In an act of impulsivity, a few months back I signed up for the Tough Mudder competition, an insane series of endurance tests designed by the British Special Forces that run somewhere between 10 and 12 miles in length and feature 20-30 ridiculous obstacles along the way. The event, which you sign up for in teams, tests strength and endurance as well as grit and camaraderie. Many of the obstacles cannot be done without the help of your fellow mudders. Obstacles get a bit insane (crawling under live electric wires, anyone?). The event I signed up for is in April and I am currently “training”—how one trains to crawl under electric currents or swim through ice-water, I don’t know.
Tough Mudder events are held all over the country and while I am sure everyone who completes it feels like a bad ass ( I feel bad ass just for signing up…), at the end of the season the top 5 percent from all of the competitions are eligible to compete in the “World’s Toughest Mudder,” the winner of which is crowned the “Toughest Man or Woman on the Planet.”
When most people think of a ‘vegan’ they probably think of some skinny crunchy hemp-wearing hippie stretched out on a yoga mat or rolling in some dirt. Despite the fact that there are tons of super strong vegan athletes, that isn’t the image that comes to the minds of most when you mention that someone is vegan. So you can imagine how happy (and impressed) I was when I learned last week that the female winner of the 2011 World’s Toughest Mudder was not only a vegan, but a vegan in her early 40s. Juliana Sproles, a 43 year old vegan athlete sponsored by Boku foods, won the 24-hour challenge with two frost bitten toes. Way to break stereotypes, and be completely ninja, Sproles!
The World’s Toughest Mudder is so intense you have to sign a death waiver, and while 800 (half-robot?) athletes started out, only 50 finished.
Watch this video clip taken with 4 hours left to the competition in which Sproles, who is nicknamed “The Shark,” talks about camaraderie and the spirit of Tough Mudder.
I think this is a victory for vegans all over. Okay, gonna go stick utensils in electrical outlets in preparation. Or maybe just run and lift some weights. That could help, too.