On Sunday morning, with hangovers that would kill lesser men, the Guild of Adventures donned our running gear (I made mine by taking a knife to my trousers), wrapped socks around our shoes to keep them on…and strode out onto the Killing Fields of Tough Guy Nettle Warrior 2013…
…17km of barricades, lakes, fires, stinging nettles, electric shockers, fire, mud and cramp… In short, just about the greatest experience we have ever had.
When I did the Winter event in 2012. It was pretty much the most horrific ordeal of my life, which left me with hypothermia, a phobia of cold water and a mission…to do it again, better.
Needless to say, I had been looking forward to trying the Summer event since, which replaces lakes of ice with forest of stinging nettles…
When they announced that Nettle Warrior 2013 would also include festival of folk music and beer, it was all too much to resist. I immediately wrote to Mr. Mouse and asked whether my band, Gay Bum, could play and whether we could bring along some Murderbeer.
He said yes. To both! He even constructed an enormous music, bonfire, BBQ and beer area for us to revel in, next to the camping area! Why I didn’t take a photo of it, I simply don’t know. I think I was too excited.
Come Saturday night, however, chaos descended. A storm hit the campsites, washing everybody away from the festival area and into their tents to cower. The Murderbeers went un-quaffed, the guitar un-strummed, the songs un-sung.
Just when all hope seemed lost, a car swung into the field with news. Mr. Mouse had invited everybody back to his cavernous Tough Guy HQ for a BBQ and inside gig! If we brought the Murderbeer and music, they’d provide meat and a place to collapse when the chaos abated! It was too good to be true…
…EXCEPT THAT IT WASN’T!
IT WAS THE GREATEST!
The next morning, feeling less prepared than we had ever felt for anything, Will, Simon and I were given our race numbers: 7069, 7070 and 7071…Front Runners.
Front Runners? What could that possibly…
As 2500 riled-up racers lurked in cages behind the start line, The Guild strode out onto the open plains in front of them all. There we joined a tiny contingent of select runners – the elite, the hand-chosen, those hoping to win, those who had devoted countless hours to setting up the race…
There we stood; shirtless and ill-prepared, our Guildsman’s hair billowing in the wind…what had we done?!
Then all was madness. Grenades filled the air with pink and blue smoke, a cannon went off behind us, fireworks exploded above us and thousands of humans poured down the hill towards us. So we did what any Tough Guys would do…and FLED!
What followed was mile after mile of obstacle-riddled field, hauling ourselves over 9ft high wooden barricades and hurling ourselves over bails of hay. After 5km we met Matt, who was waiting at the start of his 12km race, which included almost all the challenges of ours!
Most Memorable Parts of Tough Guy Nettle Warrior 2013
- Being in the tiny number of Front Runners to lead the start
- Slalom: nine sheer hill sprints, which quickly became hill trudges
- Interrogation Chamber: crawling around underground, being shocked by electric prods, before crawling out through narrow concrete tunnels…
- Water Slalom: in and out of dozens of trenches of waist-deep mud and water
- Dive rolling over lines of fire!
- Reaching the end together, as a mighty Guild!
- Knowing that, of the 2500 people that start, we were three of the 1200 who made it through
All in all, the limitless hospitality from Tough Guy HQ, combined with what is undoubtedly the greatest assault, obstacle and mud race in the land, made this weekend utterly unforgettable. No, we weren’t prepared in any way. Yes, we drank all the beer and slept on the floor. Yes, we went out anyway and yes, we conquered everything that was put before us.
Thus, the Guild.