Earlier this year, Progeny entered a team for the Tough Mudder event in Belvoir Castle in Grantham. At the time, May seemed like a very long way away with plenty of time to get in shape, build a team ethos and steel ourselves for the challenge ahead. On Saturday, the day of reckoning arrived as Team Progeny took on the challenge of 20 obstacles over 10 miles with the aim of raising money for some great charities (so far we’ve raised over £2,700). Alex Shaw and Anna Jones give their account of how the team rose to the Tough Mudder challenge.
Alex: “The word that sums up the experience best for me is: teamwork. All 18 of us went into this with the belief that it wasn’t about going for glory or chasing a record-breaking time. What was important to us was that we worked together and looked out for each other. What’s the point of forging ahead on your own if one of your teammates is struggling to get over one of the obstacles, or needs encouragement to support them through a tough patch? And the teamwork extended beyond the boundaries of the Progeny gang. I found myself helping complete strangers to climb over obstacles, pushing them up muddy chutes and pulling them out of tunnels.
“We were a group of mixed ability, age and experience. A number of us were veterans in these type of events, many of us were first-timers. We had all trained at least a bit in preparation but again there was an array of fitness levels with some of the team regular high-intensity exercisers and others more recent converts. The youngest in the team were in their early twenties, some of the oldest were over 50. Our strong team ethic is what brought all these varied skills and abilities together to help us compete as one.
“The race was hard but incredibly rewarding. The most challenging bit for me was what was rather chillingly called the ‘Arctic Enema’ – this involved a plunge into icy water which was every bit as unpleasant as its name suggested! But that’s all part of the fun, it’s not supposed to be easy! The race was physically demanding and the next day (and the day after) my body certainly knew about it, but it was a fantastic and rewarding experience, one that pretty much all of us would do again. We came to compete as a team, raise money for some good causes and to all finish the race, and on that criteria it was very much mission accomplished!”
Anna: “I’ve competed in a few of these multi-obstacle team races before, so I knew what we were all letting ourselves in for. As a team, we didn’t train together but everyone who committed to it, committed to training for it – motivated by the fact that no one wants to let the side down.
“What I love about Tough Mudder is that you simply cannot compete or complete it on your own. It takes collaboration and cooperation – and not just between your own team members. The first obstacle was a wall we had to scale, but when the first members of our team arrived competitors from other teams hoisted us up and over and then we’d do the same for anyone else who needed a helping hand.
“The clue is in the name with Tough Mudder, but there really is plenty of mud to contend with. The mud challenges have always been my favourites because they’re always the most fun. You’ll laugh at someone slipping over in it, and then you’ll walk into a deep ditch yourself and find yourself submerged in the stuff up to your neck. Like Alex, I found the ice bath a pretty intense experience. It left me gasping for breath, out of my depth and the water was so cold I’m sure it scrambled my senses for a while!
“If you stop for too long you can start to seize up, so after the first six miles we agreed between us that we would split into three different-paced groups. The last obstacle before we made it over the finish line was a pyramid that could only be scaled with the support of your own and other teams, which was a fitting end to a race where your bonds with all your fellow competitors are your greatest strength.
“At Progeny we bring together a unique combination of services and disciplines, and the way we worked together to conquer the Tough Mudder challenge reflects how we work as a business. Taking part in challenges like this are very much on my bucket list and in my day job I help our clients to achieve their own bucket lists dreams. We all have different strengths and skills, but we unite in pursuit of the same goal. In the race, that meant getting the team over the finish line. In the office, it means providing our clients with an exceptional service to help them achieve their own aspirations and goals.”
If you would like to support our Tough Mudder fund-raising efforts, please visit our Just Giving page.