On May 4th, a 10-strong team took on the London West Tough Mudder 2019 in support of young people with Type 1 Diabetes. Overcoming 25-obstacles across a 12-mile route, the boys had to dig deep to get through: when the going got tough, the tough got going.
In particular, the weather proved to be one of the greatest obstacles of the day, despite being forecast for sunny spells.
Coming from Norway to represent Team A4D, David Osborne thought that he had left the arctic conditions behind him. But Henley-upon-thames proved to be a match with biting winds, hailstorms and ice-based obstacles chilling competitors to the bone.
The chill factor: ‘Arctic Enema’
With many of the barriers being water based, the A4D Challengers were soaked through and chilly when they reached the ‘Arctic enema’.
‘Let’s never do that again’Benjamin Norman
A prayer was said by many as they entered the black chute that delivered its occupant into a skip full of iced water. Close to blacking out, the competitors then had to swim underneath a log and out the other side.
From then on, the Tough Mudder felt like a different beast.
The ‘Mudder-Horn’: the chill factor continued
When the A4D Challengers were 20ft off the ground, with numbed hands clinging to rope netting, it was unsurprising there was a collective groan when the hailstorm began.
The ‘Mudder Horn’ was the penultimate obstacle and took inspiration for its name from the Matterhorn in Switzerland due both to its size and triangular shape. But, on this occasion, all fear of heights were replaced with a genuine alarm of developing hypothermia.
To overcome the ‘Mudder horn’, you must haul yourself up a slick, wooden wall and then grab onto a rope netting. It is then a matter of ascending 30 feet to the top before delicately dragging yourself over the summit and descending back down to earth.
All of these actions were made twice as hard due to the cold, and every team member did incredibly well to see it though.
Last but not least: the real shock
The last obstacle – ‘Electric Shock Therapy’ – will undoubtedly live long in the memory of the A4D Challengers.
Any sense that this ‘therapy’ could offer some respite from the challenge quickly dissipated when the team watched Will Martin, who went in first, get jolted clean over a hay bail.
However, the rest followed and bravely charged through the forest of electrified wires. Akin to rolling around in electric fencing, it was a profoundly unpleasant experience.
At this moment the team realised no donor could be disappointed with the lack of commitment shown towards the A4D cause. And, as the A4D Team acknowledged at the picnic afterwards, none of the obstacles were as challenging as developing Type 1 Diabetes in South East Asia.
Type 1 Diabetes: a tough one
If left undiagnosed, or untreated, Type 1 Diabetes is fatal. Still many young people in South East Asia die from this condition every year.
Through providing essential medication and support for free to disadvantaged young people with the condition, A4D is trying to change this.
Making the difference
Since being founded in 2015, A4D has grown to support over 360 young people with the condition across six countries. In the UK, Type 1 Diabetes care is free on the NHS, but it costs A4D £400 to support one child for one year in South East Asia.
Without this support, survival is unlikely.
Given this, Team A4D were aiming to raise enough money to support one child per team member, with the 5-man ‘when boys become men’ contingent setting a £2000 fund-raising target.
However, not only did the boys raise money and awareness, but they also became role models for healthy living.
A4D Challenger, Daniel Roberts
Exercise is a vital aspect of effective Type 1 Diabetes management. Through physical activity, glucose in the blood is used up.
One of the A4D Team, Daniel Roberts has Type 1 Diabetes. Through his efforts at the London West Tough Mudder, not only did Daniel help raise money and awareness for those with Type 1 Diabetes in South East Asia, but he also became a role model for the young people we support.
Only last month, we had young girls we support in Myanmar, inspired by the A4D Cycle Challenge of 2018, teach one another how to ride bikes!
A massive thank you to Seb Kay, whose idea it was to do the Tough Mudder and has been a great supporter of A4D over the last few years.
Also, thanks to Philippa Evans Bevan, who supported the event from its inception and helped organise the picnic afterwards. Philippa was also the photographer for the day!
Finally, a big thank you to all those who took part, both friends of A4D and Ben Norman, Daniel Roberts and David Osborne for whom this was their first A4D Challenge.
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- A4D Home Visit: frontline Type 1 Diabetes care
- Tough Mudder 2019: a shock to the system
- A4D True Grit Challenge 2019: 1,900 miles walked in one day!
- Type 1 Diabetes Family Camp: ‘We taught her how to ride a bicycle.’
- A4D Diabetes Family Camp: Hat Yai, April 2019