Thousands gather in Callaway County for St. Louis Tough Mudder challenges

The "Mystery Obstacle" on the schedule turned out to the the Fire Walker. Tough Mudders ran toward the pool of mud, jumped over a pit filled with burning firewood and splashed into a deep pool of mud.

The "Mystery Obstacle" on the schedule turned out to the the Fire Walker. Tough Mudders ran toward the pool of mud, jumped over a pit filled with burning firewood and splashed into a deep pool of mud. Photo by Don Norfleet.

The only winner Saturday in the St. Louis Tough Mudder event near Shamrock in Callaway County was the Wounded Warrior Project.

All of the proceeds from the international event went to the project, which serves veterans and U.S. military service members who incurred a physical or mental injury during their military service on or after the terrorist attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

Thousands of people from around the world came together Saturday on several acres of Callaway County pastureland near Bachelor to overcome the tough obstacles placed in their paths.

There were no winners and losers because there was no real competition. The challenge was for each participant to try to make his way through obstacles placed in his path.

Spead over several miles, the 18 obstacles were formidable.

One of the first was the Kiss of Mud. Participants were required to crawl about 50 feet under sharp barbed wire through wet mud.

They emerged smeared with mud but with a sense of accomplishment showing on their faces.

The same was true for the other events.

The Mystery Obstacle listed in the program turned out to be the Fire Walk. Participants were required to run toward a pit of fire, jump over it and land in a deep pool of wet mud.

Throughout the course, emergency medical crews stood by to assist if needed. But they rarely were needed.

Another challenge was to climb a high wall. Some were able to get an arm up and scale the wall. Others were given a boost over the wall by helpful volunteers.

Participants didn’t compete against each other but against their own fears and doubts when they encountered the obstacles.

Other obstacles were the Mud Mile, Glory Blades, Arctic Enema, Lumberjacked, King of the Mountain, Electric Eel, Trench Warfare, Hold Your Wood, Walk the Plank, Warrior Carry, Mud Mile 2, Funky Monkey, Cage Crawl, Berlin Wall, Everest, and Electricshock Therapy.

Several thousand people from around the world participate in other Tough Mudder events. This year 52 such international Tough Mudder events are scheduled at various locations throughout the United States and the world.

Many of the participants arrived in teams clad in similar outfits. Participating together gives them a sense of unity. In a pinch, they helped each other overcome obstacles. Markers were handed out at registration. They were used by team members to mark each participant’s number on his or her forehead.

The event Saturday was an opportunity for a reunion of five members of India Company, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment of Little Rock, Ark.

Marines at the reunion were Lynn Worthington, Newport, Ark.; Matt Shapter, Conway, Ark.; Steven Bridges, Knoxville, Tenn.; Robert Aimley, Springdale, Ark.; and Scott Preston, Jonesboro, Ark.

“We decided to have a reunion at this event because it benefits the Wounded Warrior Project,” Worthington said. “Soldiers injured have to overcome obstacles greater than the ones we faced today.”

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