Men’s Health – Survival Of The Fittest 2014

It looks as though this will become a regular annual feature for Paramount Fitness and all those involved with #TeamPF.

As this year we took a team of 30+ members to the Men’s Health – Survival Of The Fittest, Nottingham.

Much like last year, I was keen to push our members outside of their comfort zones and encourage them to realise what they could achieve, if they were willing to take the chance and take action.

Eventually I had a team of 30+ members signed up and committed to the challenge.

The 30+ were made up of a few that had taken part in 2013, but mostly were new faces to this years challenge.

I think after last years success the seed had been planted in many of our members heads to step up to the plate this year.

As always, I wanted to do my best to have the team ready for Race Day. So 12 weeks prior to October 11th 2014, I sent out a full training plan for them all to follow to do just that.

Many of the team went out training in groups whilst some followed the training plan alone.

Regardless, we were all as prepared as we could be come Saturday morning.

Due to the number of us that signed up, and the times of which sign ups were processed, #TeamPF were split across two Waves.

Wave 1 (10am) and Wave 8 (11:45am).

Above: Part of #TeamPF Wave 8 pre-race.

It’s fair to say that in the weeks coming up to Race Day the nerves were building. Questions were being asked – “am I fit enough?”, “will I be ok?” and “will I manage the obstacles?” were just a few of them…

You can understand why these questions were being asked when the majority of #TeamPF had never taken part in an event like this or even thought they were capable of such a challenge.

The team even included individuals coming back from injury, one who had been hospitalised just 6 months earlier and others who had never ran any further than 1 mile before the 12 week training plan.

So you can imagine that there were a fair few nerves and anxious faces on the start line, as we warmed up.

Above: Teamwork before it all started. Polly helping Emily prepare.

Above: Derek getting in the zone pre-race.

Above: Caroline enjoying the banter pre-race.

Opposite to last year, the weather was nice, we had a clear sunny sky and the temperature was around 14 degrees celsius. Which makes a challenge like this a little less painful…

The countdown had started and the klaxon went off…

It was off to the first obstacle, the Hay Stacks!

Above: Wave 1 (and me at the top) tackling the Hay Stacks.

Once you’re over these (which isn’t always a straight forward task), you head along The Embankment beside the famous River Trent.

Time to get yourself into a decent stride and your breathing under control…

Much like last year, you make your way over Trent Bridge and down towards the City Ground, home of Nottingham Forest FC.

As you run past the Stadium you are met with a few hurdles to jump, metal barriers to jump over, a couple of 6ft walls to climb and a set of Monkey Bars to swing through…

Enough to get the heart pumping even more and the whole body nice and warm.

It doesn’t quite matter how you get through, over, around or under these obstacles. Each of us have our own techniques, some more flattering than others!

With the first cluster of obstacles out the way, you then enjoy a 2.5 mile run out to Holme Pierrepont, The National Watersports Centre.

At HPP you were met with an army obstacle course. Grab a sandbag, sling it over your shoulder and pace up and down a 40m track… Drop the sandbag and drop to the floor… It’s time to get muddy as you crawl under the first of many cargo nets.

As you make your way back onto your feet you need to get yourself over a large A-Frame with yet another Cargo Net to assist you – these were going to become your friend over the next 10k.

After you’d made your way ‘up-n-under’ the next obstacle, through thick mud and water under yet another cargo net, you took a quick splash in a water pool before getting back into stride around Holme Pierrepont.

You’re now covered in mud, soaked head to toe and smiling. Such a strange combination!

Above: Rachael & Ann-Marie smiling towards the final hurdle.

As you run over the bridges that loop the Water Rapids you soon have a taste of the River Trent. A quick dip to waist height to get you ‘prepared’ for whats coming… It’s quite cold, if you were wondering!

But it was time for the obstacle that most dread when they sign up for Survival Of The Fittest, Nottingham – The River Trent swim.

Throw your life-jacket on and slide into the River Trent. FULL SUBMERSION!

You hit the water and you swim for your life.

1. To get out the water

2. To get somewhat warm again

3. Because you just don’t know what’s in there!

And don’t make the mistake of trying to put your feet on the surface!

With a new obstacle for 2014 in the way, you must fully submerge once again before you swim your way to the bank and climb out.

Your main aim now, get rid of your life-jacket and get your body temperature back to a tolerable level, so you get back into your stride and head off into the woodland.

With soaking wet feet you’re now facing a daunting task.

Up and down steep hills between the tree’s. Slightly dangerous, especially if you misplace your footing or lose balance at any stage. But I guess that’s half of the challenge at this obstacle.

It’s heavy on the legs, but with your body temperature having been quite low due to the Trent, you enjoy the challenge as it soon gets you warm again.

You soon find yourself in a small pocket park. Here you carry a large traffic cone, a stone block beneath metal railings, a series of traffic barriers to jump and a slippery slide to climb with the help of a rope if you require.

After a short run through a marshy woodland, you find yourself at Lady Bay and another set of obstacles.

Here you found a half pumped up set of inflatables to stumble through, a tight squeeze through some Tyres, a Lorry Trailer to climb in and out of along with a Climbing Wall, a Parkour Section and a set of Parallel Bars..

Regardless of how tired your legs were or how battered and bruised you felt at this point, you knew the end was near as you could see Meadow Lane’s Floodlight and the City Ground over the tip of the tree’s. It’s a much needed motivation at this point.

So back along the gravel pathway towards Nottingham Forest Football Club you go, passing those of later waves who have just started.

Time to test the legs a little more as you run up and down the steps of the Trent End of NFFC. Much like last year, my temptation to run on the pitch was high, but I managed to stick to the route and stayed out of trouble.

A chance to pose for a photo as you pass a event photographer on your final staircase before you up your pace back along The Embankment towards where it all began.

Above: Michelle, Derek & Rachael running the Trent End steps.

One final push as you cross the River Trent over the Suspension Bridge and into the crowds.

As you enter back into the ‘Fan Zone’ you’re greeted with spectators cheering you on. You’re in touching distance of the finish line.

Get yourself over, under and through these and you are on the verge of an amazing achievement.

You climb, wade through water, jump and crawl through another series of obstacles before you pick up a Beer Barrel and pop your head into the Beer Tent, which is where you find yourself just minute later…

But first, a new inverted wall, not the easiest thing to combat when you’re at the end of your energy supply. Many swing, go feet first, get bunked up or manage to pull themselves over. However you do it, you do it.


Above: Team Work at its best. #TeamPF Wave 8 tackling the obstacles one at a time.

And finally… the obstacle you see right at the beginning, but is left to the very end – the 8ft ‘Wall Of Fame’.

As you turn the final corner of the railed off area, it’s there! It’s right in front of you and trust me, having completed this course before, it seemed bigger this year than last.

You know the finish line is the over side of it. You MUST get over it!

Whether you combat it alone and manage to pull yourself or you get a little help from your team-mates or other participants, when you’re up on that wall for a matter of seconds, you feel an immense sense of pride before you drop and stagger across the finish line.

WE ALL SURVIVED. 30+ started, 30+ finished. We have bruises and cuts to show for our efforts and a medal around our neck that will be worn with pride.

Next year I will take 100 members with me to complete Men’s Health Survival Of The Fittest, Nottingham. I hope you will join me!


Above: Enjoying a well deserved alcoholic beverage with the number one fitness family in Nottingham.

Want to hear what some of #TeamPF thought about the challenge? <<<--- WATCH THESE --->>>