Mud, sweat and tears – obstacle course fitness for 2018

It’s January and you feel as though you’re still digesting your Christmas dinner. That’s why you need get some extreme fitness booked into your calendar – and there’s nothing more extreme than these muddy assault courses taking place across the GWR network.


The Muscle Acre
11 February and 15 July
This hilly obstacle course will have you begging for mercy. The idea, according to the Muscle Acre website, is to push yourself to the limit and show true determination. Team work is encouraged, even if you don’t enter as part of a team. And there seems to be quite a lot of pictures of muddy people carrying massive logs up hills, which looks pretty hard-core, if you ask me.


The Nuts Challenge
3/4 March and 1/2 September
Last year, this course won prizes for being the toughest, muddiest and best value event in the Mudstacle Awards, which probably tells you everything you need to know. Registration is now open for the March and September dates, so get your spot booked. Organisers suggest you prime yourself for ‘lots of crawling on your hands and knees and climbing up river banks and cargo netting in the mother of adventure race challenges’.


The Major: Woodland Warfare
14 March
This course, organised by the Royal British Legion takes place in Black Park Country Park. It’s designed for all fitness levels and once you’ve crossed the finishing line, you can take a selfie with the suitably-moustachioed Major himself. Let’s get dirty!

Henley on Thames

Tough Mudder
28 April, 5/6 May
The guys at Tough Mudder have launched their obstacles for 2018, including Kong–Infinity (monkey bars for masochists) and Happy Ending (a massive slide that requires you climb on others to reach the top). It’s tough but it’s fun, guaranteed to leave you full of bravado and a smug sense of achievement. Tough Mudder holds events all around the country, including Bristol, so check the website for your nearest course.


5K Inflatable Run
23 June
The extreme inflatable obstacle course returns to Exeter this summer. It looks particularly fun because it’s basically a series of bouncy castles that you have to tackle like you’re on an ill-advised BBC television programme presented by Richard Hammond.


The Gauntlet Games
21 July
The Gauntlet Games make an appearance at Coedarhydyglyn for the fourth year running. The estate itself, where the obstacle course takes place, appeared on a recent episode of BBC’s Sherlock (perhaps Benedict Cumberbatch found the time to do the Muddy Crawl or the Belly Glide between takes). Bring friends and make a day of it.


Spartan Race
6/7 October
Named after the renownedly-tough inhabitants of a city-state in ancient Greece (myth has it that a mere 300 of these brave warriors defeated an invading army of 300,000), Spartan Race is an obstacle course that requires some heavyweight-weight Grecian resolve to tackle. Organisers guarantee that the course will ‘test your fitness and determination as you run through the epic woodlands that surround the estate grounds’.