“I’ll totally understand if you want to bail” came the text from choir friend Kate. “No” I wrote back, “I said I’ll come and I will – no matter about the three hours sleep, I’m up now!”
The event for which I could not resist supporting my singing chum was the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest at Wembley – apparently the world’s ‘biggest urban obstacle course race’. Three wicking outfitted gals and me headed to a venue where if memory serves I last visited for a Madonna gig.
This was somewhat different. A biting wind greeted us as we left the station and tried to find the start line. Pumping music led us to it.
Keith – a feisty sounding scotsman – yelled on the mike to a male participant: “WHAT WORD IS GOING TO GET YOU THROUGH THE DARK TIMES AHEAD TODAY MATE? AND, TRUST ME THERE WILL BE LOTS OF THEM!!”
“WOMEN!” his interviewee yelled back with equal force.
The men may well have outnumbered the women participants but enthusiasm for the challenge ahead was equal. Red shirts multiplied around me as the intensity increased at the warm up mark. Keith was on point, revving up a buoyant crowd: “REMEMBER GUYS DON’T FOLLOW THE PERSON IN FRONT OF YOU – THEY MAY BE GOING THE WRONG WAY! IT’S TRUE OF ‘I’M A SURVIVOR’ AND IT’S TRUE OF LIFE, FOLKS!”
Each ‘wave’ of starters were warmed up before the barrier was raised on this not for the faint hearted challenge. Hands raised in the air, squats, high fives, running on the spot, It was all happening. The starter pistol sounded at 11.15 and Wave 10 – my wave were off.
I went to find a coffee and check out some of the obstacles: Hay bales, jumps, walls to climb, things to crawl though, large bricks to push, a travelator, barrels to hang off, and water – more often than not to be avoided.
I felt my particular spectator challenge was as complete as it could be with blocks of ice for feet and headed home.
“We all smashed it!” Kate told me triumphantly over the phone a few hours later. “But, I have to say the only way we could have done it was by being helped, and helping others: We relied upon the kindness of strangers.”