THOUSANDS of people flocked to Cirencester at the weekend to take on a 12 mile obstacle course dubbed “probably the toughest event on the planet.”
Around 11,000 competitors took part in Tough Mudder South West 2014 on Saturday and Sunday, a gruelling course designed by British Special Forces to test all-round strength and endurance.
Brave participants found themselves being electrocuted, swimming though an ice bath, clambering over 12-foot walls and running up a quarter pipe slicked with mud and grease.
Tough Mudder is not a timed event, the idea behind it is to complete it with friends side-by-side, helping each other along the way.
One of the teams, which encapsulated this philosophy perfectly, was Timmy’s Army, which included Cirencester man Andy Freeman who suffers from MS and took on the course in his specially-made wheelchair.
The team showed grit, determination and camaraderie to carry and push Andy around the course.
Andy said: “It was very, very difficult , very tough as you might expect. For me it is one of the toughest things you can do.
“Crawling through ice water was the most challenging thing I have done to say the least.”
The team took six and a half hours to complete the course and raised more than £3,000 for the Timmy Mason Trust, a charity which supports children with terminal illnesses.
Although feeling proud of his achievement, Andy was not sure he would do Tough Mudder again.
“The short answer is no I wouldn’t do it. I am 49 now, it was tough. However, if somebody came up to me and asked me to do it again I may be stupid enough to say yes.”
Another challenge Andy took part in eight years ago was climbing to the top of Mount Snowdon to raise cash for the MS Society — but he said Tough Mudder was the hardest thing he has ever done.
“My team carried me up Snowdon. I thought that was the toughest thing I have done but this was far harder.”
Other local teams included True Function, a team from a gym in Chalford of 20 mudders, aged from 19 to 67, and a team of four from the Wilts & Glos Standard.
John Fideo, marketing director at Tough Mudder, said: “It was a big success. The venue at Cirencester Park was a perfect backdrop to an epic event, with great muddy conditions and new obstacles like Pyramid Scheme that went down really well.”
He added that details of Tough Mudder South West 2015 were expected to be released in September and that Cirencester Park was a contender to host the event.
Tough Mudder was founded in 2010 and currently runs events in the UK, Ireland, Germany, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.