Report by Horatio Cary
I travelled with Adam Birkett, Zac Jones, Sasha Burgess, Toby Stevens and my brother Alfred Cary to Wolverhampton to take part in Tough Guy.
Tough Guy is described by its creator Billy Wilson, a retired Grenadier Guard, as a 12 mile hardcore obstacle course although a cruel form of torture is how I would describe it.
The ‘obstacles’ include running along countless narrow paths lined with unavoidable 7 foot high stinging nettles, crawling under barber wire, running through fire, wading through rivers and high voltage electric wires hanging from beams at various points around the course.
At 11 o’clock we started, along with 2,500 other hopefuls, of which only 1,200 would finish. The start line is a 10m high near vertical hill, followed by a 2 mile run broken up with hay bales and wooden fences to scramble over. At the end of the run is the first serious obstacle. A 40 foot high climbing frame covered in cargo nets that feeds into a narrow tunnel that has electric wires hanging from beams every couple of meters.
After this came the first of many water obstacles. A series of trenches dug down and filled with water. Jump in, wade across, scramble up the bank the other side – easy. Except in preparation for the nettles I had cunningly worn rugby socks so that I could pull them up above my knees when I came to nettles to avoid getting stung. Both socks instantly filled with mud and I now had the bleak prospect of still having 10 miles to go with each foot weighing what felt like an extra 10kg.
The next challenge was a slalom set on a steep hill, 10 runs up (actually one run up, eight walks up and finally an exhausted crawl) and 10 sprints down. After this there was lots of running, seemingly endless cargo nets to clamber under, more hay bales and fences to scale, rivers and lakes to wade through and lots of nettles to avoid.
The next major obstacle was hay bales set on fire which you had to run through followed by another lake to wade through and then two tunnels of tyres to crawl through.
By this stage most of the running had been done and what was left was an endless succession of obstacles, climbing high frames, walking on high ropes above lakes. Jumping off high planks into the lake, swimming, more nettles and then finally the interrogation room.
The interrogation room is a dark low ceilinged room that reduced big burly tattooed men to girlish yelps as their tired limbs crashed into the practically unavoidable high voltage wires that hung from ceiling to floor. Sadly I can confirm that these wires packed quite a punch…
After one more climb and slide down into a lake we crossed the finish line in an exhausted heap, ate vast quantities of food and then watched other people make fools of themselves on the obstacles which makes for excellent viewing – it’s like ‘you’ve been framed’ on steroids.
left to right: Sasha Burgess, Adam Birkett, Alfred Cary, Horatio Cary, Toby Stevens, Zac Jones