TOPEKA, Kan. - Army Reserve soldiers band together at the
starting line of the 2013 Topeka Tough Mudder to take on and
conquer the hard core 12-mile obstacle course held here at
Heartland Park in September.
Tough Mudder, designed
by British Special Forces, is considered to be the premier
adventure challenge in the world that test one's all around
strength, stamina, and mental grit while fostering a high
degree of camaraderie.
The idea for the 346th
Military Police Company from Wichita, Kan. to compete in the
Tough Mudder was formed during the unit's deployment in
support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
“It was something I talked about to my teammates while
we were overseas,” said Sgt. Kurtis Cheatham, a military
policeman with the 346th MP Company. “This would be
something for us to accomplish when we came back home.”
Cheatham, a Blue Springs, Mo., native explained that this
competition challenges their bodies and strengthens their
bond. Soldiers understand the importance of perseverance of
overcoming physical and mental obstacles by not quitting,
and Tough Mudder participants experience this challenge.
More than 8,000 participants take part in one of the
world's best obstacle courses, said Nick Bodkins, a general
manager for Tough Mudder from Brooklyn, N.Y.
lot of people ... Tough Mudder is a way to get back in shape,
get fit and for people to push themselves,” said Bodkins, a
native of Pensacola, Fla.
Tough Mudder participants
plunged into icy waters, scaled slippery slopes, maneuvered
through muddy terrain, and endured electrical shocks while
competing in the obstacle course which lasted more than
Army Reserve soldiers understand the
importance maintaining their physical fitness on and off
Fellow Tough Mudder teammate Sgt. Joshua Blaesi, a military
policeman assigned to the 346th MP Company, couldn't agree
U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua Blaesi, a
military policeman assigned to the 346th Military Police Company in
Wichita, Kan., and fellow soldiers tackle an obstacle during the 2013 Tough Mudder in
Topeka, Kan. on Sept. 21. Tough Mudder is a series of hard core
10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to
test one's mental and physical fortitude. (U.S. Army photo by Staff
Sgt. Marnie Jacobowitz)
“Your physical fitness while you're deployed is huge,” said
Blaesi, who followed in his father and grandfather's
footsteps when he joined the military. He explained while on
MP patrol it is important for a soldier to know that their
battle buddies can count on them.
“The Army Reserve
gave me a love for physical fitness ... the ability to push
myself and become a stronger, better individual both
mentally and physically,” said Blaesi, a native of North
Blaesi said that he had a lot of respect
for his fellow soldiers and the civilians who participated
in the Tough Mudder.
“It took a lot of personal
courage to come out here and push yourself through this
event,” stressed Blaesi. “The military has given me that
mental strength to be able to look at a situation and to
drive through and not give up.”
This ‘Band of
Brothers' were not the only soldiers on ground at the Topeka
Sgt. Severeno Woods, a radiologist
technician with the 4204th United States Army Hospital in
Topeka, Kan., provided moral support to participants as part
of recruiting efforts for the U.S. Army and Army Reserve.
Woods, a native of Lawrence, Kan., trains in mix
martial arts and is scheduled to compete in the Shammorks
Fighting Championship at the Harris Casino Voodoo Lounge in
St Louis, Mo., in November.
“There is a lot required
of us physically [in the Army Reserve], so we must be fit to
fight,” said Woods.
Army Reserve soldiers look for
new challenges that are creative and innovative to stay fit
for themselves and their country.
According to Lt.
Col. Michele R. Sutak, the public affairs officer for the
Army Reserve Medical Command, the Tough Mudder not only test
whether soldiers are "Army Strong" - the event provided them
an opportunity to see how well the military training and
team work combined with their own personal training has
prepared them mentally and physically to persevere these
obstacles and know that the word "quit" doesn't exist in
The Army Reserve is proud to be
part of the 2013 Tough Mudder and commends the organization
for their continued support to the Wounded Warrior Project,
More photos available below
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Marnie Jacobowitz
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