On 7th September the Wingham Wildlife Park Animal Welfare charity fundraising team finished the last of a series of 3 different obstacle runs for the summer period.  All of them were 5 km races and all had a common feature – obstacles!  But these obstacles varied from event to event, with the first 2 being organised by Gung Ho, with each race having 10 giant inflatable obstacles and then the final one being organised by Nuclear Races, with this being a mud course with over 40 obstacles which ranged from climbing walls and tunnels to zip lines and mud pits!  It’s been a varied summer but every person who participated in these events for us, completed everything they set out to.

The Fundraising Team

So I think it makes sense for us to start off by thanking everyone who got involved for giving up their free time to join us on an amazing journey this year:

Jackie – 3 racesWWPAW at Nuclear Race

Markus – 3 races

Laurice – 3 races

Georgia – 2 races

Molly – 2 races

Ian – 1 race

Josh – 1 race

Tony – 1 race

Ayrton – 1 race

Jodie – 1 race

Luke – 1 race

Between the 10 of us we managed to raise a staggering £2,407 to date, and at least some of us are still collecting our final sponsorship money from friends, family and colleagues, so that amount is likely to go well beyond £2,500, which in turn surpasses our £1,500 goal.

WWPAW give £15,000 per year to human population sustainability work in Uganda to benefit wild chimpanzees, and we as a group had always hoped to be able to raise 10% of this total.

Good work guys!

Maidstone Gung Ho 2019

Just to put in to context what we got up, keeping in mind that most of us do very little fitness training throughout the year, here is a copy of the description which went on to our GoFundMe page after the first Gung Ho event in Maidstone.  The London Gung Ho event had the same obstacles and was essentially the same race, with the main difference being that much more of it was on concrete paths (with most of the Maidstone one being grass) and the heat was the real killer for us that day…  By the end of the Crystal Palace we were begging for the rain which we battled in Maidstone:

Gung Ho Maidstone

“The team completed the Gung Ho event in Maidstone, taking just under an hour to tackle the 5 km run which included 10 inflatable obstacles (after a guided warm up which left most of us tired out before we even started the race)… which on that occasion were:

Gung Ho London 2019Start me up – a 6 m high ramp to climb over
Day tripper – 225 square meters of holes to traverse
Danger zone – one to fight through in groups, a real gauntlet
Under pressure – time to climb high and squeeze through tight gaps
Surfing – a high speed long wave to sprint across
Maniac – 6 m high and stacked with obstacles to try and climb around
The wall – a 4 m high almost vertical wall with hand and foot holds which do almost nothing to help. This one needs team work
Rock and roll star – a wave which repeats itself up and down with steep sections, small footholds and gaps to jump across
Final countdown – a very steep 6 m high climb using a rope, a slide down and spiky balls & palms to fight past

As well as battling the obstacles (out of which the wall and rock and roll star were by far the most difficult), for part of the run, the team had to run through ice cold rain made up of rain drops the size of black currants! This made the obstacles more tricky and the ground slippery, but they all made it (with no injuries) nevertheless, and have got a much better idea in their heads of how the next event will go.”

Nuclear Blast Race

The nuclear blast race on the other hand was a completely different kettle of fish!

It was still a 5km run just like the gung ho event but instead of 10 obstacles there were over 40 and instead of there being just grass and tarmac paths between obstacles there were rivers, hills and mud…  LOTS of mud, sometimes almost up to the waist, which at least 2 of us managed to get their shoes stuck in.  This event is as much about team work and purely just finishing the race as it is about how quickly you can do it…  For most people it’s probably predominantly about whether or how you finish!

Obstacles at this one kind of blurred together amongst the mud and the exhaustion but stand out ones from this event included:

Akilla Walls – There’s nothing quite like starting your race with a climb over an 8ft or so high wall.Nuclear Blast Duck n Grouse

Zip Lines – anyone who knows me knows that I can’t stand zip lines.  I think this one starts at about 15ft above a pond, but for me that’s high enough – I’m terrified of heights.

Cloud Eater – a metal frame at about 15ft high or maybe even more with a cargo strap net to climb up.  I couldn’t make it over this one.

Container Crossover – A climb up the side of a shipping container, which I managed but the bunker drop slide on the other side was hell for me.

Back Scratcher – a metal grill was placed just above a pond which you have to go under on your back; mouth just above the water and I went through the really tight end, almost getting my belly stuck!

Blast Wall – A 12ft or so high wooden wall with gaps in to climb over…  I got to the top but couldn’t make the transition and had to climb back down.

Fokker Missle Carry – These imitation missiles only weigh about 15kg but they are solid and awkward making them a fairly painful carry.

Charlotte’s Bog – There are a few similar ones and this is really what its all about!  Mud mud mud!  It’s deep, it’s cold and it stinks, but it’s what make a mud run unique and so much fun!

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There were plenty more obstacles which required climbing, slipping, sliding, balancing and carrying but I couldn’t possibly describe them all – some are so out of this world and creative that they’d be difficult to explain anyway.  Oh, we even had to throw an axe in to a wooden block!  We really did all have a lot of fun with this one and even though we didn’t quite finish as a team, we did finish in smaller groups to help each other out.  With some of the obstacles when you wait too long without moving, covered in mud, wet to the core and in a cross wind you just have to keep moving to stop seizing up.  In the end from the first and last of our 3 groups we finished after between 1 hour and 30 minutes and 1 hour and 1 hour and 44 minutes.

Now we just need to wait and see what we all get up to next year…  I know that at least some of us already thinking ahead and seeing which challenges they might be able to tackle for 2020 including more mud runs, more inflatable stuff and maybe even some more epic walks like I completed a few years ago.  Keep your eyes peeled to see how you can support us next year – It looks like we’re done for the the rest of this year.

About Markus - Curator

Markus is the animal collections curator at Wingham Wildlife Park and has been with the park since 2009. When working with the animals he still spends time in the reptile house which has always been his passion and forte. Outside work his main passion is travelling the world and seeing animals in their natural habitats.