SOUTH AMHERST — Tough Mudder competitor Joe Colon said he was drawn to the marathon/obstacle course competition not just by the grueling aspects of the event, but the camaraderie it’s designed to foster.
“I want us all to start out as a group and finish as a group. Just come out and have a good time,” said Colon, a Lorain firefighter who will be part of a group of 20 to 25 Lorain firefighters, police officers and friends and relatives of firefighters and officers. “It should be a lot of fun just getting a group together and conquering it all together.”
The April 14 to 15 event at the quarry along state Route 113 and North Quarry Road, will be the first for Colon, a 42-year-old firefighter who joined the department in 1996. Colon said he and fellow participants have been lifting weights, doing push-ups and pull-ups, and running in preparation for the event.
“Being Northeast Ohio, we could catch an April 40-degree day or an April 70-degree day. That’ll probably be one of the biggest challenges, dealing with the elements,” Colon said as he stood outside the quarry Sunday. “You’re going to get wet. There’s no doubt about it.”
The event will also be the first for Mike Gidich, a 32-year-old police officer who joined the department in 2005.
“I like to do a lot of things with the fire department, try to keep that camaraderie,” he said.
Gidich said he also liked the fact that participants are helping to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project through a spaghetti dinner April 13, the night before they compete. The project provides thousands of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans with emotional and physical rehabilitation as well as education and employment assistance, according to the project website.
“A lot of athletes, when they participate in these events, they like to do carbo-loading,” said Jenso Soto, a competition participant who is helping organize the dinner. “The Wounded Warrior Project, personally, I think is a great cause.”
Soto, a 32-year-old Lorain Municipal Court bailiff since 2009, is also competing for the first time.
“It looked pretty intense and I figured, one last hurrah before I get too old to do things like this,” he said.
Colon said he hopes the competition, which is being held in South Amherst for the first time, will become an annual event.
“There’s a lot of people around here who like to do this kind of thing,” he said.
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.