On a cold winter’s morning, 10 unwitting people calling themselves the ‘Arcus Animals’ took the unusual challenge of duct taping running shoes to their feet, pinning a number to their chest, and allowing themselves to be herded like cattle through the start line of an event called ‘Tough Guy Tough Girl Challenge’.
This delightful excursion included but was not limited to: running and leaping into large pools of ice cold muddy water, becoming trapped and bogged down in waist deep fragrant mud, sliding uncontrollably down slick muddy hills and banks, multiple near-rolled ankles, skin removal devices (also known as barbed wire crawl-spaces and ankle traps), strategically located obstacles at the top of hills necessary to surmount once already exhausted from said hill-climb, and an unavoidable electrocution on the home stretch.
Of particular concern was the gleeful pleasure the marshals took in placing themselves adjacent to deep invisible holes in the muddy wading streams, roaring with barely concealed delight when punter after punter’s feet came out from under them when they discovered this trap for themselves.
Instead of doing the sensible thing and completing a single 6km lap of this gruelling course, the ‘Arcus Animals’ decided to properly torture themselves and do a second lap. The best way to enhance the effect of blisters is to combine sand, moisture and repeated abrasion. The course supplied all three in equal measure.
Regardless of the relentless physical and mental exhaustion that the team felt, they soldiered on. Many heroic moments were had, suitable for black and white slow motion cinematography, such as Matt the Monster’s selfless battle to rescue the three trapped heroines, Fiona the Fox, Deborah the Dragon and Antonia the Ant from being gobbled up by the evil swamp.
Franswa the Fairy Penguin skipped along the course dusting any wounded parties with magical fairy dust, giving combatants such as Jeremy the Jackal and Paul the Pug the energy they needed to gain a second wind and pass the finish line with a time that left their dignity intact, aside from the cowpat smeared on their face, ears and hair.
The Fairy Penguin was kind enough to have the team over to his lovely riverside castle for a well deserved South African braai and a cold drink afterwards, where the team consoled themselves about the temporary insanity they were inflicted with when they agreed to sign up.
Without wanting to overstay their welcome, the Animals all departed before their cars turned back into pumpkins and raced home to start the week long process of trying to get the mud out of their clothes, shoes and hair.
A big thanks to the Matt the Monster and Kate the Zookeeper for arranging another awesome team event. Great fun was had by all!