Phillip Wong // The Articles

Tough Guys and Gals – Paying to get dirty

22nd July 2011

Approaching the finish line having duelled with the course.

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 final obstacle.

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.

This is what $60 gets you.

Following the pack through the final stream through to the finish.

The rigors of the day take hold.

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 clean up begins.

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.


Beer, chips, and 44 grovelling men


The Weekend View from the Office