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Tough Mudder team All Ears to raise money for deaf teens

Tough Mudder team All Ears to raise money for deaf teens


Josh Foreman

Participating in Tough Mudder, the gruelling obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces, is a dream come true for University of Auckland student Josh Foreman.

Tough Mudder events are hard-core obstacle courses designed to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. The 20-kilometre extreme race is now held in 53 locations worldwide. The first New Zealand Tough Mudder will be held at the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park in the Waikato on April 26 and 27.

For Josh, the event is more than a test of fitness and endurance. At two-years-old he was diagnosed profoundly deaf. Six-months later he had a cochlear implant so he could hear and he learned to talk instead of using sign language.

Not only is he excited about competing in New Zealand’s inaugural ‘Tough Mudder’ event, he plans to do the entire course without the use of his cochlear implant, and video his progress along the course with a helmet mounted camera without sound. He hopes the resulting silent film will give people an understanding of what it is like to be deaf.

For the Bachelor of Physical Education student, it’s also the opportunity to experience a form of army training first hand.

“I always wanted to be in the army or the police. That sort of lifestyle and fitness has always appealed to me.”

“I see Tough Mudder as a perfect opportunity to push my physical and mental limits through an obstacle course that is actually designed by the British Special Forces,” Josh says.

And Tough Mudder is not an obstacle course for the faint hearted. It has the ‘Electric Eel’, where competitors crawl on their stomach through mud with just inches between them and live electrical wires, then there’s ‘Phoenix’, where you jump over a 1.2 metre wall of flames. If that’s not enough, ‘Trench Warfare’ involves a long, painful crawl in the pitch darkness of an underground trench.

The 23-year-old Remuera resident is working with seven other Faculty of Education PE students to organise a team called ‘All Ears’ to compete in the event. Josh has used his recent qualification as a personal trainer to advise his team mates on how to prepare for the gruelling obstacle course.

The team is adding to the challenge by fundraising for The Hearing House’s Hear for You programme – a charitable organisation that Josh has been involved with since its inception in 2011.

The Hear For You programme provides mentors for deaf adolescents who have chosen spoken language as their preferred medium of communication to develop greater confidence in their social and leadership skills. It also gives them the opportunity to mix socially with other hearing impaired teenagers of a similar age.

Now Josh works as a mentor to young deaf children.

“When I was a teenager, I didn't really have any deaf role-models to look up to so I want to be there for other teenagers and help them through their teenage years. I hope to raise as much as I can as they have done so much for me and many others, and I want to repay the favour.”

“The Hearing House has meant so much for us. The confidence it gives to those kids is phenomenal.

“Now I can give back what they gave me and we can continue to provide them on-going support.”

You can support the programme by making a donation to Josh and the team at http://www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/AllEars/

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