City's Rec Employees are Tough Mudders
'The Soggy Dogs' take on grueling 12-mile challenge
They were wet and cold to the bone. Bruised. Exhausted. They faced obstacles that were more like devices of torture.
And they can't wait to do it again.
Four members of the Strongsville Recreation Department -- Director Bryan Bogre, Parks Superintendent Chris Arold, assistant maintenance foreman Mark Hartze and Don Golak, pool maintenance worker -- ran the Tough Mudder April 14, a 12-mile obstacle course filled with icy water and ridiculously difficult challenges with names like Arctic Enema and Walk the Plank.
You'd think they'd have had enough.
"We're all already pre-registered for next year," Bogre said.
The team, dubbed The Soggy Dogs, spent more than three hours on the course with about 11,000 other challenge-seekers, proving to the world -- and themselves -- they could finish.
"It wasn't about winning," Arold said. "It's all about teamwork. There was one (obstacle) I could never have done by myself."
But members of his own team -- as well as total strangers -- were there to give him a hand when he needed it.
And they returned the favor, standing by to help others scramble over walls or climb out of the water.
They tried to train for the event. Hertze made the team run through mud at the Royalview Picnic Area, so when they hit the mile-long "mud run" on the course, they were ready.
"We were like, okay, we've done this before," Hertze said.
But how do you train for the Electric Eel, a muddy pit you have to crawl through on your stomach because there are electrically charged wires hanging just above your back?
And what are you supposed to think on your way to the first obstacle when you pass a sign that says, "Remember, you signed a death waiver?"
But it's about facing your fears and testing your endurance. Like when they were standing on a dock, waiting to plunge into a freezing quarry.
"Do I turn around and crawl back down, or do I just face it and jump," Hertze said.
Afterward, it took them hours to stop shivering, and days for their muscles to stop aching and their bruises to heal.
It took almost as long for the rush to fade.
"I didn't come down from my adrenaline till the next day," Golak said.
The event, held in South Amherst, was the first Tough Mudder in Ohio. It'll be back next year, although the location hasn't been set.
Next year, Arold and Bogre, who are already runners, will hit the weight room, and Hartze and Golak will do more jogging to get ready.
But there's only so much you can do to prepare, Bogre said.
"I don't care how many times you take and ice bath," he said. "You're not ready for that."