A few weeks ago, during an obvious period of overindulgence and self-loathing over the Christmas holidays, I enrolled in the Tough Guy 2015 race in Wolverhampton, England, a gruelling 15km run on a course littered with over 250 obstacles, including fields of fire, barbed wire and electric fences.
It sounded like a great idea. The race fell perfectly between two meetings that I had already booked in my calendar in Europe, and my dear friend and colleague Neil Pritchard from Heathrow was participating in the event with other co-workers.
And then I started to look into the details of the race. According to the organizers of the Tough Guy event, Tough Guy is the nightmare of being chased by a herd of stallions. Your only escape route is a mighty and revered obstacle course. Built from trees, 15 metres high with Tarzan ropes swinging. No hats and no hook ups. Just pure, organic grip strength from your cold and wet hands. Belly flop beneath razor wire, the stallions still snorting at your heels, matching your every step. Look deep into the flames before diving through them straight into shoe sucking mud. Then something wakes you, or does it? Were the stallions just a nightmare? No time to look back, the narrow tunnels beckon. You bravely enter to discover they’re filled with murky water. You can’t see. You can’t breathe. What chance of survival? Grope around and grab that rope. Pull yourself lungs bursting, into the light! You see the sun, or is it just another cruel mirage? You are faced with a wall climb, as high as a mountain. No visiblity again. Is that smoke, mist or cloud? How do you get down? Take the netting or dive into the freezing lake. You suddenly realise that the sound of stallions behind is fading. You must go on. The only route is through the Arctic water. A monkey rope, a barbed wire crawl, an electric eel, a skin ripping snake, you can smell the finish. It’s familiar…..you recognise…..it smells like…..cocoa! You know you’ve earned it!
All of these obstacles, combined with the high British humidity, subzero temperatures, northernly winds, icy waters and snow on the ground, promise to make this event truly memorable, and hopefully I will not leave my soul on British soil.
Anyhow, Neil’s team (www.justgiving.com/Mojo-Kings) has been heavily focused on the fund-raising efforts for the Tough Guy event, and I am happy to announce that they have already received contributions in excess of £4000, over $7000 Canadian Dollars, so far. They are running in support of a local charity, Shooting Star Chase, a hospice caring for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families (www.shootingstarchase.org.uk).
More details and photos will follow over the course of the weekend. Hopefully, my obituary will not be uploaded to this website on Sunday.
Wish me luck…