Tag Archives: World’s Toughest Mudder

Conquering the New England Tough Mudder

This past weekend two of my running buddies and I packed up our running gear and headed off to West Dover, Vermont to tackle the New England Tough Mudder, a 10-mile obstacle course race.

The three of us had all completed a Tough Mudder before, so we had a general idea of what was to come.

Mud, hills, obstacles, more hills, mud and even electric shock.

Yes electric shock. Live wires hang over a muddy pit and shock contestants as they make their way to the finish. Four days later, I still have a welt on my abs from the experience.

It took us about three hours to complete the course with around 20 obstacles to tackle. Not too bad.

This was my first Tough Mudder of the season, and gave me a good idea of what I need to work on to be successful during the World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour race in Las Vegas in November.

It was rewarding to see that my training was paying off. I never felt tired or strained at any time during the event. One event closer to my goal of 30 miles at “World’s”.

Pushing past your comfort: Running “Bridge the Gap”

Text by Ashley L. Conti
Photos by Nick Sambides, Rachelle Bourgoin and Matthew Moore

Last Sunday morning I woke up a little nervous.


Because in a few hours I was going to be running a 10-mile race. The Bridge the Gap race had runners travel over the Penobscot Narrows Bridge where they encountered an endless supply of hills while traveling around  Verona Island.

I have always been an athletic person. I played soccer my entire life and even played DIII collegiate soccer at Rochester Institute of Technology, but running was never my thing. If you would have asked me a year ago to run a mile, I would have done it but would have felt horrible after. Ten miles never seemed like a distance I would ever be able to run.

But something changed. One day I decided I wanted to get back into soccer shape, so I started running.  A few miles here and there slowly turned into 12 miles a week, which turned into hitting 90 miles last month.

My body started craving longer and longer distances, so I gave in. Two mile runs turned into four miles, four miles turned into six miles, six miles turned into doing 13 miles on my day off because I could.

So Sunday I wasn’t nervous about not finishing, I was nervous about how far I could push myself. How long I could hold my pace. How long I could ignore that little voice in my head telling me to stop.

The weather was perfect, finally a spring day.

At 10 a.m. the race started and a wave of runners started across the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. My running partner and I took off. We were holding about a 7:30/mile pace. Perfect.

At mile five something went wrong.  My running partner was having issues with his leg, it was cramping bad. Not wanting to leave him, I walked with him for about three quarters of a mile. My legs started to get tight from slowing down. I told my partner I was sorry, but I had to go.

I’m competitive and I tried my best to pass all the people who had passed us while we had slowed down. I got my pace back up to just under 8 minutes a mile. But the slow down/walk to speed up weakened my legs and I had to knock my pace to 8:30/mile.

Miles seven through nine were a blur, up and down more hills. So many hills, they seemed endless. My main focus was keeping my legs from stopping. My lungs felt terrific, my legs were feeling heavy. I kept pushing.

With half a mile left, I kicked it up. I felt tired, but not exhausted. I wanted to finish strong.

As I came over the final hill the finish line finally came into sight. I stepped it up again.

About 100 feet from the finish I looked to the sidelines at the spectators cheering everyone on and noticed someone taking photos of me. Why would anyone be taking photos of me?

As I ran closer the person looked more familiar. Then she removed her sunglasses and I was shocked. My friend, whom I hadn’t seen in months while she backpacked through Asia, was standing there. I didn’t even know she was back in the States. I ran over and gave her the biggest hug ever. In shock I sprinted across the finish line, 1:28:10.

Not the best time in the world, not the worst either. But I’m proud of myself.

I ignored my body telling me to stop, that it was too hard, and pushed myself. One step closer to achieving the real reason for running, hitting 30-miles at the World’s Toughest Mudder.