A Sechelt runner is training for one of the toughest challenges on the planet — the World Toughest Mudder in New Jersey next month.
On Nov. 16, 23-year-old Dan Symonds will compete along other elite athletes from around the globe in a 24-hour obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces. The course is a 13-mile loop that has up to 40 challenging obstacles and is known as one of the toughest events on Earth.
Symonds has been living on the Coast for the past six months after living at Sun Peaks. He loves the Coast, works at Trail Bay Source for Sports, and for the last few months has been working on his strength and endurance at Valhalla Strength and Conditioning in Sechelt under the guidance of coaches Curtis Munson and Josh Romer.
Symonds has always been an avid runner and long distance specialist. He’s been competing in several events to get prepared to the Tough Mudder, including a top finish at the Spartan Race last month up at Sun Peaks.
“The second place finish qualified me for the Tough Mudder,” he said. “That was a goal to reach at the end of the year — to qualify for the Tough Mudder. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s all been worth it.”
When he first heard about Valhalla he wasn’t sure whether the gym was right for him, but now 95 per cent of his training is now done at the gym.
“Curtis and Josh have been fantastic. I’m doing things that I never thought that I would do or could do. In a Tough Mudder there is way more than just endurance running. It’s about strength. It’s about pushing your body, pushing yourself mentally. I’ve found a sport that suits a bit of strength with the long distance running. It’s a sport that I fit into very well.”
Symonds has received a ton of support from not only Valhalla and Trail Bay Source for Sports, who have combined to cover off all his flights and entry fees, but from other businesses on the Coast. In fact now he’s giving back to the Coast community with any more funds raised going to KidSport.
He has a fundraiser this Saturday at Valhalla from 8 to 9 a.m. where he will attempt to do as many burpies as he can one hour.
“I think this is a great charity. Working at Trail Bay Source for Sports I see kids and families come in all the time purchasing gear and stuff,” he said. “I want to give back to the community that is giving back to me and supporting a charity that helps kids play sports and be active really fits in nicely with who I am. Burpies is one of the known fitness exercises that everyone hates. I thought why not do something crazy that no one would think about doing. Everyone says I’m mad for doing this, but I’m also signed up for one of the world’s toughest events, so I’m a little crazy I think anyway.”