By Wendy Sarubbi | November 8, 2013 11:57 am

Ten UCF College of Medicine students got down and dirty in a challenging “Tough Mudder” obstacle course to support the Wounded Warrior Project. Dozens of participants in the grueling foot race braved heights, water, fatigue, cold and plenty of mud to finish the course.

The race was held in River Ranch, Florida November 2, and required months of training for the medical students who accepted the challenge. Second-year student Christin Giordano led the charge, raising nearly $1,000 in honor of her late father who was a strong supporter of the military. “Tough Mudder is all about the challenge, and our goal was to finish,” Christin said. “We started together, and everyone who ran ahead would stop at each obstacle so we could cross the finish line together.”

Each of the participants agreed that the race would have been almost impossible to complete without teamwork.  “I don’t think I’ve ever looked at my classmates this way before,” second-year student Engy Mui said. “Whenever I saw their faces, I felt safe. Whenever they finished an obstacle, I knew I could do it, too.” Added former UCF baseball player and second-year medical student, Pete Guerra: “I’ve always been a team guy, but being with this team that day was awesome. It’s great to be a part of something bigger than yourself because you see the power in numbers and what people can do when they come together.”

The 10-12 mile course can last up to 24 hours and includes stations like the “Kiss of Mud,” where racers had to crawl through muddy water underneath low-hanging barbed wire. They also braved the “Warrior Carry,” where they actually carried fellow teammates on their backs. Another obstacle, “Electroshock Therapy” required runners to pace through a field of live wires that carried as much as 10,000 volts of electricity. “We each got to challenge our biggest fears,” said second-year student, Ramone Eldemire. “For me, it was jumping into ice water.”

Some of the students said “Tough Mudder” motivated them to continue improving their fitness, so they can set an example to their future patients. “For me, I think it’s important that I get healthy so I can look my patients in the eye and let them know that it can be done,” said second-year student Brianne Farmer.

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