While in Puerto Rico, we learned of yet another chance to adventure with Women Who Hike partner, Merrell, @merrelloutside. The people and opportunities we have had thus far with Merrell have been nothing short of amazing so we jumped at the chance to be able to participate in the Tough Mudder as part of Team Merrell in the Tri State area while visiting New York City.
I, Savanah, have never had any grand desire to visit NYC, although when my cab left the airport I was in awe of my surroundings. It truly is a site. The hustle and bustle of the city that feels so alive is magic. I was surprised to find myself greeted by friendly people everywhere I went. When I checked into my room the sun was going down over the Hudson River and all the buildings were glowing and reflecting coral shades of light. I set out my Merrell Tough Mudder gear in preparation for the big morning, then hit the city in search of a cheeseburger! Welcome to New York!
I, Nicole having participated in past mud run and challenge type events like the Spartan Race and Warrior Dash, couldn’t wait for the challenge based event which included fun and epic obstacles like the Mud Mile, Everest and the new Pyramid revamped by Merrell themselves which includes some of the Merrell Select Grip technology used on their shoes to help competitors reach the top.
The morning of the event, we convened for breakfast at Jack’s Wife Freda and met up with the Merrell Mudders as well as local NY writers and editors there to cover the Tough Mudder event and to meet us, Women Who Hike. Noah Galloway, another Merrell ambassador was there along with us to compete in the Mudder and he is best known for being a former US Army soldier who as injured during the Iraq War, losing his left arm above the elbow and left leg above the knee. Noah is now a motivational speaker, and extreme sports enthusiast and was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, season 20. Noah is one of those innately brave souls and we were honored to be running alongside him.
When we arrived on site for the race, we learned there were thousand of people doing the mud run and the energy upon arrival is nothing short of electric and exhilerating. We were ready to get er done! For the Tough Mudder we wore Merrell Brand Compression Gear and the All Out Crush, Tough Mudder Edition. The All Out Crush is a shoe we both, Savanah and Nicole have and the comfort and grip on these shoes is spectacular. I, Nicole am also known to wear them for some light bouldering because of the tight fit and sticky grip like sole.
We lined up to for the start of the race and squealed with excitement when we saw Coach T there pumping up the crowd. Coach T is a well known figure with Tough Mudder and can easily be deciphered because of his signature goatee and aviator shades. Team Merrell was then ready to go, and introduced to the crowd. Because Tough Mudder is a TEAM event, when you start it doesn’t feel like a race… it feels like you are all friends there to have fun, support one another, share some laughs and empower each other, which is exactly what Women Who Hike is all about. We have said it once and will say it again, we at Women Who Hike are very lucky to be working with both Merrell and Tough Mudder and their partnership is one of great synergy.
Right out the gates we were trekking through ankle deep and then knee deep mud. We quickly learned that these strangers we began this race with quickly evolved to committed teammates. These select few that we just met were then offering us a ‘heave ho’ on their heads and shoulders with all of our weight bearing down on them in order to climb over walls and complete obstacles, some being harder than others. Though Nicole, who digs obstacles and a great challenge, actually went up the pyramid twice just because, but also to help out the team, which made for one great highlight on the reel that we will all soon never forget. We laughed and smiled and struggled through the whole course and we couldn’t have asked for a better crew to have worked with.
Thanks to a rockin' team and some seriously dependable Merrell gear, we completed the course and raced over to the Mini Mudder to root on Noahs two children, Rian and Jack who were getting down and dirty on the course; Just like their dad, determined and driven. Rian, the youngest of the two was so pumped she even ran a victory lap after being finished. We all headed back to the Merrell tent for celebratory beers and cold showers. Feeling on top of the world we took group pics and shared our thoughts from the day. On the shuttle back to Manhattan, Nicole thought it necessary to buy a dozen doughnuts and probably 2 dozen doughnut holes!! She was right, the whole crew was stoked to find a bus full of doughnuts after the pit stop and a then long drive back to the city with your usual NYC traffic.
We both made it to our rooms, getting weird looks from the other guests in the hotel. We both opted to shower with our clothes on. And I, Savanah couldn’t even take off my shoes because they were so caked in mud… ’ll say this, I feel really bad for whoever had to clean that hotel room the next day.
Leslie, who is on the global marketing team for Merrell, suited up that evening and showed us around NYC. Surrounded by history and culture we wandered through the city on foot in search of cocktails and pizza. I, Savanah already miss that pizza. Nicole, who normally is no fan of pizza (weirdo), even loved it!
The next morning, we had decided we couldn’t leave NYC without visiting Central Park, so on departure day, we hailed a cab in a rain storm and headed out with all our bags to Central Park! We harassed a waffle cart until they opened around 11, waffles in the rain in central park? Yes, it was awesome.
As our trip was quickly coming to an end, we were thrilled to find that we were on the same flight back for half the trip. Nicole being in SoCal and Savanah in Central Oregon, we really do not get to spend much time with each other without work being involved. We got to catch up and wind down from the trip and just be plain women for about 4 hours, it was such an awesome way to finish out the trip.
Big thanks to all our members of the Women Who Hike community for all your love and support while we were away. And an even bigger thanks to all of our new friends and teammates from NYC. A huge thank you to Tough Mudder for showing us a good time and finally, thank you to Merrell for supporting and believing in who we are at Women Who Hike, for helping to inspire others to get outside and for keeping us prepared for any outdoor experience by ensuring we have the proper gear. This was an experience we are sure never to forget.
For more information on a Tough Mudder near you, visit www.toughmudder.com
And for Merrell Gear made for the Tough Mudder, like we wore in NYC, click here: Merrell For Tough Mudder