Want to learn how to be successful in tough mudder competitions from an expert?
One lucky winner will receive a 1-on-1 personal coaching session with the World’s Toughest Mudder champion Junyong Pak at Lynch Park in Beverly this Saturday (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) as well as a 4-hour professional video that will be broadcast on YouTube.
Pak. the two-time world champion from Beverly, will be going for three titles in a row Nov. 16-17 at Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., where the World Toughest Mudder event will be held on an obstacle course that organizers promise to be more challenging than ever before.
The big winner of the CoachUp’s Ambassador program that Pak is in partnership with is his favorite charity, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem, which receives all proceeds.
This brand new program to pair up professional athletes like Pak began last month and aims to change the course of the lives of youngsters through sports. Athletes can enter by making a $10 donation to the Boys and Girls Club, and the winner gets an intensive coaching session with Pak along with a ticket to the World Tough Mudder event. Entries will be accepted through Wednesday, when the winner will be announced (www.ambassador.coachup.com), That person will be able to bring another athlete along to work with Pak.
“They contacted me and asked if I was interested,” said the 35-year-old Pak. “It’s a great opportunity to give back to the community. I’m all for it because I want to help people.
“What I’ll do in the coaching session depends on who wins, how old the person is, and what kind of races he or she is interested in as well as the level of talent. It makes a big difference if somebody is looking to participate in races vs. one that wants to bring their ‘A’ game to win. The contest is geared toward Tough Mudder competition, and I’m assuming those that enter want to learn how to do better. If it happens to be somebody looking to do better in marathons, I’ll gear the workout session to their goal.”
Pak used to run cross country, track and marathons, but in 2010 he signed up for a Tough Mudder event and was hooked.
“I saw an obstacle race advertised and entered,” he said. “I loved it right away and have been addicted to the sport ever since. My training is an ongoing process, but I’ve ramped it up this month to get ready for Worlds. Right now I’m in the best shape of my life.”
That is bad news for over 1,000 competitors who’ll come from all over to the biggest event of the mudder season. Pak crushed the record last year when he won by over 30 miles. The extreme competition features the best athletes on a 24-hour challenge to find the winner, who must complete the most full laps in the time allotted.
Competing in one of the fastest growing athletic endeavors that generated $250 million in revenue in 2012 requires both mental and physical toughness. The grueling military-style obstacle courses test cardiovascular stamina, strength, agility and dexterity. It involves pushing the body to the limit.
“I know there are a lot of people wanting to take me down,” said Pak, who has a bull’s-eye on his back. “This is not just for weekend warriors; there’s a lot of money on the line ($10,000 for the World winner). It’s on a lot of people’s lists; get married, buy a house, have kids, run a marathon ... and now, finishing a Tough Mudder event has been added.
“Some just go out to participate — while people like me want to win.”
The CoachUp Ambassador program’s first pro athlete was Matt Besler, a pro soccer player with Kansas City and member of the U.S. National Team. The winner was a 13-year old girl from Oklahoma, who along with her parents made the 6-hour drive to Kansas City for her private coaching lesson. The program is affiliated with CoachUp Cares, the philanthropic division which supports charitable causes.
Kristen Barrett, publicist for Pitch Public Relations, said the response to Pak has been great, especially on social media. The program is reaching out to athletes to find a strong candidate for November.
Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.