When running the World’s Toughest Mudder obstacle race, Chris Collier will try not to think about the electric shock obstacles or be intimidated by the seemingly impossible leaps. Instead, he will focus on the reason he decided to participate in the military-designed race – the children he is raising money for.
Collier, a 32-year-old officer with the Henderson Police Department, hopes to raise money for the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada as he races.
“One of the obstacles I am dreading is called Walk the Plank,” Collier said. “Basically, it’s a climb up to a 15-foot platform followed by a jump off the platform into a lake below. I am about as scared of heights as it gets. That will definitely be one of those times where I draw upon the Candlelighters to get me moving.”
The organization provides support and services for families of children 21 or younger who have been diagnosed with cancer. It receives its support through private donations and grants.
Melissa Cipriano, the executive director of the organization, said people have used races to help raise money before.
“It’s not that uncommon,” Cipriano said.
Collier, who was not certain what a good fundraising goal should be, said he hopes to raise at least $1,000.
Before becoming an officer, Collier was a construction contractor. He lived in San Diego before moving to Henderson for a construction job. When jobs proved to be scarce, Collier considered joining law enforcement.
“I had family that was in law enforcement – my dad, my aunt and uncle,” Collier said.
The person who pushed him to enroll was his grandfather, a veteran whom he always admired.
In high school, Collier had considered following his grandfather’s footsteps and enlisting in the military. However, that dream was deferred when he broke his arm.
But Collier always hoped to do some type of service like the rest of his family. He eventually tested with the city of Henderson and became an officer in 2008.
His family also instilled a spirit of community service to go beyond just putting on the uniform.
“It’s all about a community relationship,” Collier said.
As an officer, Collier said, he wants to break down barriers to make sure police are seen as more approachable and involved and give back even when not in uniform.
After being hired, Collier joined the running team and started competing in 5Ks and other races.
Collier ran Tough Mudder, a 10- to 12-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces. Tough Mudder has events in seven countries and is known for grueling obstacles. The race took place in February in Temecula, Calif.
His time of 1 hour and 50 minutes placed him in the top 5 percent of finishers and qualified him for the World’s Toughest Mudder, scheduled for Nov. 17-18 in New Jersey.
World’s Toughest Mudder, which features twice as many obstacles, brings in top competitors worldwide to compete in the 24-hour event.
The course includes obstacles such as Electroshock Therapy, where participants must sprint through a field of live wires carrying as much as 10,000 volts of electricity, or the Fire Walker, where runners go through a trench of flames.
Even though the competition raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project – $3 million to date – Collier wanted to go beyond that and raise money for a Nevada-based charity.
After talking to his wife, a nurse, he learned more about Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada.
Currently, Collier is in training mode. He can be found running Henderson trails, whether it’s the Amargosa or Reunion trails.
In addition to lots of cardio work, Collier does other cross-training efforts such as tire pulls, where he drags a tire behind him as he runs, or sledgehammer swings, where he repeatedly hits a tire with a sledgehammer.
He also trains in a wet suit, a potential outfit for the race that could help him fight elements such as cold water.
“My main goal for the race is not to compete for first place,” Collier said. “As nice as that would be, I don’t have the time to fully commit to training that way. I’d rather go as far as I can and push the preconceived limits of my body and allow my mind to be in control.”
Collier doesn’t know if he will do the World’s Toughest Mudder again.
“It’s expensive,” Collier said. “Maybe if it were on the West Coast.”
He does plan to participate in other challenges such as GORUCK Challenge, the Spartan Death Race and the Fuego Y Agua Survival Run, which is on a volcano in Nicaragua.
For more information or to donate, visit tinyurl.com/8bxprkq.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201.