Cosford Runners Prove They're Tough Enough
Published: 06 Dec 2016
Following a £300 grant provided by the RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT), and additional funding from the RAF Sports Lottery, a group of six runners from RAF Cosford Running Club pushed themselves to the limit as they took on 'the toughest event on the planet', Tough Mudder.
The team tested their strength, determination and stamina as they battled through the 11-mile obstacle course. Sgt Nicola Tait recalled their experience:
"On September 10 we set off early from RAF Cosford, our bags packed and anticipation building, stopping only for the essential pre-event McDonald's. We arrived at 11am to a sea of vehicles spread before us and participants sludging their way back to cars.
"The atmosphere was festival-like, with loud music and people beaming with pride. Across the speakers there was a fitness instructor enthusing 200 participants at a time in the warm up and we wasted no time in joining the queue.
"After readying our bodies for the onslaught ahead we approached the start line. We declared to work as a team, not to whine and to overcome all fears. Fully pumped, primed and ready, we set off.
"The pace started gently yet allowed for the separation of groups. A mile or two in we approached our first obstacles - easy. But that just lulled us into a false sense of security - our first dunk into cold, muddy water set the tone for everything that followed.
"Block Ness Monster, Arctic Enema and Birth Canal were just three of the obstacles we conquered. Some were harder than others and not just physically. They required a great deal of gritting of teeth, plenty of encouragement from fellow Mudders and more than once I needed to overcome that voice inside telling me 'don't do it, it's crazy'!
"But, when you have been hanging out of a pipe six feet in the air and told to fall backwards into the murky water below; waded chest height through the thickest mud you've ever known and built a human pyramid to get your team over a 15ft inclined wall, there's an immense pride in the achievement.
"Everest - a 15ft tall quarter pipe - was one of the last hurdles. To conquer it you need lots of hands at the top and bags of energy for the inevitable numerous attempts needed to succeed. We were around four hours in, wet and cold but we patiently waited, putting our faith in those who had already made it to stay and hoist us over. One-by-one our team made it and did our bit to help others before we trudged on.
"Our Legionnaires were treated to the High Flyers Club, jumping from a 10ft tall plank onto a jumbo pillow, to earn their second headband before we all lined up to complete the last obstacle - Electro-Shock Therapy. We darted across the range of dangling wires through 10,000 volts.
"At the finish line we were rewarded with freebies and congratulated each other before the journey home. Hundreds of filthy bodies queued for the hoses but it would take a number of warm soapy showers, a sturdy nail brush and full exfoliation to get rid of all the mud!
"Tough Mudder is the best team challenge I've ever encountered. I learnt a lot about myself in those five hours and after 18 years in the RAF - all the leadership lessons, exercises and tasks - I can now include it as an experience I would recommend to everyone. The best bit is that you don't need to be super fit, a top athlete or even a runner. You just need that 'can do, will do' attitude that so many people associate with military personnel."