Many things can be said about social media and its impact on our lives but at Tough Mudder we’re lucky to see the positive effect it has more often than not. And if there’s a time when we need more positivity it’s now. At the beginning of the month one such post captured our attention and it sparked a reaction in our global community. The post was by a Mudder in Australia. Pete Morris is a doctor working on the front line and inspired by the Tough Mudder values that he had learnt on course, he rewrote the Tough Mudder pledge to be applicable for the current situation we’re in and the fight against COVID-19.
Introducing Dr Pete
We were blown away by Pete’s message at TMHQ and felt truly honoured that the values we encourage on-course were helping him during such a difficult time. His message resonated with you as well and the community rallied to send Pete messages of support and love. We had to know more about the Mudder behind the mask and the man who in the middle of saving lives took a moment to inspire us all. Pete very kindly offered to answer some questions so we could understand more about what he is experiencing on the front line and how Tough Mudder and its community has been part of his life.
How did you get into running Tough Mudder events?
8 years ago my cousin asked me if I wanted to run with her at the first Melbourne Tough Mudder event. I was extremely nervous and had never run that far or done any obstacle course races. From that moment on, I was hooked. I then started doing double event weekends, I’ve travelled interstate and now overseas to the USA and New Zealand to do Tough Mudders as well.
You’ve earned your 50x headband (which is an incredible achievement), what has kept you coming back for more?
The Tough Mudder community and people I have met through the events is what really keeps me coming back. I’ve made plenty of great friends on and off the course, and the camaraderie on course is something else. I’m constantly meeting amazing people, helping and getting helped by others every time. It’s awesome.
Each event is always a challenge, and I still get excited and a little nervous each time I get to the start line. I’ve done regular Tough Mudder events, Tougher and the 12 hour Toughest event and I like to keep pushing myself.
I also had a race with a few of the other Tough Mudder Australia regulars to see who would be the first Aussie to reach 50 events. I travelled overseas to make up the difference so that all 3 of us hit our 50 at Toughest Mudder Australia 2019, after slogging it out for 12 hours through the night. It was the perfect finish to the event.
You said in your post that you feel Tough Mudder’s values apply to the current crisis – how so?
The current COVID19 pandemic has been a challenge for all of us across the world both mentally with the toll it is taking on people’s anxiety and fears, as well as the physical tolls of infection and being isolated from others. It is heartening to see people across the world banding together to keep in touch, to check in on each other especially online. There are also online groups to help us stay fit and active, to allow us to donate to worthwhile causes helping those who have lost jobs and their livelihood, as well as supporting the front line workers, teachers, supermarket workers and other essential services etc.
Running the Tough Mudder course is like that, there are obstacles both physically and mentally that you won’t be able to do on your own and there will always be someone there to help you if you ask, and others who’ll volunteer to help you if you’re too shy or afraid to ask too. That attitude will get us through this together, as a community.
Do the right thing for everyone, stay at home when you can to protect each other. Check on your friends and say hi, ask if they need help, give them the support both emotionally and mentally. Do some physical activity or challenges together online to keep fit and healthy. But most importantly, recognise your own problems and reach out for help because the community is here for you as well.
Do you have a particular saying or mantra that’s helping you get through this difficult time?
There are 2 things I try to think about every day that are helping me get through at the moment.
1) Did I achieve something for myself today? This can be simple but set yourself a goal. Go for a 5km walk, do 50 push ups, start that book you meant to read, sort out those family photos, start the new TV show you’ve always wanted to watch, try not to finish that whole block of chocolate! I think we all need to find some purpose in our day-to-day lives at the moment.
2) Connect with someone else today. If you can make a small difference in someone else’s life every day that will mean a lot to them and helps to ensure others don’t feel too isolated. Call your mum/dad/grandparent, thank the postal worker for bringing the mail today, Facebook message that friend you haven’t seen in 3 years, say hi to that Tough Mudder friend you would have been running with this weekend. If everyone does this just once a day, it will help us realise we aren’t alone and we will all be OK.
What would you say to Mudders around the world, in terms of how they can help key workers in our current situation?
Again it’s the little things that you do at home and with your family and friends that will make the most difference. Stay home when you can, keep a good social distance from others when you can’t. This slows the spread and protects you and others, and helps the health care and essential services to keep going without being overwhelmed.
Look out for and look after one another because if we can protect our own mental health then that’s one less issue we will all need to deal with now and in the future.
It’s like an obstacle course, it’s tough at times, there are ups and down, it can be frustrating and painful, but we will get to the finish line together if we work with each other.
Is there anything that you would like to share from your experience as a front line doctor that you think is important for people to know?
As a doctor on the front line, to be honest, we are scared too, we worry for our own safety, for our families, and for you. But that’s OK! We want to do and are doing the best we can with what we’ve got. If you can stay home to protect us we will be able to keep going to work for you. If you can, just say thank you to anyone who is still working to help you out. Be that your delivery guy coming to the door, the policeman helping protect your streets, the doctor who you see today, that nurse going home from work, the garbage man picking up your bins on the weekend. We have all seen a lot of understandably frustrated, angry and upset people, and just a simple thank you is often enough to help us get through the day and realise that people appreciate what we are doing.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when this is all over?
I am going to take a group of my family and Tough Mudder mates and go camping out in the country. I can’t wait to sit by the campfire, under country sky full of stars, having a few drinks and a BBQ and enjoy being outside and together again. And of course, it will be great to get back onto the Tough Mudder course whenever that might be, in Australia or the US!
Finally, we had to ask – what’s your favourite Tough Mudder obstacle and why?
I LOVE Everest. I see it as the great equaliser on course and it’s always a challenge. Hopefully everyone who’s done Tough Mudder remembers how awesome it is to make it up for the first time. I also love watching and helping people who’ve tried time and time again to finally make it to the top. That moment of happiness as they finally get up thanks to the other Mudders around them is priceless.
If you’ve been inspired by Pete’s post then remember to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to keep up with everything Mudder Nation is doing. Ready to take on Dr Pete’s favourite obstacle? You can book your ticket for 2021 today.