It's billed as the toughest race in the world. Thousands of people took to the eight-mile assault course. Competitors are asked to haul their bodies through thick mud, under yards of barbed wire and over huge wooden barricades before hurdling walls of fire and plunging into a freezing lake.”
About 5,000 competitors take on the challenge every year but up to a third never make the finishing line. This year, the 24th running of the race in Perton, Staffordshire, was even tougher. The rapid melt of snow, which took place overnight, caked the entire course in thick mud before the start.
Former Grenadier Guardsman and Event Organiser 'Mouser' Wilson said: “We didn't have much ground space and we had about 5,000 people here. We had to shut the doors to the public because everybody wanted to do it. We have had to turn at least a thousand away. We had plenty of military with us. Many said that this course was harder than the Army.
“I had a captain in Afghanistan write to me saying the British Army recognise Tough Guy as the most arduous test of physical and mental endurance. They want to send a lot of troops here to try the course, before they send them off to Afghanistan. There is nothing like this in the world, and that is why people from all over the globe want to come.
“Every year there's something new. This year I have added what I call ‘Gallipoli’ - an exact replica of the beaches of Gallipoli in the First World War. Competitors have to wade in and out of freezing water before crawling through barbed wire. However, people attempt the course as a journey of self-discovery. If people break their legs, they don't come whining like many in our blame and claim culture. They ring up and apologise saying "Please let me come back next year!”
Chris Baker, an Auditel Cost Management Consultant since 1998, and an experienced Triathlon and Duathlon competitor, took part this year. Chris says: “I finished in three hours but ended up being treated for hyperthermia along with about 250 others. The ambulance and medics were overwhelmed. It was a frightening experience. I didn’t know what year it was, never mind the day of the week, but – at least I finished!”
Chris will be competing in the Long Course Weekend in July in preparation for the IronmanWales in September, as well as various other running and triathlon events. Watch this space!