On Saturday 7th July, a select group of Novo’s elite athletes (and by elite I mean unwitting and by athletes I mean victims) took on the challenge of Tough Mudder North London, raising money for Winston’s Wish along the way.
Despite the early start, temperatures started to rise as quickly as the blood pressure of some of our runners and by 8:15am it was pushing 30°C.
After 2 miles of running, a 20ft crawl through what can only be described as horse s*it and a climb over a 12 foot obstacle – it was quickly becoming apparent that this would not be a walk in the park – quite literally.
As the course continued we were subjected to 20 different obstacles scattered over 10 or so miles, all designed to challenge the body, the mind and the senses. Highlights included:
The “Electric Eel” – a crawl through a muddy swamp-like area with electric cables hanging down to zap you with each forward move
The “Arctic Enema” – which Tough Mudder’s head course designer likens to “quickly eating ice cream and getting punched in the balls at the same time” – essentially a slide down a dark tight tube in to an industrial dumpster filled with ice cold water and ice with a wooden divider that participants must swim under. Muscle paralysis is almost instantaneous as you hit the water and it is little wonder that despite being the shortest obstacle in the field, it is one of the most feared
Shawshanked - a delightful crawl through a mud filled tube which is tighter than Linford Christie’s shorts in to a pool of icy water before swiftly climbing in to another ridiculously small tube for the uphill climb to freedom.
Despite the fear inducing nature of some of these obstacles and some obscenely long stretches of arduous uphill running – the team pulled together and actually found themselves really enjoying the event and helping each other overcome all of the challenges before us. And whilst we ended up with 2 of our warriors in the medical tent nursing a sprained ankle and broken knee respectively, the whole team somehow managed to finish the race and earn a well-deserved ice cold cider and a “finisher” t-shirt and sweatband.
And to make that cider taste even sweeter, we checked our justgiving account when we were well over the finish line to discover that our last minute push for sponsorship had really paid dividends and we had boosted our fundraising from around £800 to over £1500 – all of which will be going to the wonderful Winston’s Wish charity whose work ensures support and hope is given to grieving children and young people.
I really wish that we didn’t have to run Tough Mudder in memory of our friend Paul Taylor. He should still be here with us. Life can be incredibly cruel. If I’ve learnt anything over the last few months, it is that every day we have on earth is hugely precious and that we should spend less time worrying about the things that really don’t matter and spend more time on the things that really do.
I wanted to say a huge thank you to the Novo legends who took part in this event, to Winston’s Wish for the incredible work they do and to all those lovely people who put their hand in their pocket to sponsor us and help commemorate Paul and support Steph and the boys.