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'Nothing compares' to Tough Mudder obstacle course

April 20, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Runners take on the last obstacle called "Electroshock Therapy" in the Mid-Atlantic spring 2013 Tough Mudder course at Peacemaker National Training Center in Gerrardstown, W.Va., Saturday.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

GLENGARY, W.Va. — Jackie O’Boyle, covered with goose bumps, mud from head to toe, arms held tight to her body against the cold and shivering uncontrollably, was happy.

O’Boyle, 25, and 30 of her New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine classmates had just finished Tough Mudder, a grueling, slimy, hilly, nearly 12-mile obstacle course near Glengary.

“I’ve run a lot of races, but nothing compares to this,” O’Boyle said. “The water was over my head at times.”

She was among an estimated 10,000 people who ran the course Saturday and a projected 3,000 more who will come on the field Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., organizers said.

The course runs over about 500 acres of the 2,300 acres of the Peacemaker National Training Center that Tough Mudder officials rented for the event.

One person was seriously injured at about 1 p.m. at one of the course’s obstacles, according to a Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office news release.

The participant was taken to WVU Hospitals-East in Martinsburg, W.Va., and the sheriff’s office examined the obstacle and surrounding site, according to the release.

The injury was being treated as an accident, according to the release.

At the race, Sean Corvelle said he’s the “start-line guy and motivator.”

It was his job every 20 minutes Saturday to herd 500 runners at a time into a corral to form a “wave” at the starting line. He’d fire them up with pep talks, open the gate and send them screaming down the course toward the first obstacle, the Kiss of Mud.

Each of the 22 obstacles had its own identity and names such as Mud Mile No. 1, Trench Warfare, Berlin Walls, Funky Monkey and, at the finish line, Electroshock Therapy.

That was a biggie.

It was a gauntlet of muddy hills and watery valleys with live wires dangling from rafters to sting the runners’ heads with mild shocks as they ran under them.

Some made the sign of the cross before starting their run. Most protected their heads with their hands, some crawled to avoid the wires, some were dragged through by other runners and some fell headfirst into the muck.

“It was mind over matter,” said Andrew Corbin, 22, of Westminster, Md. “Only a few of the lines were wires. I was only stung twice.”

There was no way to finish the course without ending up wearing a wardrobe of mud.

Terri Pendleton, 33, a mother of three, was a “mudder” for the first time Saturday. She was favoring her left knee.

“I came down the wrong way at the lumber hurdle, then I kept aggravating (it),” she said.

“This was a lot tougher than I thought it would be,” said Lee Quist, 23, of Hastings, Pa. “I thought I was well-prepared because I was running up a lot of hills to get ready.”

David Talley, 50, and his wife, Cindy, 46, echoed Quist when they said the mudder was not what they expected. They finished the course, but don’t plan to ever do it again.

“We’re not runners,” Cindy said. “I just made him do it.”

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