Tough Mudder Legends

Tough Mudder Inspiration

Tough Mudder Legends

Tough Mudder requires people to overcome many obstacles – these inspiring people have overcome more than most before they even reach the start!

Tough Mudder requires people to overcome many obstacles – these inspiring people have overcome more than most before they even reach the start!

Tough Mudder is about so much more than overcoming mighty on-course obstacles. From broken bones to broken hearts, countless Tough Mudders have already overcome the most amazing hardships life can throw at them, even before they step up to the start line. Here are just a few stirring stories from Mudders around the world, tales that illustrate how you too could follow their lead and become part of this global phenomenon.


Maria Beck

Mudder Hen, aka Maria, as her nickname suggests, has gone beyond the call of duty, spending countless hours of her free time ensuring no Mudder gets left behind, in every sense of the term. She’s found people much-needed rides and much-needed friends and dished out so many hugs and high fives, and all while having run three Tough Mudders whilst undergoing chemotherapy.

Maria was inspired to get involved after her brother ran the Tough Mudder Melbourne, completing her first event within a fortnight. Ruled out of competing by injury on one occasion in Toronto, Canada, Maria saw for herself how diverse the competitors were - from nervous debutants to confident legionnaires, all with their own reason for taking part. Maria saw her time battling cancer as ‘The Challenge’, and took that philosophy into the TM world too. Feeling resilient and confident, her adrenaline carried her not only through her first three events but also through chemo, seeing the Tough Mudder as her “little kernel of happy in an otherwise tsunami wave of stress.” For Maria, those events also helped her realise she wasn’t alone in her fight.


Ben Chan

New York City’s Ben knows all about donations and the good they can do, and we’re not just talking money for charity. The 33-year-old became a match in 2012 for a friend suffering from kidney disease and in need of a transplant. At that stage Ben didn’t lead an active lifestyle and he realised he would have to take better care of himself post-transplant. So he set a goal and before going under the knife signed up for a Tough Mudder with four friends.

That transplant happened in late May, 2012, and within five months – despite not being able to run until the week before – Ben completed an event in New Jersey. As he put it, “I’m glad I had my friends to lean on. Even the Mudders we didn’t know were friendly. We gave and received a lot of help that day and conquering each obstacle was a mini-victory.”

The following year Ben joined a team of 12 in a 200-mile relay race, and – after a lot more training – saw success at 2014’s Los Angeles Marathon, one of four he took on that year. Between each race he attended New York TM Legionnaire meetings, ultimately leading to Ben taking on the World’s Toughest Mudder, including a 30-mile six-lap race, a 35-foot high cliff obstacle, and a desert sandstorm that would have tested the most determined competitor.


Arne Funke

Tough Mudder Berlin finisher Arne weighed in at 120 kg (265 pounds) and was a smoker and asthmatic back in 2011. As Arne puts it, “I never walked more than 70m. Then something inside of me switched.” In fact, Arne hiked 1,000km on the Camino de Santiago trail in Spain, lost 16kg (35 pounds) and was soon hooked to a new healthier lifestyle. Arne added: “I knew I wanted to change who I was, so I started running on a regular basis. I gave up smoking in November 2012 and started training almost every day, losing another 35 kg (77 pounds) along the way.” By 2013 she was participating in 5ks and other running events on a regular basis.

Then came Tough Mudder Berlin, an event in which Arne said “the atmosphere was fantastic and everyone was helping each other through the course.” The intrepid German Mudder learned a few life lessons along the way too, not least, “That you can do anything you set your mind to. Never get discouraged and let other people tell you what you can't do. I’m now in the best shape of my life.”


Oliver Hurrey

Tough Mudder London West finisher Oliver confesses that he’d never even been on a jog or raised money for charity before January, 2012, when he got an email from a friend saying he had motor neurone disease, the same horrific disease that took his mother. That friend quickly turned from a happy-go-lucky footballer to “a frail shell of the kid I once knew”, and Oliver felt he had to do something.

As a result, he signed up for an event he saw as being about physical effort, bravery, teamwork, supporting friends, facing fears and helping people. And, as he puts it, “In the end, the loss of a mate has made me a better man.” As it turns out, Oliver was able to raise a few thousand pounds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, and admitted that the tears came as he crossed the finish line. And while his friend Doug died a year after his diagnosis, he was so proud of what Oliver achieved. Since then, Oliver has formed Team Doug in his memory, with this 20-strong group having raised more than £32,000 over three years. He added, “I’m now less selfish, more humble and committed to helping those who look after terminally-ill patients.”


Lorraine Lewis

Tough Mudder UK Midlands Finisher Lorraine is another great example of the most determined ‘get-up-and-go’ fundraisers. Lorraine’s mother-in-law had non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was enduring an endless list of treatments. Lorraine visited her cancer ward daily. During one visit she discovered that patients had to pay £10 per week to watch television in their rooms. As these people were already experiencing financial pressure, they would just sit in their rooms staring off into space instead. Lorraine said, “I set myself a goal to buy TVs for the ward, but wanted something that would push me physically and mentally as I raised money. Tough Mudder seemed perfect.”

That certainly proved to be the case, and whenever Lorraine felt weak during training or on the course, she just thought of the pain her mother-in-law was going through. She added, “Completing Tough Mudder was one of the proudest moments of my life, and the money I raised enabled the hospital to purchase TV/DVD players for rooms on the ward.” That wasn’t the end of her commitment to the world of Tough Mudder either - she can’t wait to do another next year to raise money for the same hospital’s chemotherapy ward.


Alan Stewart

Tough Mudder Scotland finisher Alan is no stranger to charity events after a gruelling year in which he took on 1,000 miles of personal challenges to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. And among all those events was his third Scottish Tough Mudder. Alan’s year ended on a high too, quite literally, summiting Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, on New Year's morning, 2015. And why that charity? “I'm raising money for British Heart Foundation because my dad was lucky enough to survive a heart attack last year on holiday in the Far East. It was tough being helpless thousands of miles away, but he made a full recovery after heart surgery. Also, my grandad survived two heart attacks in his lifetime, but the third eventually took his life. I’ve done many races this year, from 10ks to ultra marathons, but Tough Mudder is one of my favourites because you can enjoy it without the pressure of being on the clock and take time to help your fellow Mudders along the way.” And that’s just what the Tough Mudder is all about – overcoming the odds, but with plenty of fun along the way.


Ryan Sykes

Former Petty Officer Ryan is just one of many inspirational characters involved in the Tough Mudder world, and his story is remarkable. Ryan suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in Afghanistan, which left him with reduced speech and mobility. But through his own sense of determination and the unflinching support of a close group of friends, family and others who have since rallied to the cause, he created a mega-size Tough Mudder team. Ryan’s initial 54-person group first took on a seven-hour event in Los Angeles in 2014. It involved around 11 miles, 20 huge obstacles and mostly hilly terrain in his native Southern California. And the team proved a huge success! In short, Ryan’s determination and ability to overcome all odds succeeded in inspiring the people around him, ensuring he had the extra muscle needed to get him through the course.