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The Muddy Headmaster

September 27, 2013

There waImages a moment during Saturday’s Mud Run when I thought Tad Roach was going to call it a day. We were standing with a herd of people waiting to crawl through a thin opening and over rock-laden mud while having icy water poured on us. Tad began drifting away from the crowd to get a better look at the obstacle. We were only 50 yards from the finish line and I wouldn’t have blamed him if he chose to keep drifting in that direction.

He had already run more than 3 miles in the mud, used a rope to pull himself up two separate cliffs, climbed over a 15-foot wooden wall (where he helped a student also make the climb while perched on top of the wall), slid on his back into a mud pit, shimmied across a narrow log bridge, had mud thrown at him, slid himself again on his back into muddy water filled with ice, and swung from a rope like Tarzan into another mud pit. He had done more than enough to prove his commitment.

Eventually he drifted back to the herd and waited quietly, patiently. He hesitated when his turn finally came to consider how he was going to get his 6’3” frame flat enough to make his way through. He took a deep breath and plunged in. Half a minute later he emerged on the other side (picture above) and headed toward the finish line, cheered on by students lining the course.

ManySknow Tad for his remarkable eloquence and appreciate his unique ability to set an ambitious course for St. Andrew’s year-after-year, but there’s also the side the students saw on Sunday — a much older man they usually see in a coat and tie covered in mud and leading more than 200 of them in support of leukemia research.

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