Tough Mudder Families: Doing Good for Wounded Warriors
Moms, dads, grandparents, and godparents: Are you looking for a special occasion to dedicate to some one-on-one bonding time with your kid? Check out our series of hip happenings that will give the two of you secrets to share and a ritual to return to year after year.
Are you a retired service member? Maybe your parents or grandparents have a military history and you’d like your child to honor their service and sacrifice in a world that doesn’t always appreciate the military’s work. If you want to do something beyond waving a flag on Veteran’s Day, there’s a lot you can choose to do.
The Wounded Warrior Project aims to assist injured veterans, raise awareness about their issues and build support in the broader community for service members who have returned to the Homefront. Donations to the project are always welcome, but how about combining your giving with a miniature experience of what it’s like to serve?
Experience the teamwork and camaraderie of the military life when you participate in a Tough Mudder challenge. Complete a muddy obstacle course with a team of buds and experience the thrill of living out your community values.
Which Challenge is Right for You?
When 5Ks are just a leisurely stroll and a marathon doesn’t provide enough grit, you might just be ready to dig your heels in at a Tough Mudder Competition. Teams run through a muddy, 10-mile obstacle course in an untimed challenge that puts teamwork above the finish line. Everyone agrees to the race’s core value, “leave no Mudder behind”!
Sound a little intense for you? The Tough Mudder Half leaves out the fire, ice, and electricity obstacles of the big challenge and cuts the distance down to five miles. But with all of the mud and just as much fun, it might be a little more manageable for you and your teen.
Don’t count your younger child out, though! Little tykes can compete in the one-mile Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder, a great challenge for your mini muddy ones.
When you’ve chosen your challenge, it’s time to build your team. Invite the whole family, bring some cousins, or just coerce some friends. A Mudder challenge isn’t the time to go it alone. You’ll need some partners in training and sloshing.
After you register for the event, set up a site to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. Teams generally set goals between $700 - $1000, but you are welcome to raise as much as you can.
Get family and friends involved, tell your own personal stories about family members who have served, and make your cause personal. You and your child can inspire others to give when they see how hard you’re working and training for your run.
In turn, visit Wounded Warriors Project to see what they do for veterans. The WWP supports health and wellness programs and peer mentor groups, provides retroactive health and disability benefits and works to help service members recover socially, economically, and mentally from the trauma of war.
Learn by Experience
The great thing about a Tough Mudder challenge is that it’s almost like a mini boot camp. It employs the same general principles and requires the mentality of a strong-willed competitor. Teammates build their own strength, help each other, withstand the elements, and finish strong no matter what the obstacle. You never know—you might be able to handle a lot more than you think.
For kids, this kind of training and trust-building could go a long way in developing the soft skills of discipline, grit, and ingenuity. Test the waters with an obstacle course at home and see if your son or daughter might be ready for a Half Muddler challenge before you sign up. Just remember: It’s okay if it’s hard work.
The training guide, which you’ll get after you sign up, suggests at least four weeks of prep before you’re ready to run. Allow double the time if you’re training with your child.
On the Field
Now that you’ve raised your money, rallied your team, and invited your own warrior (Grandpa will need a spectator ticket), it’s go-time!
Leave your fears at the starting line and bound headlong down the muddy course with your family and friends. Challenges have names like the “Mud Mile,” “Berlin Walls,” and “Pyramid Scheme,” which should give you an idea of the challenges you’re about to face.
Because the event isn’t timed and it’s not a competition, you are free to skip any obstacle that you can’t complete; however, overcoming is much more satisfying than quitting, even if it takes you forever!
Once you’ve completed the course, you’ll get an ice cold beer (or soda, for kids), a Finisher T-shirt, and proud entrance into Mudder Nation. With this challenge down, it’s time to start training for a tougher challenge. After all – there are always more wounded warriors to serve!
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