Sunday becomes the day of reckoning for all the Loughborough students taking on the mammoth challenge known as Tough Guy. Yes that’s right the freezing cold, physically and mentally tough ten-kilometre assault course is back raising money for Loughborough Student’s Rag!

A record 75 Loughborough University students will head down to Wolverhampton to take on what is named “The Safest Most Dangerous Event in the World!” Supported by a hardworking crew of Rag volunteers and event organisers, all 75 are aiming to finish the course, through the fire, flames, water and electric shocks to boot!

The course starts with a five-kilometre run, with minor obstacles interspersed within, although minor describes trenches full of frozen water, fallen tree-sized hurdles and twelve-foot walls to surpass. Then comes the slalom, entailing a steep ascent and descent multiple times, followed by the infamous up-and-down of the Ghurkha Grand Nationals. A final push through an icy river and the fun is complete, but Tough Guy doesn’t end there…

The bulk of the course then follows, beginning with a large net climbing frame and a form of door roulette, reminiscent of Takeshi’s Castle, with participants running through the doors hoping not to get shocked by intermittent electric probes! After a water jump and a run through fire to warm you up, the dreaded Viet-Kong Torture Chamber: A barely shoulder-wide, pitch-black tunnel laced with electric probes – previous competitors have sighted only the sound of grown men screaming during this part of the course…

The aptly named “Behemoth” follows, involving yet another climbing frame but this time with a seemingly impassable tightrope walk. For the next 300 metres or so are the “Ducking Ponds” where our Tough Guys submerge completely under the freezing water and aim to move to the next breathing hole. Then after walking the plank, another fire run, a small water obstacle course, the tyre-tunnels and a electric-probe-laced slip and slide name “Viagra”, one short sprint up the hill and you have crossed the finish line, gladly accepting your medal, a towel and a hot chocolate. Feel man enough now? No wonder everyone has to sign a "Death Warrant" slip, 'just in case'.

Loughborough University has had a proud history of Tough Guy, with former Alumni Development Officer, Dominic Bosher, regularly reaching the top 100 finishers. Finishing in a close second to Bosher last year in the Loughborough standings, by just 55 seconds, was Towers Hall Chair Piers Harrison, who I met up with to ask about the experience and his aims for this year’s challenge.

Piers was extremely upbeat about the torturous challenge ahead: “I can’t wait for this Sunday! I would love to finish in the top 50 this year if I can, especially now Bosher’s out of the way, but I’m hoping my recent ankle injury won’t affect me! Tough Guy was the first time I ever wanted to quit something, it was simply physically and mentally exhausting, but crossing the line for my first medal has made me want to come back year on year."

"For anyone on the borderline of wanting to try Tough Guy, 100% just do it! The two most exhilarating feelings were involved in Tough Guy: The feeling of charging ahead with nearly 3000 people, and crossing the line for your medal, and seeing your completed time on the board in front of you.”

As you can see the Tough Guy challenge is no walk in the park, but more a slow trudge, so make sure you sponsor any of your friends, housemates or coursemates getting involved, all raising money for LS Rag!


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