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Buckeye Mudder Club brings new level of toughness and teamwork to campus

Craig Martin (second from left),Zach Cowen (second from right) and teammates going through the “Electroshock Therapy” obstacle at a Tough Mudder in Michigan last year. Credit: Courtesy of Gameface Media

A new student organization invites Buckeyes to roll in the mud.

Buckeye Mudder Club combines comradery with strength building and endurance workouts to prepare members for Tough Mudder races across the country. Tough Mudder is a corporation that sponsors a range of military-style obstacle courses, with the traditional Tough Mudder being 10 to 12 miles long.

“No matter what it is, everyone starts together and everyone finishes together, no one gets left behind, that’s what it’s all about,” said Craig Martin, president of the Buckeye Mudder Club.

Martin, a third-year in electrical and computer engineering, founded the club this spring along with Zach Cowen, a third-year in integrated systems engineering, after they finished their first Tough Mudder together. The two wanted to get other Ohio State students involved.

“I think most people who have joined have always wanted to do a Tough Mudder, but never made the effort to do it, so Craig and I are helping them do that,” Cowen said.

Martin said it’s the camaraderie in the races that keeps him coming back.

“I’m drawn to Tough Mudders so much more than a marathon or a 5K because there’s a very competitive atmosphere with races like that, yet in Tough Mudders there is such a sense of teamwork and comradery that people share on the course,” Martin said.

While Martin has participated in nine Tough Mudders total and Cowen four, they are currently helping more than 10 club members prepare for their first Mudder in Philadelphia in May.

To become a member, there is a $40 fee which covers a T-shirt and access to all workouts and training sessions for the year. Member meetings typically consist of training sessions at the RPAC on Mondays and Wednesdays that focus on body weight exercises such as lunges, pull-ups and planks and endurance-building exercises. Cowen also occasionally leads a 4- to 5-mile outdoor run on Saturday mornings.

“The workouts encompass both the student who wants to do the longer Tough Mudder, or someone who wants to just push themselves and maybe do a half event at some point,” Martin said. “The fact that our strengths are different and there are people of all different fitness levels really benefits the workouts.”

Outside of the Tough Mudder preparation, the organization also volunteers in the community around and near campus. Next week, members will be volunteering at a local foodbank. Martin said this is both a chance to give back to the community and to bond as a team.

As summer approaches, Martin and Cowen are working on a fitness regimen for members who will not be in Columbus. For those who will be staying on campus, Cowen plans to continue workouts for members a couple days a week.  

“Your strength is the first thing that goes out on the course, so it’s important to keep up with workouts and be prepared,” Cowen said.


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