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Auburn friends to join the Tough Mudder challenge

By: Laura Albright Journal Correspondent
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Tough Mudder! Tough Mudder! Tough Mudder! This pair of words has been flying around the Tahoe and Placer areas for months. And from a group of Auburn athletes and friends to the spokesperson for Tough Mudder you’re about to get all of the details behind the hype. Tough Mudder is a hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. Events take place all over the world with closest event to Auburn this year at Northstar, Tahoe Saturday. “At Tough Mudder, we want to test your all-around mettle, not just your ability to run in a straight line, on your own, for hours on end, getting bored out of your mind. Tough Mudder is also about experiencing a true sense of camaraderie. Tough Mudders, unlike some other types of endurance runners, are team players; they help out other Tough Mudders. We want everyone to compete, but being a Tough Mudder is also about making sure no one is left behind, not worrying about your finish time,” said Jane Di Leo, public relations manager at Tough Mudder. One team from Auburn plans to undergo this rigorous challenge. Team “Broke But Not Broken” consists of eight participants varying in age, physical strength and gender. Christine and Kayden Kelly, Dawn and Dan Tebbs, Cindy Cranney, Jan Petrenko, Tasha Mann and Eric Stoker are all “just a gang of friends on a journey to the finish line,” said Christine Kelly. “I came up with the idea and Cindy Cranney liked it because she and I like signing up for hard events and challenges even though we never prepare ourselves appropriately. “I just started my training (one month prior). I have maintained fitness over the summer by running and swimming. Like any event I do, I always use visualization and see myself doing it. Then I do it, barring any injuries,” Kelly said. “Tough Mudder appealed to me because it is different from the races in which I normally compete. I liked that it is a team event and the spirit of the race is to work together and help other people finish,” said Cranney. “One thing we constantly hear from our participants was that Tough Mudder challenged them both physically and mentally. You can train as much as possible, but at the end of the day, something will push you, whether it is physically or mentally. People love the sense of camaraderie there is at events — perfect strangers helping one another over obstacles. The fact that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge really hammers home the Tough Mudder credo of teamwork,” said Di Leo. Behind the challenge lies some interesting history. Tough Mudder was founded by Englishmen Will Dean and Guy Livingstone. Dean, while at Harvard Business School, envisioned Tough Mudder and it was a finalist in the Harvard Business School’s annual Business Plan Contest. Guy Livingstone joined Dean to act as Chief Operating Officer. “On an $8,000 marketing budget, they used Facebook to launch the first Tough Mudder event on May 2, 2010, at Bear Creek Resort in Allentown, Pa. Approximately 5,000 participants took part in the first event, and 20,000 total participants in 2010. Since then, the number of events has increased exponentially,” said Di Leo. The Auburn team forges ahead, excited about the event. “I have a great group of friends who are active, fun, and inspiring. I felt that it would be fun to bring everyone together to make a team. We all enjoy being outdoors and trying new challenges so it did not take long to put together a team. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday than being in the mountains, in the mud, running through crazy obstacles with my friends,” said Cranney. To date, Tough Mudder participants have raised approximately $3 million to support thousands of warriors returning from the battlefield through the Wounded Warrior Project. ------------ tough stuff Who: Team of Auburn athletes to join the Tough Mudder Challenge Where: Northstar, Tahoe When: Saturday and Sunday Info: www.woundedwarrior project.org, www.tough mudder.com