Events, Trail Stories

This past September the Merrell team was able to spend some time bonding outside of our offices in Rockford, Michigan. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to participate in a Tough Mudder with the people you work with daily. A combined group of 57 employees and their guests descended upon Michigan International Speedway for the Tough Mudder Challenge. For some, it was their fourth or fifth time on the course. For others, it was the first time taking on Tough Mudder’s epic obstacles.

We wanted to hear from both sides of experience. Rachel Horos, Merrell Retail Marketing Specialist, could be described as the office Fitness Coach and probably the most optimistic person you’ve ever met. She’s completed seven Tough Mudders and is still going. Lauren Heindl, Marketing Specialist, took some time to find out more about her passions.


LH: So you’re up to seven Tough Mudders. How many do you plan on doing?

RH: I’d like to do at least three next year so I get the 10X headband. As long as Tough Mudder keeps building more obstacles, I’ll keep coming back!

LH: Why do you keep coming back? What’s your motivation?

RH: I have a huge passion for all things health and fitness related, and I love running races and being competitive, so Tough Mudders are right up my alley. Even though it’s not a race, it’s fun to challenge yourself mentally and physically. I compete with myself to further improve each time. If I couldn’t get up an obstacle one time, then I’m going to get it next time! 

I also love socializing, and this is a great thing to do with friends and family. It’s a fun bonding experience and gives you an opportunity to spend quality time with people you love doing something fun and active, instead of just eating a meal or grabbing a drink together (though that’s fun too). I have done Tough Mudders with friends, family, coworkers, as well as completely alone and just joined up with random strangers. If you do it alone, you will easily find a group/team that will let you join them. It’s exciting to meet new people, hear their stories, and help and be helped by total strangers.

LH: Who’s your motivation?

RH: Coach T Mud of course!!

LH: Was doing this event with your fellow coworkers different from other times? How did it change your approach?

RH: I LOVED doing the Michigan TM with my coworkers. It was a great team-building experience with coworkers from all across our brand, some of whom I never actually get to work or interact with. Now that we spent so much time in the mud together, we get to relive our crazy stories over and over at work. I formed relationships with people I wouldn’t have gotten to know before, even though we work together.

LH: What do you think people can gain from completing a Tough Mudder?

RH: I think the biggest thing people can gain from completing a Tough Mudder is a sense of accomplishment for themselves. Knowing that you completed 10-12 miles and over 20 obstacles is a huge achievement and each person should be incredibly proud of themselves for crossing that finish line. 

People also gain a new zest for life. You finish this monumental challenge with so much euphoria, you’re ready to tackle something else new and exciting and challenging. You feel so encouraged knowing you helped others through an obstacle, and your faith in humanity is restored when you see literally every single person helping others. You drive home feeling like a new person.

LH: Any training advice since you’re basically a pro by now?

RH: I think many people underestimate the amount of running/walking that is involved. You do not have to run any of the event if you don’t want to (most people walk at least some of it if not all of it), but walking 10-12 miles is equally as exhausting and taxing on your body. You don’t want to be battling calf cramps at mile six when you still have half of the course to go. The majority of the obstacles can be achieved by pushing and pulling each other up, so don’t worry if you don’t have much upper arm strength. Instead, focus more on walking/running so you know you can at least make it to the finish line.

LH: How does it feel to be the official Merrell Coach? 😉 

RH: It is a title I wear proudly! I love encouraging others and helping people reach their goals, so I am honored to be the Merrell Coach!

Thanks for sharing your experience, Rachel!

Check out our blog from Alana Gusmano on her experience participating in the Tough Mudder Half for the first time with her co-workers.

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