Not long ago an E-Mail came round my workplace asking if anyone was interested in doing “Tough Mudder.” The suggestion being that we entered as a work team. The Email was from someone my senior and a person who I like and respect very much, so I replied with as much restraint as I possible could, saying… “Do I look like the sort of person who wants to do Tough Mudder? I’m wearing loafers and no socks.”
The idea of partaking in Tough Mudder is about as close as it gets to my worst nightmare. For those who don’t know Tough Mudder, as described by their own website, is a “team-oriented 10-12 mile obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit.” The focus is very much on the “team” as “Tough Mudder puts camaraderie over finisher rankings and is not a timed race but a team challenge that allows participants to experience exhilarating, yet safe, world-class obstacles they won’t find anywhere else.”
In other words you and a collection of mates (bit of banter innit?), or worse, work colleagues (who you probably don’t really like) get together and encourage each other to career through muddy fields, over the odd stream and through the occasional flooded tunnel all in the name of camaraderie. You know, it builds character doesn’t it? Team spirit. Because God knows do you and you the rest of your no mark colleagues need some team spirit to get you through your soul crushing, jump out of the fucking window, day job.
Oh and if wading knee deep through mud laced with animal faeces wasn’t enough, there is always the chance that you might receive the odd electric shock! What fun! Nothing builds your character like a little electric shock. Just ask the lads imprisoned without trial in Guantanamo bay.
And the best thing of all, you can experience all this for around £100! Bargain. Plus included in that fee isn’t just entry into this festival of sadomasochism but also a headband! A headband! God that’ll be funny when you Instagram a picture of yourself in that. Oh and it also includes a pint at the finish. If I wanted to drink a pint of warm piss out of a plastic lager covered in mud I’d join an amateur Rugby team.
I can’t help thinking that our Grandfather’s crawled through muddy fields, flooded tunnels and hedgerows whilst actually getting fucking shot at so we wouldn’t have to. And certainly not for us to pay some Dragon’s Den cunt £100 for the pleasure.
I might be alone in this, but if I want to build some camaraderie with mates or work colleagues I’m quite happy doing it down the pub. I can pay just £4 for my pint there and without getting electrocuted for the pleasure. The worst I might have to wade through is some inch high piss in the men’s.
Perhaps it is the fact we have it so easy that brings about this modern phenomenon of “testing ourselves, mentally and physically.” In this post-modern, post Thatcherite era of instant gratification, technological advancement and confused notions of masculinity, gender and toughness the comfortable middle classes have to replace actual hardship with a manufactured one via an adult version of fun house. Except Pat Sharp and the twins aren’t at the end of it all; a sweaty Alan from IT is. And he wants to know if you’re coming for a smoothie.