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Tough enough: ‘Toughies’ practice for ‘Tough Mudder Challenge’

March 7, 2013
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Four Lehigh Acres residents put themselves through one of the roughest obstacle course ever designed over the weekend and all for a good cause. The group has been practicing at the Mirror Lakes Golf Club for the last several weeks, not only for the ability to run, but for endurance.

The four - Dave Deetscreek, Joe Pearson, Catalina Lopez and Wendell Stuckey, have run and jumped, run in circles, done push-ups, and given their all for their trip to Miami on Saturday to participate in the Tough Mudder Challenge which was held at the homestead Miami Speedway.

Each is asking for contributions to the cause with all funds going to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Article Photos

From left, Wendell Stuckey, Catalina Lopez and Dave Deetscreek. On the ground, Joe Pearson.

"Talk about extreme, it was sure some challenge," said Deetscreek after returning with the group Saturday night. "It took all we had to get through it. There was a 10 to 12-mile run, but in between there were stops where we were challenged to climb walls, crawl through the mud and more," he said. "It was certainly a challenge to each of us."

"But we made it and we're asking folks to donate to us to help those wounded soldiers who are coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq with medical needs.

Anyone who wants to donate to the four can do so online at: fundraising/donate.aspx?.

"Just say which one of us you want to donate the money to or say for all of us. It is a worthy cause, one we all believe in that helps those that have fought for our country," Deetscreek said.

The four went to Miami on a bus owned by Steve Baker of Lehigh. You can also contact Deetscreek via email at

Spectators at the event came up with $40 at the event, but if tickets were bought online, they were half price.

The group left Saturday at around 6:30 a.m. and were back a little after 4 p.m.

Several people have signed up to donate money in their names to help the Wounded Warrior Project.

"This was crazy, but it was a test we were willing to take on and we feel we represented Lehigh well," Deetscreek said.

In addition to representing Mirror Lakes Golf Club, they were also representing Get Fit with Joe fitness gym, whose owner was one of the challengers.

"They call us challengers because it was not just a long run, but lots of stops to test our stigma and our strength to do things that our service men have had to do to endure and survive in a war in the Mideast," Deetscreek said.

The event - Touch Mudder - are hard core, like Deetscreek said, 10 to 12 miles of obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test a person's all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie.

With the most innovative courses, 700,000 inspiring participants worldwide to date, and more than $5 million has been raised for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Tough Mudder is known as the premier adventure challenge series in the world.

Deetscreek said the challenge was much like what soldiers face daily and also included not letting your partner fall behind.

"If someone falls from a high fence while climbing over and can't get up, then we as team members help him to get up and continue. Nobody is left behind, just like in the service," Deetscreek said.

"You should have seen us covered with mud, wet and dirty, but we ran and we got through most of the obstacles; it wasn't easy but it was something we had to do for each other and for those soldiers who have fought for us and who need our help today due to their war wounds.

To support the needs of injured service men and women, Tough Mudder offers special discounts to participants who raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The project hopes to achieve the following - to raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members and to build injured service members aid and assist each other. It is also to provide unique direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

"There was one big crowd there Saturday and everyone was in the spirit, that's for sure," Deetscreek said.

Joe Pearson, owner of Get Fit with Joe, had to agree.

"It was a tough course all right, not one for a novice. You had to practice and practice hard to go through that course," he laughed.

"But it isn't a laughing matter. We all felt the friendship for each other, much like our soldiers feel when they are in battle. They don't leave one of their fellow service members if they are injured or hit. They bring them on and that is what the obstacle course was all about. I am glad we went through as much of it as we could," he said.

"We had a fitness boot camp out at Mirror lakes, outside, under the lights, every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. for weeks. Others were welcome to join us.

"We intended on completing the Tough Mudder event and come back with medals.

"It wasn't a race. It was an endurance and mind control thing. No person left behind was how it worked.

"But the obstacles are crazy and tough. If anyone wants to see just how tough the course is, they can go online at: and see it," Deetscreek said

"Are we glad we went? You bet we were and we all would do it again. They have events all over. The Miami Speedway site was the closest," he said.

All four of the challengers are hoping for donations to help wounded soldiers. That was why they wanted to go through the obstacle course and 12-mile race, to help the project that heals and treats those soldiers who need help upon returning to the U.S.



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