Valley team completes "Tough Mudder" course |

Valley team completes "Tough Mudder" course

by Joey Crandall

by Joey Crandall

A group of Carson Valley residents seeking to put their CrossFit training to the test travelled to Bear Valley two weeks ago to participate in a unique challenge that is quickly gaining worldwide popularity.

Thirteen members of CrossFit Carson Valley participated in the Tough Mudder Challenge and all 13 completed what can best be described as a mammoth-sized obstacle course.

The course rambled over seven miles and included a nearly 2,000-foot range in elevation, which participants had to travel up and down in various degrees several times.

Along the way, participants had to navigate a series of 19 challenges that included the Braveheart Charge, the Boa Constrictor, the Cliffhanger, Dragon Wheels and Devil’s Beard.

Obstacles included crawling through mud underneath wire strung eight inches above the ground, slipping through a lengthy tire tunnel, scaling a 100-foot wall of permanent ice to the Bear Valley summitt, slogging through knee-high thick mud, hurdling eight-foot-tall beams with the help of fellow “Mudders”, jumping off school buses, dragging logs up the face of a ski run, sliding down a hillside on a wet, plastic surface, navigating low-lying cargo nets and even running through a course of blazing, kerosene-soaked straw with flames of up to 4 feet tall.

“It was just an amazing experience,” said Nicolette Begovich, who was among the 13 Valley residents to participate. “It was very difficult. The hikes I felt were the most difficult. The obstacles were a lot of fun.”

The Tough Mudder series is designed by a group of British Special Air Service special forces unit members with the intent of testing the overall toughness, fitness, strength, stamina and mental grit of the participants. Event organizers stress that it is not a race, but a challenge. Teamwork and camaraderie come before personal course times, with an emphasis on helping fellow mudders complete the course.

Ron and Penny Haskins, owners of CrossFit Carson Valley, began preparing members of the gym when a member found it listed on a Web site.

“We go through intense training every day just as a part of the program, but we focused on this event for about four weeks leading up to it,” said Begovich, who has been participating in CrossFit for about nine months. “We definitely could not have completed the course without that

preparation. It would be very difficult for someone who didn’t train and work out to be able to do a Tough Mudder event.”

Other members who completed the challenge were Janae Ballingham, Mark Lobsinger, Kara Hayes, Nicole Gesselman, Carrie McGill, Rachael Washington, Amanda Garcia, Andrew Davis, Toby Welbourne, Marshall Flagg, Lester FitzHenry and Kelly Hogan.

Begovich said the team had a fledging group of supporters at the event, including Sue Stratton, Buffy Flagg, Sarah Lobsinger and baby Logan, Jesse Washington, Kari Begovich-Wigton, Ciarra Begovich and Mrs. FitzHenry.

“There were different areas of focus for each of us during training,” Begovich said. “For me it was running long distances. Now that I’ve done the actual challenge, I would probably spend more time on hiking up steep grades or mountains.

“Our endurance was pretty good as a group and the obstacles were pretty easy. The long hikes were tough. It’s a very rigorous event.”

Begovich said the nature of the event breeds a lot of camaraderie, not just with team members but with the other 8,000 participants.

“People were helping each other with the obstacles, it was really a unique experience,” she said. “It’s not a race, it is so much more just about finishing than how many people you finish in front of.”

The average time of completion is about 2 hours, 30 minutes. Begovich said most people can probably complete it in about an hour and 45 minutes in actual course time, but there is some waiting at some of the more-time consuming obstacles.

“There are some lines you have to wait in just with the sheer volume of people participating,” she said.

The Tough Mudder series raises funds for the Wounded Soldier Fund and has already raised over $90,000.

“It was very difficult, but it’s something I would absolutely consider doing again,” Begovich said.

For more information on the event, visit

Joey Crandall can be reached at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.