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Roseville women face Tough Mudder to support wounded vets

Obstacle course event raises money for Wounded Warrior Project
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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When Roseville resident Timarie Trexler participates in Tough Mudder, she'll be relying on her teammates to support her through the 11-mile obstacle course.

She'll get encouragement and assistance from friend Kerry Fantham and personal trainer Mechelle Bertolucci, who signed the ladies up for the event in Tahoe on Sept. 22.

"These are tough challenges," Bertolucci said. "There's nothing you can do on your own. You need others to help."

The women are doing the run for themselves - to be healthy, face some fears, conquer a goal - but also for a bigger cause. Tough Mudder raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project, a national program that addresses the recovery needs of troops returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

"It's not just about patching them up," Trexler said. "It's beyond that."

Trexler has a personal reason for supporting this cause: Her nephew served two tours in Afghanistan and is being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. He was diagnosed with the disorder after his first tour.

Her nephew looks fine from the outside, Trexler said, but it's the emotional struggle beneath the surface that causes concern. She's grateful he was strong enough to ask for help.

"I'm glad he was able to recognize it and didn't feel embarrassed or not man enough," she said.

Fantham has a nephew who served in Iraq. She said even troops who don't see combat are impacted by the experience of war.

To date, Tough Mudder has generated $3.5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project. These funds go toward providing combat stress recovery programs, adaptive sports programs, benefit counseling, employment services and more.

Fantham and Trexler have been training on their own and with the help of Bertolucci, who focuses on developing the women's coordination, cardio, balance and agility. They're also practicing partner challenges to be prepared for Tough Mudder obstacles, including a jump into ice-cold water. The obstacle's name: Arctic Enema.

"I'm not going to jump," Fantham said smiling. "Someone's going to have to push me."

The three women met through Roseville Community School, where their children attend classes. Trexler got up the nerve to try one of Bertolucci's exercise sessions in August 2011. Bertolucci typically works with women age 30 and older, who juggle jobs and family and lack time for themselves.

Since then, Trexler has participated in several runs, including a 12K race on Angel Island. The women enjoy doing these runs partly because they usually support charitable causes.

"If you had told me at this time last year that I'd pay to go run, I would just have laughed it off," Trexler said.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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For more information ...

Wounded Warrior Project: www.woundedwarriorproject.org

Tough Mudder: www.toughmudder.com