Disclaimer: This post was produced as part of a paid project with Samsung. All photos are by Jack Terry.
Last weekend, I joined forces with Samsung to run my second ever Tough Mudder with the beaut Alice Liveing, Deni Kirkova and Born. We were road-testing the new Samsung S8, Gear Fit2 and Gear S3 Frontier, which we’d had a week or so to get acquainted with prior to the race. Samsung is a super aspirational and forward-thinking brand, so many of the features solve those niggly problems you get day to day. Y’know – those moments when you subconsciously go, ‘oh man, why can’t it just…’ Well. Turns out, Samsung almost invariably has the solution.
Like emoji filters to change your face into a cartoon bunny, sheep or dog on the camera rather than having to open an additional app and go through the laborious ’save’ process.
And like Samsung Health, which silently tracks activity, nutrition and sleep automatically thanks to the ‘always on’ feature.
But back to Tough Mudder. The clue is in the name really, but for anyone unfamiliar, TM is a gruelling 10-12 mile course over approx 25 obstacles and through exceptionally muddy tracks.
The obstacles vary in size and difficulty, but what is certain is that each requires a degree of planning and strategy. Especially since the aim of TM is to start and finish as a unified team.
TM is all about coming together and facing your fears. Participants are referred to throughout as ‘Mudders’ – either first timers (usually identified by initial aversion to mud), and seasoned Legionnaires who are on anything upward of their second TM. On my wave, there were two guys running their 50th TM. Awesome effort.
On which note, a wave indicates your starting time. Races happen up and down the country, and once they arrive at a venue there are usually a few days you can choose from. Each day will have starting waves from 9.30am for the super eager beavers to early afternoon. You don’t have an allocated start time as such, so if you rock up and get the fear, you can always wait ’til the next slot. The idea of the waves is that staggered start times will lessen wait times at obstacles. Which can be a blessing (if you’re cold) or a curse (if you fancied a sneaky break while queuing).
I ran TM London with two other influencers (Alice Liveing and Deni Kirkova), and TM trainer Born. It was Born’s 14th Tough Mudder event THIS YEAR, which was handy because he knew the course pretty well and could tell us what to expect coming up. We were all running with our Samsung Gear – Alice and I had on a Gear Fit 2, and Deni was wearing her Gear S3 Frontier – which meant we could stay in-tune with what our bodies were doing (HR and BMR), as well as tracking how far round the course we were.
When I was in the army, Haribo was re-named moralibo for the humble snack’s ability to lighten the mood and bring back the chat. Having a device that could count-down the steps to our next snack point was frankly the best part of the day. We had debated taking our Samsung Galaxy S8 phones with us too, since the model can be immersed in 1.5m of water for up to 30mins, and the IP68-rated performance works through dust and rain. But super powerful connectivity amongst Influencers seemed a probable distraction, so we opted to save social media updates for the finish line.
Probably the three most famous obstacles around the TM course are Arctic Enema, Electro-therapy and Kong. Arctic Enema involves firing yourself down a two-metre tube into a skip of icy water. You break the surface only to realise that the sole way out is to re-submerge yourself under the wall to the exit. I doubt I’ve ever moved so fast in water.
Electro-therapy is pretty much exactly as it sounds. The small (although it feels endless when you’re in it) field is littered with dangly wires that fire out electric shocks when you touch them. Watching people go through is kind of comical – the shocks force their body through a series of weird convulsions before they’re spat out at the end. Kind of like when Nemo and Dory navigate through the jellyfish field in Finding Nemo.
Kong involves launching yourself off a 2 metre platform to dangle off some hand rings. The idea is to then propel yourself to the far platform, but the most fun part I think is falling onto the massive air bag below. We captured our efforts on the Samsung Gear 360 camera, which produced the most mind-blowing 360 images. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to hold on long enough for a decent shot, but the camera works super quickly, so it wasn’t an issue. Probably best we don’t linger on speed though – I may have taken a little while to persuade myself to leave the platform and take to the rings. Which may have caused something of a back-log behind me. Not sure I would have done it if I wasn’t so determined to put the Samsung Gear 360 to the test. Photos or it didn’t happen, right?!
Tough Mudder is the ultimate physical and psychological challenge, designed to take you out of your comfort zone. You are given the space to confront your fears and overcome self-imposed barriers. The feeling of togetherness at the end of the course is next level, which makes the super-connective Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Gear the perfect partners. TM is best attempted as a team, and I am so happy to be a part of team Samsung – we smashed it!