A team of brave fundraisers have set themselves the challenge of taking on the epic Tough Guy 2017, a winter obstacle course taking place in Wolverhampton on 29th January in aid of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.
Long-standing Appeal supporter Jason Westmoreland and his colleagues from Oulton Primary school will be taking on the last ever Tough Guy, which has included obstacles like fields of stinging nettles, pits of fire and underwater tunnels and is notorious for being one of the toughest obstacle courses in the world.
The staff and parents at Oulton Primary School are no strangers to a challenge, having entered a 48-strong team for the tenth anniversary of the Leeds 10K in 2016 and raising over £900 for the Appeal. Now, the Tough Guy team are stepping up their game; for many of them, this will be their first time taking on this epic winter event.
For Jason, the school site manager, however, this will be his 26th Tough Guy; he currently holds the record for the most winter Tough Guys and came tenth in the World Championship OCR Races two years ago. Talking about entering with his team for the final year, Jason said: "This year, I have trained hard for six months just for this race. I won the Major Series Obstacle course in October so I know I'm on form.
"There are nine others from Oulton Primary School where I work joining me. For them, it's their first time. Tough Guy is classed as one of the hardest obstacle courses in the world and this year it's the last one!"
One of Jason's team mates who will be running Tough Guy for the first time is year four teacher Kev Scott. Speaking of his reasons for taking on this incredibly tough course, Kev said: "I want to see what I'm capable of. It's far too easy to go home on a night, eat dinner then stick the telly on with a glass of wine but that's not what we're designed to do. We're designed to withstand cold, run, climb and swim. Where better to test ourselves than an event like this? I also want to inspire my boy to take on physical challenges as he grows up."
As part of their training, the team have committed to four training runs a week, in which they cover 7km each time with off road and hill sections. Two more of the team working hard to train for this event are learning mentor Michelle Ritson and lunchtime dinner lady Sharon Robinson. They said: "Over the years Jason, our school site manager, has twisted our arm to do many daft events, but this is going to be the hardest thing we have ever done. Jason has been training us over the last few months and giving us lots of advice. We are looking forward to it in a funny kind of way!"
The money raised from the team's challenge will go towards the work done by the Appeal, which includes supporting children's and cancer charities across the North and Midlands. You can donate to Team Oulton's Just Giving page here. Good luck Team Oulton - the Appeal Team will be supporting you!