The first challenge to kick things off again after the year of challenges saw a return to Total Warrior. The first time around I had really enjoyed it despite the struggle so I was determined to give it another go. Despite training hard I didn’t feel that much fitter as the time ticked down to the big day but on the plus side I had managed to rope in 14 people from work to join me! As we were all of differing levels of fitness we were going to end up in groups but at least I would have some company getting through it and some help with some of the obstacles. As we all congregated at the start and warmed up amongst the super heroes I didn’t feel the same nerves that I had the year before as I was excited to get the latest challenge underway.
As the starting gun sounded and we ran through the smoke that engulfed the start, the groups were already starting to form and as we made our way towards the hill sprints, I had Faye with me to keep me company and to make sure that we both made it to the end. As with the previous attempt, the hills were a killer way to start and they really took it out of us, especially with the heat of the sun burning down on us. We were making decent progress though as we got through to the over and under bars which had already seen the first casualty of the race as someone sat by the side of the course unable to continue.
It was than on to the start of the mud and hard going as it got deeper. There was plenty of opportunities for getting muddy and also getting clean again as we kept having to go through cold water after the mud sections including the ‘Channel Crossing’ which was cold and deep. Then it was time to get on your knees to get under the barbed wire and through the mud which was quickly followed by the ‘Cement Mixer’ which was thick and deep. The deep mud had slowed us down a bit but not as much as the climb out of ‘Death Valley’ did. As we were the last group through of the weekend it was very wet, slippery and steep which made it a hard slog to get to the top. When we eventually made it to the top there was a wooded section before getting wet on ‘Back It Up’ which saw us getting sprayed with water while trying to pull yourself up hill on your back under a cargo net! That seemed much easier than it had last year and then it was time for the ice bath in ‘The Plunge’. We both jumped in and made it under the barrier and back out of the other side.
As we made our way past the start and towards the next set of walls, Faye was determined to make it to the end despite having problems with her ankle (which she had injured a couple of weeks before) so we were definitely going to make it back to the same point and pressed on. The ‘Grand National’ walls seemed much easier than previously and despite my best efforts I struggled with the ‘Hangover’ as there wasn’t much support around to give me a leg over. More obstacles followed including the ‘Swinger or Straight’ transverse walls and ‘You Tube’ which I made it through and out of the other side.
There were some new events along the way which added to the challenge and added some variation to the previous year. Most of them ended with us getting wet and muddy! Before long we made it to ‘Sprint King’ which was completed at a slightly more sedate pace than Usain Bolt. ‘The Shocker’ was the next up which was a less ‘shocking’ experience as I managed to get through without too much pain. Next up should have been ‘Slideaway’ but disappointingly it had been cancelled due to safety concerns.
It was then up the hill towards the finish and then it was ‘Hang Tough’ where I managed to hold on for longer than last year but still didn’t make it across and ended up getting a good soaking. The final obstacle was looming which was the ‘Peaks of Pain’ which had been my nemesis the previous year as it had beaten me despite my best efforts. This year I was determined to make it over so I took a minute, focused and went for it. I powered up, grabbed the rope and managed to pull myself over. I had beaten the ‘Peaks of Pain’ and we then finished the final few metres to the finish line. We had done it!
All of Team TSA had made it and we were the last two finishers but we were all warriors! At the finish the sense of achievement was even greater than the previous year as we had all done it and raised some money for the Blurt Foundation and Mind along the way. We need to get some more events in the diary now to continue the work we have done so far.