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March 8, 2013

Thunderbolt team earns ‘Tough Mudder’ title

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Senior Airman KATE VAUGHN
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Airman 1st Class Reymundo Lopez, 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, prepares to jump into the Arctic Enema obstacle of the Tough Mudder challenge Feb. 23 in Mesa. The obstacle featured a pit filled with water and ice and is the second obstacle in the Tough Mudder course that has 21 obstacles featured on a 12-mile course.

Earning the title of a “Tough Mudder” is not an easy accomplishment, but that’s exactly what a group of Thunderbolts did Feb. 23 in Mesa.

According to the Tough Mudder website, it is a 12-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to “test all-around toughness, strength, stamina and mental grit.”

For one Luke Air Force Base team member who completed the course, that’s exactly what it did.

“Jumping into the ice-cold tank of water was the worst part,” said Staff Sgt. Stephanie Harp, 56th Security Forces Squadron unit training manager. “I really don’t like the cold, so that was definitely the worst part for me. It really tested my will power and was my biggest challenge to conquer.”

There are a few things needed to make it through a challenge like Tough Mudder. One of them is teamwork.

The originators of Tough Mudder want everyone to know three “mudder facts” before participating, and they say the third is most important.

“You cannot complete a Tough Mudder course alone,” the website said. “To get through mud, fire, ice-water and 10,000 volts of electricity you’ll need teammates to pick you up when your spirits dip.”

That’s how Harp said she made it through the course.

“It meant a lot to have my team out there and there’s no way I could have done it without them,” she said. “We were always supporting each other and pushing each other to go further and finish together. They were truly my motivation to keep going.”

Harp said there are many reasons to compete in Tough Mudder, but at the end of the day, it’s about more than just completing a challenge and getting muddy.

“I was so excited when I finally crossed the finish line,” she said. “It felt great to make it through with such great people, and it meant a lot to contribute to such a great cause.”

According to the Tough Mudder website, the competition has raised more than $5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project since 2010, a charity that raises awareness and enlists the public’s aid in helping to meet the needs of injured service members.

For more Tough Mudder photos, visit www.luke.af.mil.




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