Our Head of Design Gary is a bit of a dark horse.

‘Had a good weekend?’ we asked casually when he walked into the office last Monday.

‘Completed the Total Warrior challenge,’ he smiled.

Total Warrior, it turns out, is a 12km extreme race involving mud, fire, ice, more mud, hills, walls and rivers that promises ‘more obstacles-per-kilometre (or pain-for-your-pound!) than any other race’.

The extreme event in Leeds included such obstacles as the Worm Muncher; 50ft length of deep mud to crawl through under barbed wire placed 1ft above the ground, and The Shocker; walking through hundreds of electric wires hanging from above (while wearing wet clothes).

In total, there are 30 punishing obstacles, 10 tonnes of ice and 100 tonnes of mud to navigate through.

For Gary, the most challenging/memorable parts of the course were plunging into and crossing the murky rivers – “ice cold water up to your neck” and scaling a slippery 15ft wall with just a rope to cling to. And let’s not forget the Human BBQ – jumping over 2ft flames from burning logs into a cold, muddy pool.

Superfit Gary took on the June challenge for a team building exercise with 17 other members of X Martial Arts School in York, where he’s a black belt.

He prepared for the gruelling event with an extra hour’s training per week, including kick-boxing and self defence.

We love the photos – particularly the one with the Hong Kong Phooey-style kick while jumping over the burning logs.

“All 18 of us completed the course and we worked really well as a team,” said Gary. “We helped each other to scale the high walls, kept each other motivated in the water and waited to make sure no one was left behind at any stage.

“We finished in about two and a half hours – with no injuries. It was a fantastic experience, great fun and I’d definitely do it again.”

If Gary says it was a good experience, we’re not going to argue with him.

Like we said, he’s a black belt.

We pity his poor washing machine, though.


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