So here we go, where do I start! What an event this is. We’ve been saying for quite a while now after various OCR events that we need a new challenge, something that’s going to test us again. Well, Intrepid didn’t fail to deliver. If you want a challenge, here it is! It’s a million times tougher than anything we’ve done before, nothing else comes close to it and I can honestly say that without Ian Thurston I wouldn’t have got through it.
A couple of weeks before the event, the organisers released the location and the start time. When we saw a start time of 4am we thought they must have got it wrong, but they hadn’t! A clever ploy by the organisers, even before the event starts they’re messing with you and testing your mental strength. Very little had been disclosed about what we’d have to do, all we knew was there was an 8 mile obstacle course and ‘The PIT’. Again, this was clever by the organisers, it kept everyone wondering what they were going to be put through, it’s bit of a shame people who take on Intrepid’s future events will know what’s coming and can prepare.
So, we arrived at the event at 3am, in a dark field seemingly in the middle of nowhere. All we could see was a fire, smoke, and the blue lights of an ambulance car. Even with our head torches on walking down to registration you could barely see a thing.
We were led into the PIT, an area surrounded by barbed wire fence, past the bell and a sign saying ‘Ring to quit’, and ordered to turn our head torches off. We would have to keep them turned off for the duration of the event. All we could see was the fire and blue lights of the ambulance, we couldn’t see what was in the pit so had no idea of what we would have to face.
The event started with the ‘Staff’ telling us about the Intrepid Series, and how they were looking for one person, The Lone Wolf. One clever dick piped up claiming he was The Lone Wolf, he soon regretted that. He was called out to the front along with his partner and beasted! We soon found out there was a skip full of cold water in the PIT as these guys were put in it! That was bit of a wake up call for everyone that we were in for a tough day.
The punishment began, we were ordered to do 300 jump squats! I turned to Ian and we both said for each other “he’s messing with us, there’s no way they’re going to make us do that”. How wrong we were, 40 minutes later we were still doing jump squats. People were quitting at a vast rate, you could hear the bell being rung, some people had gone within the first 10 minutes. During the squats, more and more people were being sent to the punishment corner (the skip), for not squatting low enough or not jumping high enough.
After they’d bested us with the jump squats, we then had to run on the spot for half an hour with our arms above our heads. Again, anyone whose arms were too low or legs were not getting high enough were sent to the skip, or to another punishment corner, a berlin wall.
The whole time we were being squirted with cold water from a hose pipe.
This beasting lasted for 2 hours, and was absolutely brutal. We were then told we were going to start the obstacle race, with the first 20 teams back going through to stage 2 of the series in June.
We were so pleased to have got through the besting, and thought that was it. The obstacle course didn’t concern us, we knew we could do that, even though we had to carry a sandbag the whole way round.
As we were approaching the 4 mile point of the course we twigged that it was still too early in the day to be getting near the end of the event, and we could see we were heading back towards the PIT. We could see the people who were already back were being beasted some more. When everyone had completed the 4 miles we were ordered back into the pit, and beasted for another 2 hours. The bell rang many times when people discovered we were going back in.
This second round of punishment was just as tough, if not tougher than the first round. People were tired and cold. One lady came back into the PIT wearing a Spartan dry robe because she was so cold. The Staff saw this and made her get in the skip.
Once they’d decided they had hammered us enough, we were sent round the obstacle course again with our trusty sandbag, this time the first 20 teams back would go through to the next round in June.
Unfortunately we didn’t come in the top 20 teams but unlike many, we finished the course. We never thought we’d finish in the top 20, our goal before we started was to complete the course and not quit, and we were so happy to have achieved that. The sense of achievement was amazing, I’ve never felt like I’ve accomplished so much after an event. There were times throughout the event where I thought I was done, but Ian would always get me back on track.
Although the event is one where only the mentally strong would complete it, and was designed to make people quit, all the staff were superb and really looked after every competitor. The attention they paid to everyone was brilliant, making sure everyone was fit to continue.
This truly was an incredible event, brutal, punishing, pure torture, but the sense of achievement was something else. If anyone wants a challenge, get signed up!
By Jon Thurston