At the Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy, we like challenges. Most of these challenges are intellectual – welfare economics, regressions, memo writing, and cost-benefit analysis just to name a few. And all are necessary elements to becoming masters of public policy. But great leaders must also test themselves physically. Sometimes, all they need to reach that coveted “Master” level is a 10,000-volt shock to the leg.
Team Batten ready to go
This past Saturday, I participated in the Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder with a group of five other accelerated and post-grad students. The Tough Mudder has raised over $3 million dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project by challenging its participants’ mental and physical toughness, requiring teamwork and camaraderie to complete the 10.5 mile course. In short, it is a run through endless pools of mud (no big deal, right?). But, Frank Batten Sr. would only approve such a physical challenge if it included several ridiculous obstacles along the way. Twenty to be exact.
Obstacle: the log carry
In just under four hours, Team Batten crawled under barbed wire and over annoyingly painful rocks; Ran a mile in the mud; Climbed and helped fellow “Mudders” over ten-foot walls covered in muck; Ran a mile in the mud; Dashed up half-pipes, diving at the last minute to grab the muddied open hands of bodybuilders and senior citizens alike, ready to catch and pull us over the edge; Ran a mile in the mud and rain during a tornado watch; VOLUNTARILY jumped into tanks filled to the brim with 33-degree ice water; Slowly jogged a mile in the mud; And yes, yes, even sprinted through a never-ending stretch of dangling live wires prepared to knock you to the ground with up to 10,000 volts of pure pain – otherwise known as “Electroshock Therapy.” Luckily, I made it through relatively unscathed, and was only shocked once. However, two of my teammates, Kaitlin Brennan and Byron Furtick, were not so lucky, and experienced three of these bone-rattling jolts. In my opinion, they will make better leaders because of it.
Obstacle: climbing over hay bales
All in all, it was both a fantastic and miserable experience. Fantastic because of the teamwork and perseverance on display – watching a military veteran with two prosthetic legs marching through the same mud as I was an inspirational sight. Miserable because well…see above.
I’m not sure I would do it again, but it was a great escape from the everyday. It was also a great opportunity to act like a kid with a great group of friends. Sometimes, it’s quite refreshing to close those statistics & research methods books for minute, put away our problem sets, and go run in the mud.
Post by Patrick Fitzsimmons, Acc ’13