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Mudderella: Strength in numbers

To test our theory that women are stronger together, Ali Roff and friends decided to ‘own our strong’ and take part in Mudderella, a (very) muddy obstacle course designed by and for women, to empower women to ‘work together, believe in themselves and take on new challenges’

by Ali Roff

Mudderella

Experts such as Tara Mohr tell us in this month’s issue that as women we should play bigger, speak up and lead. She also talks about the lack of sophisticated conversation going on about why we don't support other women enough: ‘When we see another women playing it big, we can lash out. It plays itself out all the time in the media with women bashing other women. The way out is for each women to embrace her own aspirations and play bigger.’

At Psychologies, we believe in women championing and supporting other women. This can of course play out in many different ways, from networking and trading skills, to just being truly positive towards a friend when they achieve something – not seeing it as highlighting your failures, but a step towards greater achievement for women as a whole, and the potential opportunities it presents to you individually through knowing her.

We believe women are stronger together, and Psychologies' Dossier and Fix editor Ali Roff decided to celebrate this literally, by inviting a few old friends to join her in the first UK Mudderella muddy obstacle course.

’Own your strong’; the Mudderella slogan spurred us on as we ran up the hill towards the first obstacle, aptly named ‘head over heels’, essentially, the wheelbarrow. Two of us hit the deck, the other two grabbed ankles, and all of us laughed hysterically. Five miles later and a whole lot muddier, we’d scaled walls together, crawled through tunnels into muddy pools, climbed mud mountains and plopped into swampy bogs. As we ran towards the final obstacle, despite our sodden muddy clothes and aching bodies, we only moaned that we wished we could go around the course again.

‘Our mission has always been to empower women to work together, believe in themselves and take on new challenges,’ explains Antonia Clark, head of marketing for Mudderella. ‘The obstacles are designed to test balance, agility, and strength – inside and out, and spark teamwork. Everyone has things they excel at and other things that are challenges, and the best way for participants to complete the challenge is together.’ We crossed the finishing line holding hands.

Our team of four had played netball together years ago at uni, and it felt natural to work together as a team again. But it turned out our style had changed. I had imagined us supporting each other physically, pushing and pulling over walls, pooling together our physical strength to complete the obstacles together, and while of course we needed each other physically, it was in fact the verbal and emotional, mental support we gave each other that meant the most.

‘How’s everyone feeling?’ my teammates asked each other repeatedly. ‘Nearly there’, ‘That’s it, now put your foot there to the right’, ‘How do I get down?!’, ‘I’m right behind you’. We talked each other through every step we took, all of us supporting each other physically and mentally at different points, checking we were all happy, motivating each other. Completing the course together felt amazing.

Mudderella doesn’t encourage competition. There are no clocks or fancy timer chips to slot into your trainers, and you can't take your smartphones due to the mud. It felt great to just relax into it together and just enjoy getting muddy.

Very fittingly, Mudderella supports and are proud partners of domestive violence support charity Refuge. ‘Mudderella is about sharing strength,’ says Antonia. ‘We’re committed to a great cause — the prevention of domestic violence and supporting those affected by it and are proud partners with Refuge, the country's largest single provider of specialist accommodation and support to women and children escaping domestic violence.’

We bonded, we laughed, we realised our strengths and weaknesses and helped each other in every way possible. As a team, as friends, and as women, we were stronger together, and we’d do Mudderella again in a heartbeat.

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