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Craftsman : Craftsman 2012
RAEME CRAFTSMAN 2012 20 The end of March 2012 saw 40 motivated RAEME 'mud mercenaries' from Technical Support Troop and specialist trades in Ancillaries Troop, 6 Aviation Regiment deploy to Phillip Island to participate in 'Tough Mudder'. Tough Mudder is a gruelling 19km adventure race designed by British Special Forces, and commenced for the RAEME team with a 14-hour drive down the coast. The drive turned into a bonding session of its own, with many stories and average jokes forming the team into a tight-knit and sometime unruly group. The morning of the event was a crisp 16 degrees with apprehensive and anxious members taking multiple trips to the limited bathrooms. One roll of strapping tape just didn't go the distance for what was going to be the longest run for the majority of competitors (let alone the 25 obstacles in the mix). The obstacle course allowed each individual to experience every value we as soldiers hold very close to our hearts. While the focus was teamwork, mental toughness, endurance, determination, courage, persistence and leadership were essential to complete the course. There were 11,000 participants competing in Tough Mudder that day, so each team had a designated start time to stagger the groups. As we stood at the start line in four, smaller sub-teams distinguished by coloured wristbands, all Mudders took a knee, and the Tough Mudder pledge was read out: As a Tough Mudder I pledge that... - I understand that the Tough Mudder is not a race, but a challenge - I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time - I do not whine -- kids whine - I help my fellow mudders complete the course - I overcome all fears Repeated by approximately 250 people in our split, and boxed into a tight space before the first nine foot wall, it charged everyone with emotion. The starting horn finally signalled the release, and began what was to be one of the best ways to spend a weekend with your mates. At that time, in a spur of the moment decision, we raised our team mascot; CFN Timothy Harvey above our heads and ran him through the starting frame. Unfortunately, as the shoulders started to fatigue 30m past the start line, we dropped Timmy like a bag of spuds and the adventure begun. 25 obstacles lined the course; there were a variety of 12 foot walls, mud pits, crawl spaces and water obstacles. However, the clear standouts were the ice baths, electric eel, 80m muddy water slide, Mud Hill, and Electro Shock Therapy. The ice baths were two long rectangular pools that were full of ice and without a doubt the coldest pools we have ever jumped into. As each head rose from the water for a gasp of oxygen, the shock could be seen on every Mudder's face. Further pain awaited as each member attempted to fight the sudden cramp and numbness as they tried to climb out of the pools at a great rate of knots. The electric eel was a surprise obstacle that we had no idea about prior to starting. When we reached the obstacle, staff members were hosing us down whilst we leopard crawled along a huge tarpaulin, trying to dodge electrical wiring hanging from frames. Most of us got a fair whack from the voltage in the wiring, and many laughs could be heard as bodies spasmed into the muddy water. The 80m waterslide was everyone's favourite; after running along the stunning cliffs of Phillip Island on the inside of the race track, we came across a huge plastic sheet laid down a very steep hill. A water manifold pinned the top of the sheet to the top of the hill and provided a perfect sheet of water all the way down! As you could imagine, an 80m slip-and-slide brought out the inner-child in everyone as we shot down that hill and ran into other Mudders in the water pit at the base. The Mud Hill immediately followed the slide; and its 'difficulty level' could be gauged by the 300+ people packed in like sardines at the Tough Mudders (Phillip Island) March 2012 SGT Stewart Lever