Miranda Richardson is well known on the UK Tough Mudder circuit. In 2016 she went international and headed out to World’s Toughest and also the first Middle East event in Dubai. We chatted to her about combat trousers, Arctic Enema and all things volunteering…
You’re known as the ‘Ice Queen’, why is that?
“For the last 2 seasons I have been responsible for looking after Arctic Enema, as it’s one of TMs most talked about obstacles I like to make sure it’s memorable for all the mudders who take part. If it’s their first time or their 25th time AE should always take their breath away. I like to make the volunteers who help to run it also get the best out of the day, its one of the most hands on experiences at TM for a volunteer, whilst it requires a lot of hard work such as loading in on average 12 tonnes of ice per day it’s the most up close confidence building you can do with a mudder helping them to really face their fears. Mudders get to me on course and they are always welcomed with a hug or high 5, I’m told for a lot it makes it all part of the experience.”
You hit an important milestone in 2016, what was your first event and how many times has it been now?
“My first event was in 2013 at London South Winchester. My husband Guy had taken part at Kettering earlier in the season and said he fancied doing it again. I looked into the cost of the event and saw the details about volunteering so I suggested we did it together, a fun day out and a chance to earn the discount. We purchased some black and orange combat trousers and the moment we arrived we were nicknamed the combat couple, the name and trousers have stuck and we are always noticed on and off course for them. We looked after an obstacle called Trench Warfare, out in the middle of nowhere with a PA system, so we made it our own and entertained the mudders all day long. From that day we were hooked! By the time 2016 as a year wrapped up I had a total of 52 events volunteered at for Tough Mudder.”
52! Wow. Have you always volunteered or do you run too?
“In the UK we have a tv breakfast show called GMTV and they have an event they call “Tough Mums” it’s women from all walks of life from cancer suffers to foster mums to just incredible women and they do a half type course with the TV anchor crew and a few other celebrity mums. So I did the first one and managed to break my ribs on Everest so I’ve decided I’m much better in my orange MVP shirt than running!”
Ouch, best to stick to AE! What’s your motivation to volunteer?
“The motivation was ingrained in me from my first experience on site, the volunteer manager believed in everything TM stands for and imparted that feeling in every MVP who turned up for a shift. This feeling has never left me. I love the adrenaline I get from the weekend, the help I can give everyone including spectators, makes them leave knowing they has had the most amazing experience of their lives. I still get emotional every time someone turns around and hugs me and thanks me for getting them through AE. The whole ethos of TM breaks down barriers for so many, their fears, new goals, old enemies and the desire to show others they can do something, and that by working together they can achieve that is enough to make me smile all day.”
We all have a favourite thing when it comes to volunteering, what’s yours?
“There isn’t for me a favourite thing as the whole event weekend is somewhere I love to be, but I must say I have a little passion for the pack down. That is what happens on a Sunday afternoon after the final runner has left the first obstacle. The course needs stripping down and as MVPs that’s part of our role. In the early days Guy and I used to accompany Graham – one of the zone leaders – to what we called “coming out to play” that meant jumping in a UTV grabbing a few rubbish sacks and snips and driving out to course to take down the markings, signs and miles of orange tape. To b able to see where the mudders had been during the day the hills and mud they had encounter was great fun, whilst it’s always nice to see and obstacle it really puts into perspective what they have to go through.”
You headed to Dubai for the first Middle East event, what was that like?
“Dubai was incredible I am so pleased I made it out there. it was really important to me that the MVPs and Mudders go the whole TM experience and if that meant me taking my little bit of knowledge over there and making sure that happened then that was what I needed to do. The venue was so very very different as sand as far as the eye could see! This meant the challenge for the event was the sandstorms of which didn’t let us down for both days, Friday 4 hours and Saturday 7 hours, it made both running and volunteering a challenge in itself. The people were lovely though and so keen to learn what to do and see as much as they could. I’m sure duTM will grow just like it has everywhere, it was a real pleasure to be a part of it.”
What’s your 2017 schedule like? Any oversea trips planned?
“2017 dates all booked for the UK, that’s a given! Just checking the home and husbands running schedule but possibly considering Germany. We have already saved the dates for WTM as we’ve been twice as Pit Crew but maybe sneaking in another year. And you know I never say never to anything…”
For any new 2017 volunteers, what would your advice be?
“Do IT!! Bring a bucket load of HOORAHS, and HELL YEAHS it’s a day that will never leave you, and I guarantee you will be back for more.”
Inspired? Check out the volunteer opportunities all over the Globe: goo.gl/u3vYlc