Tough Guy (Iain)

I’m a tough guy!

It’s true. I can prove it.

A) I’ve been in a fist fight. It was against Andrew, and we were aged five, but it still counts.

B) I’ve crashed my car and survived…It was at low speed and entirely my own fault and some people might say it wasn’t a crash, it was a poorly executed three point turn, but it still counts.

C) A man once said “Iain, you are a Tough Guy”.

First staged in 1987, the Tough Guy Challenge is held on a  farm near Wolverhampton. It has been widely described as “the toughest race in the world”, with up to one-third of the starters failing to finish in a typical year.

I did the event in 2006. Four of us came down from Scotland for it. The night before the race we stayed in a barn on the farm. The barn smelled of horses and horse shit. The hay was very comfy to sleep on but it was tricky to find a patch that a horse hadn’t used…

The race starts with a 10K run over farmland. At various points we were made to run up and down small hills. The aim is to spread the field of participants out so that there’s plenty of space once the obstacles start.

The first obstacle was bits of string hanging from a frame. Next to the frame a sign said: “Electrified!” I took one look at the string, one look at the sign and immediately ignored the warning and walked into the string. I woke up 2 seconds later. My head hurt and I wondered why I was lying in a field staring at string. The electric shock had been strong! It felt like I’d been punched by Mike Tyson. I crawled under the string.

The next obstacle was a muddy body of water. I started to go round it. A man shouted “No! In it!” I’d rather not. It looked cold and was full of mud and who know what else. I jumped in. It was disgusting. I went in as myself and emerged as Swamp Man. Why am I doing this stupid race?

After that was a net. At last, something straightforward. Oh no. I notice the flames above the net. Great. If I don’t drown then I get burnt alive. I started crawling under the net. I was now faced with a much more horrific site. The man in front of me was crawling along wearing nothing other than a g string! His big sweat mud encased arse swaying in front of my face. I hope he doesn’t stop suddenly.

The race continued in this vein for nearly three hours. I wish I could say I enjoyed it but I struggled to see the point in it. I finished first amongst my friends and when I did so I heard a man say “Iain, you are a tough guy!”

But I wasn’t the toughest guy. My mate collapsed half way round. He was brought round in the ambulance. They asked him how he felt. He replied “I feel like continuing” He got up and finished the race. That’s tough!

Today I saw an advert on on Facebook – this year’s event is going to be the last one ever.

Will I do it again? No – I’m a tough guy, not a stupid guy!