More often than not toughness isn't a measurement of how much you can bench press or how far you can run. It's a reflection of the adversity you've faced and the battles you've won every single day to get you to where you are today.
Never has this been more true than in the case of Tough Mudder Ambassador, volunteer and 50X Mudder Jamie Gane.
A familiar face among the Tough Mudder community, adaptive athlete Jamie has dedicated his time to helping other disabled people access Tough Mudder. Now he faces one of his biggest challenges to date, the pinnacle of the Tough Mudder calendar, World's Toughest Mudder.
In an exclusive extended video filmed last year we followed Jamie to get his brand new blade fitted, talked about what Tough Mudder means to him and watched as he took Jeshu, a first time disabled Mudder around the course.
Is Adaptive Athlete Jamie Gane the World's Toughest Mudder?
World's Toughest Mudder Q&A with Jamie
We sat down with Jamie to talk World's Toughest Mudder prep and to find out what it means to him to be taking part.
When did you decide to take on World's Toughest Mudder and why?
I booked my ticket to WTM in early January, this year. I purchased my ticket as a season pass add-on as I was adamant to make the most of the season with 35 Tough Mudders booked in 4 different countries. I remember sitting at home with my partner, watching the event live, wishing that I was there embracing the event and enjoying the atmosphere. I felt that WTM would give me an additional challenge and a great goal to work towards, with an opportunity to try harder obstacles and more difficult conditions.
What do you want to acheive at World's Toughest Mudder?
World's Toughest Mudder for me, is about enjoying the whole experience. 50 Miles is my target and I hope to achieve that however my main goal is to enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy the community spirit and to be able to inspire others to push themselves to achieve what they never thought would be possible.
What are you most looking forward to?
I can't wait to feel that buzz and the adrenaline in the start pen surrounded by other Mudders searching for their goals, while part of a community destined to support and encourage others.
What are you worred about?
I'm worried that i'll injure myself early on in the course and won't have the opportunity to finish. I'm not too worried about the conditions as I feel very prepared for all eventualities however I really hope that my body is able to keep me going for 24 hours!
How are you preparing for the challenge? What is your training regime like?
Training-wise, I've been working really hard at getting the mileage in and ensuring that my strength is up to scratch. In preparation, I have completed 3 triple-weekends that have really helped prepare me to be on my feet for prolonged periods of time (Tough Mudder Full on Saturday morning, Toughest Mudder overnight and then another Tough Mudder Full on Sunday).
Just a few days ago, I had my final large training session before WTM. Starting at 10pm, I ran through the night and bought a gym day pass to be able to access gym equipment. Together with two other WTM runners, we trained on the bikes, cross-trainers, attended spinning classes and other activities just to ensure that we kept moving. I finished my workout regime at 8am before then going straight to work until 3:30pm. I was going for 30 hours without any sleep and it was certainly a great training session to fit in before the event.
Do you have a pit crew coming with you? Tell us about them.
I met my pit crew while I was in America, running in Virginia. Returning to the UK straight after our event, we unfortunately missed our flight and even though we had only met those strangers the same day, they offered us accommodation, an awesome Walmart trip and kindly took us out for lunch and back to the airport for our flight the next day.
We have been messaging ever since Virginia and I made a detailed (7 pages long) Pit Plan, that highlights everything that a pit crew might need to know about me. It covers every angle from my general motivations, specific requirements for my prosthetic leg, clothing, nutrition, hydration and medical information. It has certainly been a difficult job trying to organise everything but I couldn't wish for a better pit crew!
How will you be celebrating taking part in World's Toughest Mudder?
I try not to think too much about after World's Toughest Mudder. I imagine that I'll be extremely tired and will just want to eat everything and sleep everywhere! On the Monday, I've booked myself in for the Tough Mudder brunch, which I am really looking forward to. It will be a chance to see the community, share stories and collect my Holy Grail!
What do you think World's Toughest Mudder means to the wider community?
WTM is certainly the pinnacle of the season and it's so nice to be able to share that with the other members of the UK community who are travelling out for the event. Throughout my trips to the US, I have met many international Mudders and I can't wait to be able to be part of an event with them. World's Toughest Mudder is seen as a huge target - a target that people train for on both a physical and mental level. It's available for everyone but brings the whole community together.
Is this the end of your Tough Mudder journey?
Does a Tough Mudder journey really end? I'm now part of this huge community that if I suddenly stopped running Tough Mudder (I currently have no intention whatsoever), I feel as though the spirit of Tough Mudder would still run through me.