Farmer gets running for Mudder challenge

Wairarapa sheep and beef farmer Joe Hintz never considered himself a runner – but that all changed when he started training for the annual Mudder  event as part of the Farmstrong team.

The 42-year-old’s journey to becoming a runner began this year when he started feeling unfit. “I’ve played sport on and off, but I’m not a runner so mentally it wasn’t easy to get started, but I did it. I marked out some tracks on the farm and started off doing 3km runs, and then slowly increased it until I got to 4km. Then one of my mates asked if I wanted to do The Mudder, so I agreed and ramped up my training.”

The Mudder is a race in which participants run through hilly, muddy terrain and man-made obstacles. It’s held annually at Rangitikei Farmstay in the lower North Island. Joe ended up competing in The Mudder’s 8km race, but it wasn’t exactly his choice. “I thought I was going to be in the 5km race then found my name on the race sheet for the 8km race, so I went into panic mode and ramped up my training,” Joe laughs.

Joe increased his running sessions to two to three days a week. “I increased my runs to 6km and I also started running 8–10km on the weekend with some mates on the farm.”

Keeping motivated

To keep motivated, Joe says he makes sure he takes his running gear with him to work. “It’s hard to be motivated to go running after you get in from work so I take my gear with me and go running before I get back to the house.”

The Mudder was held on 15 September in Marton in the Rangitikei District and Joe finished in the top 10, something he’s immensely proud of. “It was so awesome, such a fun day. It was as hard as hell but I’m really proud of what I achieved,” Joe says. “Luckily I had put the training in and I had a great time out with my mates. To be honest, I was expecting the worst, but I had a ball.”

Feeling fitter and healthier

Joe’s training saw him lose 15kg in the process. “I lost heaps of weight, am heaps fitter and I’ve got more get up and go. I also started eating healthier food and snacks and drinking way more water, which helps keep me hydrated. When I run around with my three kids I don’t feel so creaky anymore.”

Joe says running gives him a mental break. “When I’m running I don’t think about work or what needs to be done on the farm and it really clears my head.”

He says the social side of taking part in The Mudder was great, too. “Because we were in a team, there was always heaps of banter. We had a great group of locals and it was really social. We’d yak away and have a few laughs while training and we had heaps of laughs at the event itself, which turned into a weekend away. I’m definitely keen take part next year.”

The next Mudder, described on The Mudder website as a “filthy and fun” event, will again be held at the Rangitikei Farmstay in September, next year.

For more information and tips on how to stay farm fit visit Farmstrong








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