On Sunday 5th May,  an 8 woman and man strong team traveled to Henley on Thames to take on the renowned Tough Mudder Event. With 10-11 miles and at least 25 obstacles, the weather seemed to embrace the challenge and throw every season at participants in one day - sun, torrential rain, hail, wind and a chilly 8 degrees. So why do people take on these events again and again?

Why have O.C.R events become so popular?

The popularity of O.C.R courses has risen so much over the last few years – in part because of TV shows like Ninja Warrior and Total Wipeout putting obstacle courses on the TV screens and online, with big budgets showing spectacular and elaborate obstacles ultimately making them look hugely entertaining and fun. However, I also think a huge factor in their rising numbers is the dual approaches of completing them.

 You can either get a group of friends together, have fun, take your time in attacking each obstacle as it comes, helping each other; or you can take it as a lone venture to push yourself as hard as you can, finishing as fast as you can. There is personal pride in receiving the medal at the end no matter which method you took to complete the course.

 So really your fitness level is irrelevant, it’s a challenge to take no matter where you’re at with your personal fitness goals. The obstacle course races are nothing like a 5k run or a marathon, the terrain is constantly changing, you have to use your whole body to attack each obstacle and they’re all different; the variety is key to keeping people interested and excited. Every time you wear your finishers t-shirt or see your medal it reminds you of your experience and should fill you with that feeling of satisfaction – no matter how large or small

We asked FFA client Kash about his experience of his recent Tough Mudder.

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 Tough Mudder was something I'd wanted to do for about 6 or 7 years and when I was about 25kgs heavier! I was filled with envy when viewing videos of friends doing their Tough Mudders and thought, I'll do this one day!

 I met Roel and started training with him about 4 years ago and mentioned that this was a goal I had. Roel was crucial throughout my training - keeping my spirits up and keeping me motivated and he even turned into a bit of a therapist with some excellent advice when our family was going through a tough time owing to my Father's (successful) battle with Cancer.

Having managed to rope my wife Aisha, sisters, Jahnvi and Vyoma, wife's sister and her boyfriend, Aneeka and Neil and another friend, Jaspal into the event; event day came along very quickly and Roel was pivotal to the 7 of us getting through the 10-11 mile challenge. The weather conditions were very challenging with us experiencing all the extremes of British weather! We were wet and cold from Mile 3 but kept going! 

We quickly saw why Roel competes at the World Championships of Obstacle Races as he guided us through the obstacles with tactics and of course, using his shoulders to literally climb on to get through! 

I was the only one who (some might say stupidly) decided to do the Arctic Enema and came out of the freezing water not knowing where I was and struggling to move - it was Roel who had a quiet word with me and told me " everything will be fine, just keep moving" Up next was a 30m climbing net which I did my best to talk myself out of whilst queuing for it with Roel. Roel cleverly kept my mind off things and told me to overcome my fear of heights and get through it - which I did!

Crossing the finish line with Roel completed a journey that we had embarked upon many years ago and a beer has never tasted so good as it did then! An enormous thank you to Roel for keeping all our spirits up and getting us through it and for me personally, a thank you to Roel for his words of wisdom during challenging times - what a man!

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If you would like to join an FFA team for your next or first O.C.R event then get in touch!