This Memorial Day marked a significant change for the Miami Mudders...
MudGear: Tell us about the recent name change to the Memorial Mudders.
The decision to change our name didn't come easy. The team has garnered quite a bit of attention and some respect which caused our name recognition to be enough to keep it till now. However, with the growth of the team past the crew of the USS MIAMI, the focus of the team moving more towards honoring those who have served, and the fact that the USS MIAMI is gone, it seemed that a name change was due. The new name represents the intentions of the team to honor those brave men and women that have given life or limb in the service and to support their families.
Many of us personally know one or more people that have been killed in action, have lost a limb, or have been otherwise traumatized by their service. A few of our members have personally experienced the physical and mental strain that service puts on a person and on a family. The ability to overcome the obstacles on an OCR course is symbolic of the obstacles that those individuals overcome just to live. It is extremely satisfying to overcome and assist each other through those obstacles, both on the course and in life.
Additionally, the name allows for the team to be literally global. Those who have run with us know that a lot of people thought we were actually from the city of Miami. It is not a bad thing, it was just misleading. With a name that is no longer connected to a geographical area (although we technically weren't) we can have members and groups in any country in the world, like Canada, Sweden, Austrailia, or Texas...
Who are the Memorial Mudders?
We are about as diverse as you can imagine. We have athletes of all levels that run with us, from first time OCR runners to Elite caliber athletes. We essentially are representative of the group that we aim to honor. We have school teachers, lawyers, firemen, Soldiers, marketing consultants, personal trainers, bartenders, Marines, school counselors, police officers, and of course Sailors among many others. Our members live in Florida, Virginia, Washington, Connecticut, California, New York, Wisconsin, Maine, New Hampshire, Arizona, Canada and many places in between. Essentially, we are anybody. The only requirement for membership is that you want to be part of a family that honors the sacrifices that have been made by members of the service.
What is your mission statement / focus?
Our focus, away from the race course, is to honor the men and women that keep us safe on a day to day basis; firemen, police, military, and everyday heroes that make living in a free society possible. That is why we post a HERO WOD every week and challenge our members to accomplish it while remembering what that person sacrificed for us. On the course, we endeavor to raise awareness of our cause while we push ourselves as far as our bodies will allow us and to have fun doing it.
How many members?
We currently have about 140 members that follow and share with each other on Facebook and routinely run races as the Memorial Mudders.
We are actually anywhere that someone wants to be from and run for our cause. There are some folks that live 500 miles from any other Memorial Mudder and some have a group of friends to work out and race together. Right now we sometimes run as a team of one, but we are all there in spirit.
With the decommissioning of the USS MIAMI, how will the Memorial Mudders stick together?
Even before the ship was decommissioned, we became adept at staying in contact via Facebook and phone calls. We have had people join the team that have never met a single one of us and simply liked the message that we were communicating. They stay connected because when we come together at an event no one is a stranger.
Tell us about some of the Memorial Mudders' accomplishments?
As a team we had a very successful first full season last year. The team placed in the top 10% in every race we competed in, placed in the top three in a couple, and had great individual performances. Four of us finished in the top 300 of our age groups in Spartan's international rankings while completing the trifecta for 2014. Nine guys qualified for the OCR World Championships in their age division and two qualified as Journeymen. We were even represented at the WC by our very own "Quick Silver" who placed 6th in his age division and 25th in the Men's Open.
While we haven't met an OCR that we didn't like, our "home" is, and will always be, The Bone Frog Challenge. The Berkshire East Resort in Charlemont, Massachusetts is where the team really got its start, where we won for the first time, and we have yet to miss one of their races. While we usually run in groups of three or four because of our distributed nature, we make an effort to bring everyone together for the Bone Frog Challenge in May. The family feel that the resort and race company pull off is unparalleled; where else can you watch Junyong Pak arm wrestle with former Navy Seals and sit around a bon fire after the race?
If others want to learn more or connect with you, what's the best way to do that?
Right now the easiest way to get connected with us is on Facebook. We are in the process of getting a webpage together that will provide links to all of our favorite repositories of OCR knowledge, a way to easily link up with other Memorial Mudders across the country/world, a team race calendar, and a web store for team gear.
What can others do to help or contribute to this cause?
The best way is to join us on Facebook, give us your two cents and tell us where you will be racing. When you sign up for your race start a team named Memorial Mudders and we will get others to come join you.
Anything else people should know about the Memorial Mudders?
We don't consider ourselves a "competition team". We will never hold tryouts, give you money for getting to the podium, or be upset that you didn't wear our product while you ran. While we often times do well as a team, the most important part for us is the camaraderie that we foster on and off the course. When you wear a Memorial Mudders shirt you are wearing a family banner, not a corporate logo. We will only ever align ourselves with companies that have the same values that we have and will never accept a team sponsor just because they throw a bunch of money our direction. We are a homegrown, grassroots, bootstrap-pulling, mud-stomping FAMILY and that’s the way we like it!