News: Army Reserve drill sergeants bring 'Army Strong' to World’s Toughest Mudder Competition
Story by Sgt. Salvatore Ottaviano
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. – When the Army Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 385th Regiment was tasked to provide drill sergeants to support the World’s Toughest Mudder event here Nov. 15-17, they were asked to offer “kinder, gentler” motivation to event competitors.
But whether high-fiving a Tough Mudder participant or making an Army recruit crawl five meters through the mud, the mission of these drill sergeants remains unchanged – to help young men and women push themselves past their limits in order to build physical strength and stamina, increase self-confidence and self-worth, and foster mental and emotional resiliency.
“We’re here to help people figure out what they can and can’t do,” said Staff Sgt. Diego Cruz from Lodi, N.J. “[When drilling soldiers] we’re there to break them down a little bit and help them see what they can and can’t accomplish – basically, to push them past what they thought they can do.
“It’s the same thing here; there’s a lot of confidence building, it’s a lot about pushing yourself, especially since it’s a 24-hour event,” he added.
These Army Reserve drill sergeants joined nearly six-dozen of their fellow citizen-soldiers to support the World’s Toughest Mudder competitors as they attempted to complete the grueling five-mile obstacle course as many times as possible within a 24-hour period.
“I think it’s great. It takes a lot for someone to make a decision like this because there are not a lot of people who would take the time out and run 24 hours on any event,” said Staff Sgt. Claudia Torres from Staten Island, N.Y. “To be honest, they give me the motivation to keep doing what I do because this is hard - this is definitely hard. You can see it on their faces, and they’re still going. It takes a lot.”
“They’re have a good time enjoying themselves and finding out what they really can do and can’t do,” added Cruz. “You can always push your body further. Your mind is going to give up before your body is. So, you just gotta be able to keep pushing your body until you really can’t go anymore.”
An instant bond seemed to form between the Toughest Mudder competitors and those soldiers who came out to support them, as if there was an unspoken recognition of the similar experience of competing in a Tough Mudder event and, say, completing Basic Training.
“We motivate them – they motivate us,” said Torres. “It’s great because everyone’s working together. As far as us being there for them, I think they really appreciate it and I appreciate being here for them, too.”
This work, Army Reserve drill sergeants bring 'Army Strong' to World’s Toughest Mudder Competition, by SGT Salvatore Ottaviano, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.