Tough Mudders is promoted as ‘probably the toughest event on the planet’ and the site for this particular challenge in Winchester is also known as the ‘toughest venue in Europe.’
Tough Mudders has quickly become a worldwide phenomenon. By the end of this year, two million men and women aged 18 and over will have entered a Tough Mudder event and that includes the seven of us. We all work for or have connections with Brandon Trust, and recently we decided to embark on a charity challenge to help raise the essential funds needed to ensure the freeing and life-changing support the charity provides continues.
We all trained hard but nothing could quite prepare us for what was to come.
We arrived in a muddy Winchester field at around 8am along with thousands of other ‘mudders.’ The average age of participants, made up of around 70% men and 30% women, is 29, and the challenge has an overall completion rate of 78%.
After signing our names on waivers and glancing over underlined phrases including ‘inherent risks’ and ‘catastrophic injuries,’ we dropped off our bags and headed to the start line, totally forgetting to warm up in our excitement to get started!
The course, designed by British Special Forces is essentially a half-marathon on relentlessly hilly, muddy paths, with 26 obstacles to conquer. The team spirit of the event was phenomenal. Strangers helping strangers; this wasn’t a race, we were all in it together and we were all going finish together.
Obstacles included the electric eel; a crawl through a pool of shallow muddy water under dangling cables wired with 10,000 volts of electricity. A lasting memory will be the screams of big burly men as they were zapped. It hurts... a lot! Another dreaded obstacle was the arctic enema, a swim under a wall of tyres in an industrial skip filled with thousands of ice cubes. Electroshock therapy was a run through a mud pit of live wires, cruelly placed before the finish, in which Yogi, one of our team, lost both trainers in the mud and was forced to go back into the wires to fish them out.
We crossed the line drenched, freezing cold, covered in mud but overwhelmed with the sense of achievement that we had all made it to the end in one piece and that we had managed to raise in excess of £1,000 for Brandon Trust. It was truly one of the most terrifying, exhilarating experiences we have ever had, and we can’t wait to sign up for next year! I'm on the far left of the picture.