I normally title my blog posts with song lyrics or quotes, a hangover from my diary-writing youth. Today I’ve taken liberties with a terrific line from The Usual Suspects. Sorry to everyone involved.
About 6 months ago I signed up to take part in the UK Tough Mudder South West event. Back then it seemed quite a long way off, a faintly ridiculous commitment with a few colleagues that could be kept firmly at the back of my mind. I started doing slightly different exercises at the gym, and even went along to a Bootcamp class, but that was that.
Three more sleeps…
It’s very real right now. On Saturday morning, while you good readers are sleeping (or whatever in your own time zones!), I will leave the house at 05.15am to pick up my colleague and drive to the Brecon Beacons in Wales, for an 08.40am start time. Just shy of 12 miles of trails, 500m of elevation to climb, and 18 obstacles await us.
Those zigzags in the top left corner of the map, between Mile 6 & 8, that’s pretty much straight up and straight down a very steep hillside, gaining & falling a couple of hundred metres each time in not very far. The blobs are obstacles, which include mud, very cold water, barbed wire, mud, monkey bars, 12-foot walls, mud, tunnels filled with muddy water, electric shock and mud.
The closer we’ve got to Saturday 21st September 2013, the more this has risen in our ‘watercooler conversations’. One person fell off his bike and hurt his knee quite badly, another strained a calf muscle playing football. Nerves?
Think of the Charity
But we’re doing this for a greater cause, not just for our own masochistic pleasure. Our nominated company charity this year is the National Autistic Society, a choice inspired by another colleague whose young daughter has autism. Our employer, The Real Adventure, will match every pound we raise up to £1,500. So any donations we get have a double whammy feel-good effect.
At the risk of getting worthy, there are countless good reasons to support this cause. Here are just a few…
- Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people in the UK with autism – that’s more than 1 in 100, and virtually double the number of people registered blind or partially sighted. If you include their families, autism touches the lives of 2.7 million people every day.
- Autism doesn’t just affect children. Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism.
- Over 40% of children with autism have been bullied at school. and over 50% of children with autism are not in the kind of school their parents believe would best support them. One in five children with autism has been excluded from school, many more than once.
- Nearly two-thirds of adults with autism in England do not have enough support to meet their needs, and at least one in three adults with autism are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of support.
- Only 15% of adults with autism in the UK are in full-time paid employment.
The NAS works to create a better society for people with autism and their families. These people deserve our support. You can help by donating to our team, to help us around the course and through the mud, at www.justgiving.com/TheRealMudders.
But because I know most of you have no idea what Tough Mudder actually is…
…and the infamous Arctic Enema. Surely this deserves a donation…!
It’s like eating icecream and getting punched in the balls at the same time…