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Survival Of The Fittest

More than a million people worldwide have challenged themselves to take on what is arguably the world’s toughest endurance race, The Tough Mudder. During the month of May, our Director of Fundraising & Marketing, Gordon Craig, will take on the challenge in aid of the disabled veterans of The Royal Star & Garter Homes, but he won’t be alone.


Gordon’s friend Nick will also be taking the plunge and in anticipation of the big day, we sat down with Gordon and Nick to see how they’re preparing for an event that only two thirds of entrants complete.

Gordon: (Please sponsor me): I thoroughly enjoy new challenges and keeping in shape, but I find it difficult to self-motivate and therefore prefer to have a challenge to aim for. In the past I’ve done a few 10k challenges and triathlons, and with Nick I managed to climb Ben Nevis last year, but I’ve never taken on anything close to this challenge.

In terms of the challenge itself, I’m looking forward to taking it on but getting electrocuted does have me feeling rather nervous, especially as you can’t really train for that part!


As far as my day-to-day training goes, I’m trying to tie it in with my everyday life and therefore, once a week I’m training at the Graft on the Green Boot Camp in Epsom, which aims to be motivating, rather than a chore. I’m also swimming a mile per week, in between my daughter’s ‘Rookie Lifeguard’ lesson and I’m squeezing in a 10-mile cycle to work, which takes me through the beautiful Bushy Park. I must also confess that I bought a couple of dumbbells, in an attempt to give my arms a workout, in between reading emails and meetings.


After signing on the dotted line I wanted to ensure that I chose a good cause to get behind and I didn’t have to look far to find one. The Royal Star & Garter Homes is my charity of choice and one that I have had a close connection with for the last four-and-a-half years. As Director of Fundraising & Marketing, I get to meet the veterans that we care for and I can safely say that each resident I meet has a unique and humbling story. Their generation experienced hardships that we can barely imagine. Just last week, I spoke to Derek Banham, who is a resident of our Solihull Home. He spoke to me in depth about his experiences on HMS Loch Craggie during the Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War. It was a such a poignant moment, especially when he was re-telling the sinking of a German U-Boat.


In terms of my family and what they think of the challenge, well they are supportive but a little nervous, none more so than my mum. I made the mistake of showing her a “Tough Mudder fails” video from YouTube, which needless to say, didn’t alleviate her fears.



Nick (Please sponsor me): I’ve previously taken part in an obstacle course with Gordon, which was my idea and when he came to me with Tough Mudder, I thought that it would be a great way to ‘repay the favour’.


My knowledge of The Royal Star & Garter Homes mainly stems from Gordon as he works there and I see the passion that he has for the Charity. Two years ago I also ran the Brighton Marathon for the Homes, so when Gordon came to me with the idea and the cause, I was all-in. It’s a very worthwhile cause and I’m more than happy to support them.


For me, the most nerve-wracking parts of the course will be the obstacles that involve deep water and heights, with the water being the biggest fear for me. I’m not a keen swimmer at the best of times.


In regards to preparation, I’ve devised a rigid training schedule with Gordon that we’ll hopefully be able to stick to. We’ve got plenty of runs, cycles and cardio planned, with a focus on upper body strengthening, and if we need any more motivation, then we’ve both signed up for the local Graft on the Green Boot Camp.


My family has been very supportive, mainly due to the fact that I’ll be outside exercising, rather than indoors boring them with talk of comic books and superheroes. Hopefully by the end of the challenge, they’ll see me as their own superhero.


If you would like to join Gordon and Nick, then please visit our Tough Mudder webpage for more information.