Tough Guys and Gals – Paying to get dirty
22nd July 2011
In 1986 near Wolverhapton, England, Billy Wilson had the grand idea of a race based on the primary goal of bringing together man and mud. The course would be gruelling and littered with obstacles just because, well, why not? As the ultimate insult, entrants would pay for the pleasure.
Fast forward 25 years and the Tough Guy Challenge is now a worldwide event, even in little old New Zealand although here, in the spirit of equality for all, it’s known as the Tough Guy and Gal Challenge. Regardless of location, the key element remains the same: mud, and we’re not talking about the mineral-packed, beautifying, volcanic variety. Rather, the country paddock, cow manure enhanced, malaria filled alternative, not that that discourages anyone from entering.
The highlight of the race is the final obstacle; a non-descript creek that for the previous 364 days lived a meek, lonely existence with only the occasional sheep for company. Today, however, it would rise to centre stage and swell to a torrent. All competitors would funnel their way through, working the stream to a mud bath and a treat for spectators. Some sections would become deep enough so that swimming became a better option.
Despite the cold temperature and risk of infection, good times were had by all. Especially this gentleman. A very impressive pair but a little too symmetrical with an unusually shallow crack, particularly for a bloke. The small children watching the race from the sideline were none the wiser with expressions on their faces to suit. Images have been burnt into their minds and will haunt them in their dreams.
The after race clean-up begins, impervious to the ice cold water. A Marilyn Monroe type moment, albeit with a slightly less than Marilyn Monroe lead character.