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February 10, 2011 / Alex Robertson

Its tough to become a Tough Guy!

Update: Donations have now closed but thanks to everyone who donated. If you feel the need to donate then please contact me for further details and I will let you know how to do so! Money will still be shared between charities as described!

Before I start let me say how grateful I am to everyone who has donated so far and if you haven’t then I hope you will think about it after reading this. Money goes to a good cause as seen in the blog here. I have also recorded a short audioboo about the fundraising aspect of this challenge so far. That can be found here and will be followed up with another Blog which will outline the fundraising response to various mediums and promotion methods. The basic idea was to get as many people as possible to donate £3 (the cost of a beer) to me. Videos explaining everything here!

I signed up for toughguy expecting a tough physical challenge. Alongside that I got, pardon the cliché, a tough mental challenge. Registration the night before consisted of signing a “death warrent” – signing away all our rights and their liability. This was going to be fun!

The day started with me feeling good about the race.  I felt rested and keen. Legs were fresh-ish and I was itching to get going. The atmosphere was electric and also quite. . .confused. Few people seemed to know exactly what was going on. If you’ve seen the tough guy website you might understand why!! The information is a mix of legend,  lies and half truths. After asking around, having our race numbers written on our faces with permanent marker we  were able to find our way to the start we were herded into the start pens for our starter class – Wetnecks. First timers. The more times you do Tough guy the further forward you get to start.

So unimpressed by the risk of serious injury I can't keep my eyes open

The excitement in the start pens was tangible. There was a rugby ball being booted around into the crowd, people rolling down hills in tractor tyres, rolling down steps and in our compound, having a final pee in the corner – adding a very …. interesting dimension to the overall “atmosphere”.

The start rolled up and we were off.

The full list of obstacles can be found here

The really hard thing was the constant wetness and cold. Every time you started to get a bit warmer you suddenly ended up jumping back into a pit of muddy, icy water – often up to your chest or fully submerging.
After about the first 2 obstacles of the Killing fields I’d lost feeling in my hands. My legs were already bleeding. and blessedly I didn’t even know what was going on with my feet.

The wetnecks before the start!

I don’t want to bore you with war stories but one which might entertain you is the Torture Chamber. An underground crawling space with wooden blocks to slow you down and bare electric wires hooked up to a car battery to speed you up!! I took a shock to the face and ended up underwater in a ditch running through the middle. It took about 1/2 an hour for my face to stop twitching!

So overall there was a number of moments when I was pretty downtrodden. A few twinges in my achilles made me hobble a few times but these were passing annoyances in the seemingly endless number of obstacles.

The camaraderie was immense at all points of the race. Everyone knuckling down and helping someone who slipped, shouting encouragement to each other in the water or in the dark tight fitting tunnels. I remember an enduring battle of being overtaken by and then re-overtaking a chap dressed as “Wheres Wally”. He looked less ticked off at the course than the people constantly shouting “Where’s your walking stick”!

Overall a fantastic experience. Mentally it was about keeping moving, never stopping and not going around any of the obsticles. I completed every single jump, climb, crawl and shock there was AND I didnt die.

It took 2 hours 13 minutes coming in somewhere just above 600th place. There were a good 1500 people who started before us so I think I did fairly well to overtake many of them in such a short course.

For those of you who read the last blog – I didn’t cry and I got my ass kicked by my friend Helen Mort who completed it in 2 hours 3 minutes. In my defence she is an experienced fell runner! Plus I think I look the most relaxed afterwards!

I have shredded shins elbows and hips. My shoulders were sore for a week and the histamine released by my body because of the cold made me itchy for about 3 days. In short – I loved the entire experience and am certainly going to do it again next year but next time with more training!

We’ve raised just over £500 so far and I’m keen to push this further so with just one day left until the end of fund-raising please donate just £3 to some really worthy charities HERE.


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