We've been waiting patiently for over an hour - watching shattered bog monsters emerge form over the 15 foot wall only to have to run head long through a cage with electrical cables dangling from the top carrying 10,000 volts of electricity.
Nervous laughter kept us going watching the contorted expressions of the finishers and the relief on their faces as they get their orange headband and free pint.
Then it's our turn.
We're called forwards to the warm up area, we do the official warm up, and we're let through the gate to the start line, just as the heavens open and we're pelted with hail stones.
At the start line we're assembled, told to take a knee and repeat:
"As a Tough Mudder, I pledge that....
- I understand that a Tough Mudder is not a race, but a challenge
- I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time
- I do not whine - kids whine
- I help my fellow mudders complete the course
- I overcome all fears"
A smoke grenade is set off, and we're off. 11.5 miles of special forces designed obstacle course. We dived into 20ft lorry containers of ice, we jumped off 10 meter platforms into muddy water, we squeezed through tunnels and pipes, slithered under barbed wire, fell off monkey bars, carried medium sized trees, jumped through fire, got electrocuted while crawling through 6 inches of muddy water, climbed over 15 ft walls, ran up 'Everest' the monster which resembles half a half-pipe where the only way to reach the top is to get as high as you can and hope another Mudder at the top catches your out stretched hand/arm/leg and hauls you up before you slide back down to the bottom in front of 100s of on-lookers.
This is Tough Mudder and it's billed as the worlds toughest challenge. In their own words:
"Road-running may give you a healthy set of lungs, but will leave you with as much upper body strength as Keira Knightley..."
And that's the point really - to complete the course you need to have fitness to run 12 miles, you need the strength to complete the obstacles and you need the mental toughness to complete the course.
I was there as part of Olympus' team (Olympus Tough Team - OTT) raising money for Cancer Research UK. We also took with us some Olympus Tough cameras as a bit of a marketing stunt to prove that they really do what they say on the tin.
For what it's worth - all the camera's survived and were still taking photos and videos at the end! It's fair to say that they were in better condition than the actual humans carrying them - we were all absolutely shattered. Shivering and tired we burst through the electrical cables, and crossed the line to claim our pint and headbands - without doubt one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life!
And now I've just had a shower at a service station on the M1, I'm off to Brighton for a stag night tonight!!!
Wish me luck!!!!
What do you know now that you didn't yesterday?
10,000 applied to the right buttock will make you arch your back. The resulting 10,000 volts applied to the head will make you duck and make you arch the other way. The resulting 10,000 volts applied to the right buttock will make you arch your back.