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Thousands endure Tough Mudder test for bragging rights (Video)

Camille Doty

By Camille Doty
Jan. 28, 2012 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 28, 2012 at 7:29 p.m.

Spectators cheer on the Tough Mudder participants as they complete the "Funky Monkey," a monkey bars obstacle, during  Saturday's event at the Brackenridge Park and Event Center in Edna. About 1,400 spectators came to watch the 3,000 "mudders" complete the course designed by British Special Forces.

EDNA - Hector Tafoya battled the elements of wind, water and rain Saturday morning.

The 26-year-old Laredo man wanted to see whether he could withstand the Tough Mudder.

Tafoya and his team - the Medium Huskies - formed a bond and trained by jogging, weight lifting and enduring a cross fitness routine.

Regardless of how long it would take to finish the race, the Laredo Medium Huskies were making it across the finish line.

"We'll drag them to the finish line if we have to," said Hector Tafoya.

He chest-bumped his friends David Ramirez and Aruturo Acosta to get their adrenaline pumping.

Members of the team said they finished the race how they began - together. Time was not an issue. It was more important to bond.

"I just want to make it out," Tafoya said.

British Special Forces designed the 12-mile obstacle course to test the stamina and mental fortitude of those who dared to complete it in the name of fun and camaraderie.

Proceeds from the race benefited the Wounded Warriors Project.

Each participant slithered through mud, crawled in ice, and endured shock treatment just to wear the badge of honor.

Part of the Tough Mudder Pledge is to forge teamwork and camaraderie.

The Brackenridge Event Center was filled with about 3,000 mudders and about 1,400 spectators.

Saturday was the first time the race, which occurs in various cities nationwide, came to the Crossroads, said Cammie Pearson, the center's recreation manager.

Sean Corvelle traveled from Los Angeles to volunteer in South Texas. He got the crowd excited.

"Can I get a hoo-rah," he yelled.

"Hoo-rah," the anxious participants exclaimed.

The Los Angeles-based comedian shared a story of a soldier who lost both legs in combat. On two prosthetic legs, he won another battle by crossing the Tough Mudder finish line.

"I'm so inspired by these men," Corvelle said. He started volunteering in November and hasn't looked back.

"I'm happy to be here and connect with people," he said.

Droves of men and women hustled across the starting line. As they traversed the course, the numbers dwindled to only a few survivors jogging or even limping across the finish line.

Men and women wore superhero masks, army fatigues, and pink ballerina tutus. The clean T-shirts and workout shorts were saturated in mud.

During the race, songs such as "Eye of the Tiger" and "Lose Yourself" by Eminem hovered in the background.

The cheers from spectators strengthened the competitors' spirits.

A little girl shouted, "Go, Daddy" to her father who made his way across the monkey bars.

As he held on to get past, his biggest-pint size supporter extended her arms to hug him. She didn't care that he was drenched, sweaty and covered with mud.

Loren Marti's daughters supported him remotely from Arkansas.

"I've got my daughters here with me," he said, pointing to the shirt Anna and Victoria Marti designed.

The 42-year-old father of two managed the course until near the end.

"I didn't have anything left in my legs," he said. Marti's new-found friends helped him get over the steep slope.

Tafoya and his friends had each other and their their jokes to get them through the course.

Enrique Volkmer was deemed their honorary mascot.

"It's my fault that I wear medium husky T-shirts," he said jokingly.

Tafoya was just satisfied becoming a part of the Tough Mudder family. His plan was to celebrate with friends.

"We're going to crash, tell some jokes and party in Victoria," Tafoya said.



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