In this edition of Community Spotlight, we spoke to Leanne Simmonds. The Holy Grail champion, the warrior ambassador and the general Tough Mudder legend.
We discussed how she started off her journey with Tough Mudder, reaching new heights, and why she recommends trying the endurance series. Plus, what brings her back to the community each season.
How It Started
It is October 2013. I’m at the start line of my first Tough Mudder, feeling a little bit chilly and deeply regretting my life choices. Over 4 hours later our team crossed the finish line, got crowned with our headbands, and celebrated the fact we didn’t die.
Fast forward to November 2022, I crossed the finish line at my 100th event, and in doing so, I became the new female holy grail champion (awarded for the highest mileage completed within the endurance race season). Had you told me that would happen back in 2013, I would have laughed in your face. To be fair, had you told me that was possible 2 years ago, that would likely have still been my response.
I am not, nor will I ever be a high profile, kickass athlete. I am just a standard Joe Bloggs, a single parent with a full-time job, who struggles to maintain a semblance of a training schedule.
How To Get Involved
The beauty of Tough Mudder is that you don’t have to be the fastest, or the strongest, or the most ripped. What Tough Mudder excels at is getting you out of your comfort zone and showing you that you are capable of achieving far more than you ever thought possible.
It doesn’t matter who you are, there will always be that support on course, and it is that which got me hooked.
The standard event series events are a great starting point. They will challenge and push you. What one person finds easy, another struggles with, and that’s okay. If you need that bit of help, be it a shoulder to stand on, a hand to pull you up or the verbal encouragement to take that jump, then you will find it.
What You’re Up Against
It is the endurance series that has shown me just what I might be capable of. Infinity is the perfect starting point, 8 hours to get as much mileage as you can. Choosing either the 15k or 5k loops, your race is up to you, and only really against yourself. That’s what makes it work.
Beyond that, you have Toughest Mudder, 12 hours through the night. This is where the mental game really comes into play.
Be prepared to be cold, tired and wet. It’s not all doom and gloom though, it is also where you meet some incredible people, and the feeling when you cross that finish line in the morning is indescribable.
Finally there is the most unapologetic of them all. World’s Toughest Mudder. The first time I heard about it, I thought people were insane. 24 hours of obstacles and running? 15k is enough for me, thanks. Now I am there amongst them, they are my people. Quite honestly there is no other experience quite like it and precisely why I’ll be back on the start line again this year.
Why Join The Community
So what keeps me coming back? The desire to do better, push more, just get one more lap in? That is part of it. But it is also the community. Being able to celebrate in the achievements of others.
My favourite memories have been those- the raw, unadulterated delight in a friend’s face when they placed first in their age group without having dreamed that would ever be a possibility. The stress levels when the person you are pitting for crosses that finish line leaving seconds to spare and having left it all out on the course. Sharing in the monumental moments of being the first person to hit 100 events in the UK. The refusal to quit and still being out on the course, giving it your all, despite having been diagnosed with cancer. The utter delight when someone conquers their nemesis obstacle unassisted, the ad-lib start line pledges finish line proposals, and the on course shenanigans… I could go on.
To those people who look at these races and think it is beyond their capability, I would say this. So often in life we don’t try because we fear failing, but in trying we learn, we better ourselves even if we fail once or twice along the way. So, rather than thinking you can’t, maybe the question is what do you have to lose? It is time to just show up, because if I can do it then anyone can.
Ready To Jump In?
Write your own story and be part of the community by grabbing your tickets now.
We’ll see you at the start line.