Think lifting some weights in a gym or taking some jiu-jitsu classes makes you a bona fide tough guy?
Try leaping through fire, burrowing under barbed wire, plunging into icy water and traversing a brutal expanse of mud and misery (Speedo optional).
Such were the grueling obstacles that faced thousands of competitors this past weekend at the annual Tough Guy Challenge in England, widely regarded as the “toughest race in the world” (though that’s up for serious debate).
Roughly one-third of the wannabe tough guys who start the race fail to complete it, instead hobbling off to the nearest paramedic and/or frosty pint of liquid consolation.
During the eight-mile charge through the so-called Killing Fields, tough guys are faced with obstacles including:
- The Anaconda: a series of concrete pipes outfitted with dangling electrical wires
- The Jesus Bridge: an expanse of wooden planks (perhaps from crucifixes?)
- Vietcong Torture Chamber Tunnels: underground passages that would not have seemed out of place in Apocalypse Now
Apparently only one person has died during the competition, and that was 13 years ago — a rather surprising statistic, given the soul-crushing rigors of the course. Broken bones and bloody gashes are far more common, and roughly 600 competitors were diagnosed with hypothermia during the 2009 event.
Despite the diabolical nature of the race, organizers call it the “safest most dangerous event in the world,” thanks largely to the army of paramedics on hand waiting to nurse the wounded.
Think you’re tough? Sign up for next year’s Tough Guy Challenge. A word of advice: watch this video first.