At the beginning of the year, Barrie Freeman and Debbie Goy, from Bishopsgates’s Manchester depot invited Tim Bloch, Bishopsgate’s MD, to join them later in that year for the Tough Mudder Challenge! Not really thinking things through Tim quickly said, “Yes: no problem; that sounds like fun, count me in” It was only after watching the BBC ‘Mudder’ documentary that the true extent of the challenge ahead dawned. Quickly looking for support, and seeing the team building opportunities available, (Yeah right!) he opened the event up to everyone at Bishopsgate who was mad enough or motivated enough to come along.
So it ended up with a fifteen strong mixed group of employees from the crews out on the road to the office staff from all of the depots spending a day running around in an extremely muddy field for 12 miles, with regular breaks (!) for tackling obstacles. The course featured twenty-five obstacles in all, which mainly consisted of jumping over things that were much too tall for them and jumping into muddy water that was much too deep for them. This ‘fun’ was also peppered with a bunch of other (arguably ill-advised) activities including jumping into a skip full of ice, being electrocuted and gassed and launching themselves out of pipes into thick, blackened, slimy mud. This is otherwise known as completing the infamous Tough Mudder obstacle course.
Tough Mudder, known as one of the toughest events in the world, is a hard-core obstacle course designed by British Special Forces where 25 obstacles cover 12 miles. The event is designed to test strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie with team spirit and working together the primary factor.
Obstacles are based around mud, gas, ice-water and electricity and included ‘arctic enema’ where the Bishopsgate team immersed themselves into a giant vat of crushed ice to wading through waist-deep liquid mud, scaling huge, greased walls and ‘trench warfare’ which includes crawling through small tunnels of mud under barbed wire. If it sounds weird, it’s weirder still if you try it.
John Winter, who was constantly reminded that he was one of the older members of the team added, “It would just not have been possible to try this on your own. It really is one of the best team events I’ve ever attended and dare I say it good fun too. But if it wasn’t for the London crews and Wes, Attila & Krisztian in particular who pulled me up and dragged me over the obstacles I would never have made it.”
Debbie Goy, whose day job is Health & Safety and one of the plucky band of fifteen said “We can all confirm that it was tough, and it was certainly muddy”. She went on to say, “Joking aside, it was an incredibly fun day and we were lucky enough to all complete the course with only minor injuries – we all had just enough cuts, bruises and pulled muscles to successfully show off that we had actually completed the course!”
Before crossing the finish line and ending their 5 hour challenge they had to overcome the last obstacle, ‘Electroshock Therapy’ running through a field of live wires whilst avoiding hay bales and deep sink holes. Just when you thought it was all over!
John adds, “I am led to believe that rigorous training is already well underway for Tough Mudder 2016 and I have got to admit that I am really looking forward to it. But this year as the official team photographer…