. 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, enjoying a hair-raising, new flavor of fun 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.

Representing our first four events this year, meet the motivating 2014 Mudders of Melbourne, Los Angeles, Arizona and NorCal.

Dale Azzopardi - Tough Mudder Melbourne Finisher

I have struggled in silence for 20 years with anxiety and agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces. This debilitating and sometimes terrifying ailment is something I’ve kept from my family and friends. When I noticed that life was passing me by, and I was missing out on years of my life, I set myself a goal to push my body and mind to the absolute limit. I use Tough Mudder to help me train my mind and body. I had my moments on course, but with the help of my brother and sister, I pushed passed self-imposed barriers that have existed for years. To my surprise, at the finish line, my sister was proposed to by her long-time boyfriend-- an experience I would not have witnessed if I gave into my fears instead of facing them head on.

Darek Connole - Tough Mudder Los Angeles Finisher

Four years ago, I lost my job and my girl. I was spending 16 hours a day playing video games and self-medicating on alcohol. I was about to turn 40 and forced to move back in with my parents. Then a friend introduced me to Tough Mudder, and I signed up on the spot. It’s been three years since my first event, and I’m in better shape than I was in college. I’ve taken up tai chi, rock climbing and parkour. I host free workout sessions. I say yes to more things than I say no to. Every time I try something new, there is that pang of fear that still makes me double-check my sanity. Thankfully, because of Tough Mudder, getting past the fear is easier every day.

Alex Mastrean - Tough Mudder Arizona Finisher

I was always a thin and happy kid who loved playing outdoors. Then my parents got divorced and my grandfather died, so I turned to food. At the age of 21, I weighed 290 pounds. I had no self-confidence. Then in January 2012, I started to make a change. I could barely run a quarter of a mile, but I started exercising and eating right. It’s been a long road, but I’m down 100 pounds and close to my January 2015 goal of 190.

Weight loss is not a one-man team, and neither is Tough Mudder.

My shirt size has gone from XXL to M. I decided to run Tough Mudder because I love the camaraderie and knew it would push my mind and body further than ever. Weight loss is not a one-man team, and neither is Tough Mudder. When I crossed the finish line, my mother was crying. My parents’ faces were priceless. I don’t think they’ve ever been so proud of me, and I know I’ve never been so proud of myself.

Jim Campbell - Tough Mudder NorCal Finisher

In September of 2009, I completed a 30,000-mile cross-country motorcycle ride to raise funds and awareness for muscular dystrophy. After the ride, I went to pick up one last donor’s check in Texas, and got hit by a semi truck. My physician told me that I’d walk with a limp for the rest of my life and never be able to run again. I was determined to prove him wrong. There may have been other ways to do that, but Tough Mudder hit my life at the right time and place. It’s now been four years, 63 events and 94 total laps. If it wasn’t for those doctors saying that I couldn’t recover, I never would have found Tough Mudder. My motto is this: Someday someone will tell you that you can’t do something. Later, you will thank them.

Our month of inspiration continues tomorrow, as we feature the motivating Mudders of South Florida, Poconos, Auckland and Las Vegas. Stay tuned.