Thousands brave mud, fire and ice in 'tough guy' race

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The Independent Online

Thousands of competitors, some in superhero fancy dress as Superman and Robocop, flocked to the 'Tough Guy' contest on farmland in Perton, Staffordshire, yesterday to push their bodies to the limit in frosty temperatures.

The eight-mile long assault course features terrifying underwater tunnels, barbed wire fences and fire walks, and sees competitors stretched to their physical boundaries as they clamber over nets, walls and even an electrified fence dubbed 'The Tiger'.

Brave Brits, Aussies, New Zealanders, Chinese and Japanese all took part in the rainy event - which saw its fair share of broken bones and bruised bodies. Among the competitors were serving policemen and military personnel - but some of the more daring wore costumes, including 25 people dressed up as Liquorice Allsorts.

Event organiser Mouser Wilson, said: "We' didn't have much ground space, we had about 7,000 people here and we had to shut the doors to the public because everybody wanted to do it.

"We have had to turn at least a thousand away.

"We had plenty of military with us, many said that this course was harder than the army.

"I had a captain in Afghanistan write to me saying the British Army recognise Tough Guy as the most arduous test of physical and mental endurance.

"They want to send a lot of troops here to try the course before they send them off to Afghanistan.

"There is nothing like this in the world, and that is why people from all over the globe want to come here. "Every year there's something new - we have a zipline this year which takes you down a 1,000 metres very quickly and if you don't let go above the water you'll go straight into the wall. "We had a fair few broken bones. "But people attempt the course as a journey of self discovery, if people break their legs, they don't come whining like many in our blame and claim culture – they ring up and apologise saying 'please let me come back next year'." Mr Wilson added: "We've had more and more children asking to do it, so we're going to hold the first ever kids-only Tough Guy in October." One competitor, Liam Posthewaite, 32, from Bristol, said: "This is the hardest thing I've ever physically done. "Every single inch of you aches afterwards but the sense of achievement is so satisfying that it's worth the pain.

"This is the first time I've done it...but it won't be the last."