Toughest Competitors in the Tough Mudder

Physical test 'helps you prepare for any obstacle you may face in life ... it's about overcoming challenges'

The words “relentless” and “unwavering” not only characterize the Tough Mudder obstacle courses, but Stefanie Bishop herself.

Stef Bishop is the current World’s Toughest Mudder champion, having completed 85 miles during the 24-hour World’s Toughest Mudder event in 2016. That’s 17 laps of the five-mile course and over 400 obstacles.

But to Bishop, the Tough Mudder isn’t just a physical challenge; it’s a symbol of overcoming life’s challenges.

“Tough Mudder, in general, will help you prepare for any obstacle you may face in life,” said Bishop. “It really tailors to your fears, whether it be heights, darkness, you know, water. It’s all about overcoming those obstacles.”

During the last Tough Mudder Long Island challenge, Fox News had the chance to take a first-hand look (and run) at what it’s actually like to compete and overcome more than a dozen of those less-metaphorical obstacles alongside a champion.

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As soon as we finished the first, we moved quickly onto the next (despite each one’s ominous name, like the “Black Hole,” “Everest 2.0,” and “Snot Rocket”). Her strategy, however, provided a unique insight into the mindset of a competitor — Bishop wasn’t getting mentally (or physically) stuck in any one obstacle; she was always moving on and focusing on what was ahead of her.

Bishop’s mental toughness also made her the perfect teammate. On the aptly named “Arctic Enema,” an obstacle where competitors are submerged in icy water, the freezing temperatures completely took me by surprise. Bishop calmly reminded me to breathe and keep focus. Her demeanor and confidence helped me pull myself out of shock, both physically and mentally.

“Everyone really encourages everybody else … It breaks barriers, in that sense.”

All genders compete side by side in the Tough Mudder, so I asked Bishop what she would tell younger women who are intimidated at the idea of competing with men. To this, she had an encouraging message.

“I don’t think they should be intimidated at all,” said Bishop. “Tough Mudder has this environment where you are racing side by side with men, and with people from all different walks of life. And what you find is that everyone really encourages everybody else … I think it breaks barriers, in that sense. You don’t ever feel like you’re the lesser set because there’s no such thing.”

This Fox News article is used by permission.

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(photo credit, homepage image: 143d ESC, Flickr; photo credit, article image: Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office, Flickr)

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