None of us were happy about that. None of us were mentally prepared. None of us wanted to do it.
Yet, we climbed.
And though we had to stop every minute or so. And though we went slow. And though we were grumbling and mumbling about it. We climbed. All the way to the top. Legs needed to be stretched and massaged along the way. Breathers had to be taken. Energy had to be found.
We climbed. And climbed. And we climbed some more until we reached the summit.
As a team.
Sure we still had to get down the mountain. Sure we still had two more miles of flat terrain to go. But we had just climbed a friggin’ mountain together. We had stopped at the top and enjoyed the views on both sides. We had inhaled the earth in ways we hadn’t done thus far. And we kept going. Together. As a team.
We all made it.
The last two miles were grueling. We were all just ready to be done. Our legs were tired. Our feet were worn. We had just been passed by the final Tough Mudder teams who had been creeping in slowly behind us.
Eventually we made it back to Mudder City, where our final two obstacles awaited, and both of which were designed by sadists who just wanted to kick you when you were down. Or so it seemed. Both obstacles were very unpleasant.
First was “Everest,” a greased-up half pipe which for some was close to impossible to get up. Each member of the team must take a running start and try to reach the arms of the people above, at which point everyone involved gets involved and gives it everything they have left inside of them to get each member of the team up and over.
Some got it on their first try.
Others took multiple tries.
Others skipped it completely.
I came up short on my first three attempts. I finally made it on my fourth.
From there, I stayed up top to help the rest of my team get there.
We all made it who tried. All of us. We were the last ones to finish Tough Mudder that day, and we had all made it up Everest. It was such an incredible feeling. We were tired. We were worn out. We were celebrating what had just happened.
And… we were ready to head to “Electroshock” where we would barrel through hanging electrical wires (10,000 volts) to get to the finish line.
But then we saw her.
At the bottom of the Everest ramp was a woman who had been trying to get up it, I don’t even know for how long. Seven tries. Ten tries. Twenty? We didn’t know who she was. We didn’t see any teammates. We only saw her final running attempt, on which she came up short in reaching the arms of other Mudders who had long before finished the course and were just there helping everyone.
At that point, she collapsed. She began weeping. She could not do it. She had to accept that.
My heart sunk. The hearts of everyone atop the wall sunk. The hearts of the bystanders sunk.
This woman was alone, and she had given it everything she had to get to the end. And she had come up just short.
And then, one of the most incredible things I have ever witnessed took place.
TO BE CONCLUDED TOMORROW. CLICK HERE TO FINISH THE STORY.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
Photo credit: Sophi Brenneman