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Tough Athlete, Tough Mudder, and Tough Airman

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Victoria Nelson
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Currently sitting in fourth place in the male 40-44 year old category in the Tough Mudder global standings, Master Sgt. Saul M. Davidson, the logistics plans superintendent with the 157th Civil Engineering Squadron, is preparing to compete in the World’s Toughest Mudder event this Veterans Day weekend in Las Vegas.

The event is a 24- hour endurance race in which athletes complete a five-mile circuit consisting of 20-25 of Tough Mudder’s most challenging obstacles.

“I’ll need to secure at least 50-55 miles to hold [fourth place] in the global standings,” said Davidson. “It means a lot to be racing in the inaugural competitive season. It shows the hard work paid off and that the scratches and bruises have been worth it.”

Davidson completed his first event in 2011. This upcoming race will mark Davidson’s 53rd completed event.

Davidson said the person who introduced him to these events has since completed three races, which puts his own 53 into perspective.

“He didn’t get the bug like I did,” laughed Davidson.

It is more than successfully completing obstacles on the course; the events give competitors a chance to test their fitness while overcoming physical, mental and personal obstacles with teammates and fellow Mudders from around the world.

“Tough Mudder’s ethos puts teamwork and camaraderie first,” said Davidson. “The events aren't a race, unless you sign up for one of their competitive waves, so it's always been my passion to introduce new people to these events, and bring repeat Mudders to venues they haven't experienced before.”

Michael Keegan, CE Operations and Deployments Coordinator for National Guard Bureau, said Davidson spent years trying to convince him to run a Mudder.

He added the most memorable part of competing with Davidson was the teamwork and comradery of the races.

“Saul dragged me out to a 5K obstacle course run in Manchester,” said Keegan. “That’s where this whole Mudder thing began for me. He makes it more than just a mud run. We continue to build friendships across the country, and friendships that last.”

Davidson said his most memorable event was the World’s Toughest Mudder in 2015 and he is humbled and excited to be racing in Las Vegas again.

“This event is unlike anything else on the planet,” exclaimed Davidson. “What other sporting event can a regular person compete alongside professional athletes? To be out there amongst them while trying to achieve my own personal goals was amazing; and to be involved in a race that went 24 consecutive hours was just nuts!”

This year Davidson will be working alongside a team of 20 athletes.

“We will be working on a common goal and using each other’s strengths to each achieve 50 total miles,” explained Davidson.

Davidson added that the most valuable part of the races is the completion of the race as a team.

“While we’re all racing for time, we still put teamwork and camaraderie first while we’re on the course,” he said.

Davidson said his greatest motivationapart from teamworkis self-improvement in fitness, both mental and physical.

“Each weekend I strive to push a little harder and push a little further,” said Davidson. “2017 has been the most work for me yet as a Mudder. My wife says I need to dial it back a bit next year. HA! I earned 16 total orange headbands this year, besting 2016 by two!”

Airmen can benefit from events like these for reasons beyond enhancing physical fitness and feeling the satisfaction of crossing the finish line as well, he added.

“Crossing the finish line knowing you completed every obstacle is always a rewarding day,” said Davidson. “But crossing the finish line and going right back out for a second lap can be a rewarding moment as well. Sometimes we see just how far we can push ourselves.”