Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

January 24, 2013

Pair of Tough Mudders

For Hadads, exercise strengthens relationship

Judy Wakefield
Staff Writer

---- — There’s love and then there’s Tough Mudder love. The Hadads, a fitness-loving couple from Andover, are all about the latter.

Toni and Rich Hadad believe their involvement in exercise makes their relationship stronger, and they travel around the country to take part in Tough Mudder events.

Tough Mudder events are 10- to 12-mile obstacle courses described as “designed by British Special Forces to test your strength, stamina and mental grit,” according to the website

”We love doing it because not only do proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project, but it is a way for us as a couple to stay in shape,” said Toni Hadad, a Yang’s Fitness Studio workout-a-holic who is known as very intense about her passion.

”We get to spend some time together and help each other get through the course. He (husband Rich) helps me get over the 12 foot walls,” she said. “We love it.”

The Hadads, both Andover High School graduates, own Ultimate Perk coffee shop on Main Street. They have owned it for 10 years. So, it’s not surprising that their self-named fitness team for Tough Mudder competition events is Team Caffeine.

”Yes, I drink coffee but I don’t touch those,” said the petite Toni, referring to the delicious but high calorie sweets lining the shelves at her business.

Dressed in hot pink Asics sneaker-clad, she explains that the courses include an Electricshock Therapy trap on an obstacle course.

”Wires carry 10,000 volts of electricity so when you get hit, you go down,” she said.

There’s the Artic Enema event where a dumpster is filled with ice; contestants don’t want to sink in that tub.

The couple have tackled Tough Mudder obstacle courses in Vermont, California and two races in Tampa, Fla. They love competing in the military style challenges with their goal to finish the course and earn an orange headband. Toni insists that it keeps their marriage alive.

The Hadads are typical 9-to-5ers. Toni, a 1983 AHS graduate, is 47 and works full-time as an art director at Timberland in Stratham, N.H. where she spends her lunch hour running fitness boot camps. She’s also a freelance art director and designer who is currently redesigning the Memorial Hall Library logo. She is the force behind her coffee shop’s attractive seasonal decorations.

Rich Hadad is a 1987 AHS graduate, and is a certified public accountant. The couple has two children, Evan, 8 and Skylar,13.

It’s living by-the-minute for this busy couple as the alarm goes off at 4 a.m. and working out at Yang’s begins for Toni around 4:30 a.m. At 6 a.m., she is at Ultimate Perk, making sure it’s ready for business, then it’s back home to get the kids ready for school. She works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and goes to bed at 9:30 p.m.

Sure, it’s a demanding schedule, but she loves it.

“You’ve got to move,” she said. “If you have five minutes, you can find 30 minutes in a day for a workout. So, do it even it’s early in the morning...I do it because it’s fun, I do it with my husband and I want to be around for my kids.”