Wednesday 16th May 2018


Tough Mudder – A Physical and Mental Challenge in Aid of Samaritans

Rebecca Cliffe – Digital Marketing Apprentice, Nottingham

I’m a Digital Marketing Apprentice for 3aaa in Nottingham, I’m currently 7 months through my level 3. Last weekend I took on the Tough Mudder Challenge, in aid of a charity close to my heart – Samaritans.

Tough Mudder is one of the roughest, dirtiest obstacle courses in the UK. It’s a 10-mile run with 20+ obstacles packed in as well. The event itself is organised with Help for Heroes, but the event welcomes runners fundraising for any charity they choose. (https://toughmudder.co.uk/)

This event is not a race, it is a challenge, and not one for the faint hearted, especially if you take on the full event which contains obstacles with ice, electricity, and tight spaces. Time does not matter, you can be any shape, size, gender, ability, what matters is teamwork and completing it together – this is even reinforced in the ‘Tough Mudder Oath’ that is spoken after your warm up at the start line. The warm up and the oath get you used to the idea that you should always put others before your time, help those who are struggling whether they are part of your team, or a stranger – no Mudder is left behind.

For a few years now, I have been struggling with depression, anxiety, and panic attack disorder. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms, and it’s important for anyone struggling with their mental health to find something that brings them up, even if it’s short term. Personally, singing, baking, and sports are the best things for me when it is one of those ‘bad days’, unfortunately, these aren’t things I can always do, e.g. if I am at work, or on public transport. So, I had to find something else to help, I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to contact the Samaritans, because there’s hardly been a week in the past year that I’ve not been in contact with them, even if I’m not having a bad day, it is just nice to be able to have someone to talk to without judgement or feeling like a burden.

I think a lot of people mis-label Samaritans as a ‘suicide hotline’, that they are only for those who are feeling suicidal. However, this is not the case, granted those calls do come in, but Samaritans are there for everyone, whether you’re stressed, depressed, or even just a bit lonely, they are there for you.

After going through a rough Christmas and New Year having laryngitis, my energy and effort for training was feeling incredibly low, I was struggling to find motivation for Tough Mudder. One day, on a ‘bad day’ at work I was emailing Samaritans to talk about how I was feeling, and how I was struggling with training, and didn’t want to disappoint my team, it hit me – I wanted to run Tough Mudder for Samaritans, as a thank you for all the help they have given me.

For the past 3 months I have dedicated all my Twitch stream donations to Samaritans, as well as receiving an incredible amount of support from my family and friends. I have also joined a local netball group, I’ve made new friends by doing so, and have been happy to be getting outdoors playing a sport I love that helps contribute towards training. Things were really looking up!

But…2 weeks before the run, I received some heart-breaking news within the family, and shortly after, a member of our team was injured in an accident and was unable to take part. It seemed like I was having the worst luck in the world, my confidence was shot, and I was growing increasingly scared for event day…

Surprise! The day before my event I got a huge motivational email from Samaritans, wishing me all the luck in the world, and the person who emailed was telling me how their brother had always been telling them to get involved in a Tough Mudder! They asked me to share plenty of pictures, and just told me that they were so proud of my progress and were incredibly thankful for all I had raised so far. It was the life line and pick me up that I needed!

The run day arrived and as a team we made it through all 10 miles and the obstacles, helping each other overcome our fears and smashing this famous challenge! Above all, I am extremely proud of myself, and my team, I couldn’t have done it without them. Looking forward I’m unsure yet whether I’ll take part in another, but one thing I do know – Samaritans will always be there.

You might feel lonely sometimes, but you are never alone.

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