The words “relentless” and “unwavering” not only characterize the Tough Mudder obstacle courses, but Stefanie Bishop herself.
Stef Bishop is the current World’s Toughest Mudder champion, having completed 85 miles during the 24-hour World’s Toughest Mudder event in 2016. That’s 17 laps of the 5-mile course and over 400 obstacles.
But to Bishop, the Tough Mudder isn’t just a physcial challenge; it’s a symbol of overcoming life’s challenges.
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“Tough Mudder, in general, will help you prepare for any obstacle you may face in life,” said Bishop. “It really tailors to your fears, whether it be heights, darkness, you know, water. It’s all about overcoming those obstacles.”
During the last Tough Mudder Long Island challenge, Fox News had the chance to take a first-hand look (and run) at what it’s actually like to compete and overcome more than a dozen of those less-metaphorical obstacles alongside a champion.
As soon as we finished the first, we moved quickly onto the next (despite each one’s ominous name, like the “Black Hole,” “Everest 2.0” and “Snot Rocket”). Her strategy, however, provided a unique insight into the mindset of a competitor — Bishop wasn’t getting mentally (or physically) stuck in any one obstacle; she was always moving on and focusing on what was ahead of her.
Bishop’s mental toughness also made her the perfect teammate. On the aptly named “Arctic Enema,” an obstacle where competitors are submerged in icy water, the freezing temperatures completely took me by surprise. Bishop calmly reminded me to breathe and keep focus. Her demeanor and confidence helped me pull myself out of shock, both physically and mentally.
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All genders compete side-by-side in the Tough Mudder, so I asked Bishop what she would tell younger women who are intimidated at the idea of competing with men. To this, she had an encouraging message.
“I don’t think they should be intimidated at all,” said Bishop. “Tough Mudder has this environment where you are racing side-by-side with men, and with people from all different walks of life. And what you find is that everyone really encourages everybody else … I think it breaks barriers, in that sense. You don’t ever feel like you’re the lesser set because there’s no such thing.”
Check out the video for an exclusive look at what it’s like to actually compete side-by-side with a champion such as Bishop.