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Tackling a Tough Mudder with multiple sclerosis

Tackling a Tough Mudder with multiple sclerosis

Hi I’m Andy, a 41-year-old Software Engineer from South Wales. I’m a father, husband and STEM Ambassador. Size 11 feet. I’m not just a man, I am THE man. Women want to date me and children want be me.

MRIs and CT scans all confirmed I am not right in the head. Most Drs could stand right next to me and not know I have Multiple Sclerosis. My condition to many is invisible, a day-walker if you will. Whilst I was officially diagnosed in February 2019, I feel that this is something that has been with me for a while. Bitter people are full of poison and with that in mind I’m going to try and make the rest of my life the best of my life and squeeze every bit of toothpaste I can out of this thing called life.

In 2022, I decided to do something adventurous. I’d always wanted to-do a Tough Mudder (hardcore obstacle course) so I convinced my buddy to join me and we signed up. My body has aged like milk and after the age of 30 I no longer had injuries, but acquired mini disabilities and had the body fat percentage of a pork scratching. When I was younger, I could screw up multiple different things at the same time but now I can only screw up one thing at a time but I can make a more extensive screw up.

Most of my fitness knowledge was ‘bro science’ so I thought I would outsource much of my training to off-the-shelf training DVDs like Anarchy, UFC Fit and P90x. After a good cry and giving up completely on the fitness DVDs, I decided on a new approach. My new plan consisted of hours and hours of weighted running with push ups/pull ups and kettlebells. Face planting the floor faster than a curry through a pensioner, it quickly became apparent I was no longer fit.

After a few weeks of repeated training and a half decent diet, I started to get in shape. I can’t say my body was a temple but more a well organised church. I trained everyday and sometimes twice a day, and just as I started to get into a flow, I injured my back ringing out a flannel. This was not a good sign on how brittle I had become. After some rest and a little deep heat cream I was back in the game!

The countdown was on and with weeks to go, my buddy decided we needed one last Hail Mary of a training session. We started training at 10am and finished at 5pm. I hurt from the eyebrows down, and walked like Bambi but we’d done it! We’d completed our Spartan-like training regimen and we had prepared masterfully, or so we thought…

The night before I franticly panicked convinced that it was a totally bad idea, I couldn’t do this sort thing anymore, blah blah blah. So I hit the forums to find that I was not the first MSer to do Tough Mudder. I wouldn’t be the only disabled person competing. This wasn’t a race but more of a collaborative type of course with a strong emphasis on team work and helping everyone. There were no time limits on obstacles and I could skip any I didn’t like, so a more confident me started to emerge.

Finally, the day had come and at this point I should also mention that my wife was 9 months’ pregnant at the time and she insisted on watching me make a tit of myself over 10k and 37 obstacles. As we drove into the carpark at Boddington my buddy and I couldn’t stop staring at one of the obstacles… a 60ft bloody pyramid!

Just at that moment I realised the magnitude of my potential screw up…Mike Tyson is famous for saying ‘everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the face’. 

We were off! We started to jog towards the first obstacle Hero Walls, and I quickly hopped over with little problem which sent my confidence sky rocketing. We jogged to the next station, the Ladder to Hell. So confident was I that I pushed my friend and insisted I went first. Into the muddy water I went and started to climb the ladder. To my absolute surprise, freezing water started to pour over me! I nearly crapped out my spleen, and what came down the ladder had aged significantly. 


As my friend came out seemingly unfazed by this obstacle, he started to jog onto the next one....Arctic Enema. Now this particular obstacle I had dreaded, a combination of ice and freezing cold water. You had to hold your breath and swim under a bridge. I took the plunge, held my breath and began to swim to the other side. Halfway through I noticed how muddy the water was and it was at that moment one of the marshals threw a bucket of ice water over me causing me to gasp in fright, which was swiftly followed by about 2 litres of muddy water and a horse turd in my mouth.

As I dragged myself to the next one, stuck in first gear with my vision in low definition and shaking like a phone stuck on vibrate, I started smiling to myself as I realised I could pee and no-one would even notice anyway! Fatigue had set in, gravity seemingly turned up but I was still going, albeit much slower than I’d started. Finally, the end was in sight and I was electrocuted several times to reach the finish line but I’d done it! 36/37 obstacles completed, jogged most of the 10k, got my t-shirt and medal… I’d completed my first Tough Mudder. 

Through perseverance many people win success out of what seemed destined to be certain failure. 

--Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)

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About the author


What can I say, I'm not right in the head. Loud Alpha Male type character, I wear my heart on my sleeve, Don't poke the bear type, Father of 2 boys professional Job I.T  (For how long I don't know) Bit of a daywalker, most people dont know I have MS. Trying to find the new me.