The Ultimate Military Obstacle Course
Les Stewart gives us the lowdown on when he and his son Leo took on the might of Born Survivor.
We are team CF MUDDY MINIONS and we chose to do the born survivor challenge to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which is fighting a terrible genetic disease that my son Leo suffers from.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition in which the lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick sticky mucus. There is no known cure for cystic fibrosis and the aim of treatment is to ease symptoms and make the condition easier to live with.
Our team started with one person with an idea to help get fit and help with various health issues – it grew very quickly as people found out what we were going to do and soon increased to a team of eight. We all started training by running around a local park together, and soon after the training began, my son Leo – now nine years old – started to ask if he could come training with us.
Due to the effects of his cystic fibrosis we were worried that this could be hard on him. I decided I would do smaller 2km runs with Leo, which increased to 8km just before the event, stopping for a rest every few mins, to help Leo realise to take it steady and not go all out at the beginning of the race as he would get more tired than children his age without cystic fibrosis. After his third run, Leo asked if he could do the children’s event at the Born Survivor Challenge. We agreed that if he could keep training and healthy he could do it.
During the training we were keeping our eyes on the Born Survivor Facebook page to see what we had let ourselves in for, as we were all very nervous. I commented on one of Born Survivors posts on Facebook and included a photo of us training and commented about us all training and a little bit about Leo and his story. The very good media people at Born Survivor got in touch asking if Leo would be interested in getting up on the starting podium to do the crowd warm ups, and to start our wave of the race; I asked him and he was made up to do it and said yes straight away!
After 10 weeks of hard training as a team, and doing three 10k runs and training with Leo a week and endless other training it was the eve of the big day. We were all very nervous apart from Leo, who was just excited; I don’t think any of us slept much the night before.
On the morning of the event we all did our warm up routines, I myself felt sick to the stomach but got excited when I saw how excited Leo was and I couldn’t wait to watch him do what he worked so hard to achieve.
We arrived at the event to be greeted by very friendly, efficient staff working at the check-in desks. It was amazing how quick and easy the process was. After checking in we spent half an hour walking around the event village and also meet some lovely people at the CF tent. We then headed to the children’s event. The children’s race was a 2km run with various obstacles and lots of uphill running. After a quick warm up, the kids were off. All of them did really well, crawling under cargo nets, climbing over walls higher than they were. Leo did really well – he remembered all of his training and wasn’t too proud to take a minute to walk and catch his breath when he needed.
When he crossed the finish line he was so happy, he collected his medal and came racing over to us hugging us and jumping up and down with excitement! I have never felt so proud seeing him achieve what he did. We all posed for photos with him, all the time fighting back the tears of pride but also very pumped up for our race – how could I not be after watching my son complete his challenge? We dropped Leo off with a family member and all headed over to the main event as our wave was due to go.
On arrival we took Leo to the MC, who gave him his very own Born Survivor t-shirt. As he got up on stage, we were standing in the warm up cage watching him do the warm up for the crowd. It was hard for me to join in watching my boy in front of me looking like a young man, it made me very proud. Before I knew it, he was counting us down 3, 2, 1 and were off!
The course started with a nice steady uphill jog and a few very easy obstacles and a quick dip through an icy cold stream. The obstacles came thick and fast getting gradually harder as we progressed. The fire trench was the first of the bigger challenges, a dip and icy cold muddy water where you had to pull yourself under a cage. I personally hated this obstacle, I would have liked a few inches less water but it’s supposed to be a challenge!
On we went getting more tired, then we came the BLITZ, a massive half pipe that you need to run up. This we all loved, the adrenaline pumping as all our team members slowly one by one made it over the top and the celebrations, the togetherness, the feeling was unbeatable it felt awesome.
After a few minutes we continued to fly through obstacles until we hit the walls. We climbed these by working together, two of us lifting everyone up until the last two. Being the best climber I lifted the last person over and climbed over by myself, all my teammates stood cheering me on, it was a great feeling, this is what Born Survivor is about, all working together to make things as easy as possible.
We continued on for the last few obstacles, the Bear Crawl, and the Killer Carry. The 39 steps were the next thing which was punishing, 39 waist-high steps going uphill all the way. As we grinned though it all, feeling tired and exhausted a bit, until we jogged round the corner and saw Leo, the pride of our lives stood there with a huge smile on his face. We all waved and picked up the pace as he cheered us on up to the Grenade Killer Bars the last obstacle.
These were monkey bars hanging over a huge bath of icy water. We all gave these a good try, unfortunately we all failed to make it across and took a dunk in the icy drink! We all climbed out to be greeted by friendly staff who gave us a goody bag containing T shirt and various snacks. A quick pose for a team photo with the team by a photographer and we had finished.
The feeling was hard to describe: we were exhausted and aching from head to toe, but glowing with pride!
I will be forever thankful to every member of team MUDDY MINIONS for sharing the journey with me, it made me so proud that they all gave up their time to help us raise money for such a great cause. Leo and the team will be back again!
The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is a wonderful organisation that helps us in the fight against cystic fibrosis. They are our comrades in battle. They give up their time to raise awareness about the cystic fibrosis campaign for funding to carry out state-of-the-art research and are always available to offer support to both sufferers of the disease and their carers. It would be hard to imagine the fight we are in without the Cystic Fibrosis Trust being there with us every step of the way. When Leo was first diagnosed at 10 days old they told us the average life expectancy for a CF sufferer was 17 and today it is 40, this would not be possible without the incredible work and research the Trust do.