It is a truth universally acknowledged that consultants are a competitive bunch – we strive to push ourselves to achieve excellence in our professional lives and, naturally, that drive spills over into our physical endeavours too.
Gate One, it seems, is no different. Already a fairly healthy group with a litany of middle distance events between us, we needed something tougher than your average 10k around Regents Park for our latest team challenge.
Thus, we entered the Rat Race Dirty Weekend – proudly self-titled as the world’s longest obstacle course and making your average Tough Mudder look like a stroll in the countryside. 5,000 competitors slogging it out over thirteen miles and 150 obstacles with picturesque Burghley House in Lincolnshire as the backdrop.
Team preparations were varied – a mix of intense cardio training, hefty upper body work and abstinence from unhealthy food and drink. By the time we arrived at the venue our mixed gender team (ages from early 20s to late 40s) had a range of differing fitness levels and a collective nervousness for the task ahead.
If there was one common theme that each of the team had focused hard on though it was the fundraising for our charity partner SE1 United – a charity founded in 2003 to empower members to create programmes and events that raise their aspirations, promote a positive image of young people and give them a voice which transforms community.
As expected, the race was brutal as we faced all manner of obstacles over a gruelling 6-hour effort. Jumping three meters into frigid water; climbing two-storey high stacks of hay bales; crawling through pitch black tunnels and trudging, wading and sliding through the ubiquitous mud.
By the end of the race our bedraggled team were coated head to toe in mud, most of it by now baked onto our skin and matted into our hair by the brilliant sunshine that had blessed the whole day. There had been dark moments for everyone, but we showed a steely grit and determination – helping each other along the way and supporting one another through the tough times. We started as a team and we finished as a team and were all exhausted by the end.
Post-event pizza and beers had never tasted sweeter and a massive party put on by the festival organisers helped put the icing on a great weekend. The collective power of the team had raised nearly £4,000 for SE1 United. The sense of camaraderie and team bonding the cherry on the top of a fantastic weekend.
As always with consultants, it wasn’t long before we were dissecting the strengths and weaknesses of our performance and musing on how to improve it next year. With a group of intrepid runners keen on tackling the 20 mile / 200 obstacle version next time round, that universal truth seems to ring even truer.
For more information on SE1 United, please visit their website