Every year at Tough Mudder we honour well-deserving members or groups within Mudder Nation with awards recognising their contribution within the community and their embodiment of the Tough Mudder values. Nominations and voting are open to every legionnaire and take place before World’s Toughest Mudder so the awards can be given at the famous brunch celebration following this epic 24 hour event.
We don’t think we’ve shouted enough about our worthy 2019 champions, so we want to put this right. Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you the winners in each category; Mental Grit, Fun, Teamwork, Personal Accomplishment, Community and new for 2019 – Hall of Fame.
The Courage to Continue
Growth. Resilience. Integrity. Tenacity. At Tough Mudder we are in awe of the number of Mudders who personify what mental grit is. The nominees and winner of this category have all persevered through challenging circumstances and despite the odds have conquered every obstacle put in their way.
Before we announce the winner, we’d like to recognise the shortlisted nominations for this award, in the words of those who nominated them.
- Dave Didier for having a huge fighting spirit, a heart the size of a lion and coming back to conquer World’s Toughest Mudder after beating illness
- Jules Estes for being a complete badass and being one of the strongest race format contenders in her field all whilst managing type 1 diabetes
- Will Cattermole for overcoming an injury and coming back stronger than ever
- Grant Polson for embodying the 3rd pledge line: ‘I do not whine, kids whine’ and smashing all obstacles put in his way on course
The Winner of the ‘Mental Grit’ Award is…
The 2019 Mental Grit award winner is…… pause for dramatic effect ……. Michelle Carney.
Michelle is one of many inspirations to the Tough Mudder community, and us at TMHQ. This is what she had to say when we asked her about Tough Mudder and the award.
How did You First Get Involved with Tough Mudder?
At the end of June 2017 I was finally able to get out of an abusive relationship that I had been in for 20 year since being a teenager. After various court battles etc I was just starting to get settled with my two teenage children when at the end of the year I received some news about my health that meant I would need to have some quite drastic and draining medical procedures. I knew that I needed something to focus on as a goal and to encourage me to keep fighting and had heard about Tough Mudder so signed up to do my local one in Yorkshire. As my grandfather had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer I decided to take up the challenge whilst raising money for Cancer Research UK. I initially signed up alone as everyone thought I was crazy and didn’t want to join me but at the last minute a friend decided she was crazy enough to come along.
What Keeps You Coming Back to Tough Mudder?
It’s quite simple really – the community does! I’ve found my Mud Family and a place where I feel like I truly belong. I never before experienced teamwork and camaraderie like I have out on course and that continues within the community off course too. The extent that complete strangers will go to in order to help each other overcome the obstacles and their fears both on and off course cannot be described unless you have experienced it yourself. This is backed and actively encouraged in every aspect by every person at TMHQ who truly believe in the values of the company and in changing people’s lives through the experiences they help them have. It has come to be a physical representation of the struggles I have faced in life, the obstacles that need to be overcome and the amazing people who help you do that in order to achieve your goals.
During the last couple of years I’ve experienced many ups and downs with my health. The various medical treatments I required lowered my immune system drastically and at the start of last year I contracted pneumonia in both lungs which then resulted in abscesses and in turn issues with my heart. Despite this I was determined to still complete the latest fitness challenges I’d signed up to which included a Half Marathon, World’s Highest Indoor Bungee Jump, Yorkshire 3 Peaks, Snowdon, 4 Tough Mudder 15K and 1 x Tough Mudder 5K. Many people outside of the community didn’t understand my need to do these things and it caused quite a few arguments. The support I received from within the community though was overwhelming. Obviously everyone wanted me to be careful but also offered every bit of support they could to the extent that some even offered to carry me to the finish line if needed (fortunately for them I am far too stubborn to ever allow that).
I have truly made lifelong bonds with people who have become more like family than friends and shared some amazing memories and experiences with them that I never would have found without Tough Mudder. We are so much more than a group of people who run through the mud together and I look forward to more and more adventures with them all as well as helping more people experience their first Tough Mudder.
What Does Winning the Mental Grit Award Mean to You?
Just to have been nominated for the award was an honour I cannot describe and I am truly, truly humbled to have been selected, I literally cried for days and the thought still makes me emotional now. What makes it so much more special though is that the nominations came from the community itself. There are so many amazing people within the Tough Mudder circle who have so many amazing stories. I am still very new to this family and admire so many people within it. Although I have been welcomed with open arms I always find myself looking at the people with their 25x, 50x and even 100x headbands in awe. To have been selected by these people who I admire so much, to be given such a prestigious award is something I will never ever forget. I honestly didn’t have a clue that I had been nominated let alone was a finalist so the shock when the awards were announced at the World’s Toughest Mudder Brunch floored me for days.
I would like to thank the community for helping me to obtain it though, as it wasn’t just my mental grit that got me here. As cheesy as it may sound it was very much the grit that I borrowed from so many of my friends that got me to where I am so the award very much belongs to each and every one of them too and as such truly is a community award.
Like us, Michelle truly values the support from the Tough Mudder community. We know Mudder Nation is amazing at making a difference in people’s lives, that’s why we launched the #HelpAHundred project. We want to reach 1 million acts of kindness during these uncertain times. Get involved and share your acts of kindness with us on social media using #HelpAHundred and make a difference in people’s lives.