DJS Research complete Tough Mudder course to raise money for Mind

14th September 2017 14:39

DJS Research complete Tough Mudder course to raise money for MIND

Written by our Research Director, James Hinde. 

The start 

DJS Research complete Tough Mudder course to raise money for Mind

As we wound our way down the grassy slope towards the colours and rhythmic beats of the Tough Mudder village, we came across a slow-moving figure, which we thought must be a man – possibly an earlier competitor. Festooned in dark brown crusted filth, the only signs of humanity were crimson beaded eyes, full of exhaustion and horrors that could never be unseen. The heavens had opened that morning, drenching the earth - the course we were to take on was set to be the worse it had ever been.

The Tough Mudder challenge is a legendary 10 plus mile course through mud and inconceivable obstacles. Some of the lucky (!) 13 included Danny, our MD and Kelly, a Senior Research Executive and our leader that day. Steve, from Data, took up the side for Operations and there were other researchers from across DJS - but we were very far from the office now.

We dressed proudly in our bright and as yet unworn DJS tops. They led us into a starting area, where we stood like sacrificial tributes from some dark sci fi film. Then wound into a frenzy by loud music, light sexual banter and games from our hosts, we were let loose on to the course down through what seemed to be quite a pleasant glade, as the sun came out and we chatted, it felt like it was all going to be fine. At least for now.

Early challenges

DJS Research complete Tough Mudder course to raise money for Mind

There were some initial obstacles, hay bales to climb, that kind of thing. In the “fun” wheelbarrow challenge my arms gave out and I ended up being unfortunately thrust along by Danny, head first through the mud like some sort of early human plough. We had begun to get quite muddy. 

Then we came across the Block Ness Monster - a stretch of deep brown water with huge revolving blocks in our path and when we tried to climb them, they just rolled backwards. But by working together with those on the other side, we found a way as one side pulled the other over and we were soon out and on our way, glorious in our first victory, high fives on all sides.

The Arctic “Enema” was a drop into water kept just above frozen through regular deposits of ice, then a further dip and under to get past and out. We went straight in. But, oh the shock! It went right through and to your head, like an awful ice cream head rush. We got through, but Julie, with a previous experience of hypothermia, held back, then she took the plunge and staggered out a little disturbed, but she did it.

More mud, slipping and sliding and further obstacles, as we crawled under barbed wire and through dark holes. We turned a corner to be faced with a nine-foot wall and at this stage I thought we were done. We paused at the nutrition tent where they handed out small pieces of food that DJS Research complete Tough Mudder course to raise money for Mindlooked like small rocks and mud, but that we gobbled down like dogs glad of a treat.

First over the wall were the girls, hoisted unceremoniously by two men. Light as feathers and graceful as birds they got to the top and dropped down to the other side. Then the first set of men got up, legs akimbo on the wooden wall ready to help the next up, all fear of their manhood abandoned for the greater cause. The last to go, Alex, Seb and Ryan, had little help from below and had to use their height and strength to get up in any way they could. Like glorious preternatural beasts, they rose up that wall and we were off… to another bloody wall - but we nailed that one too. Ha!

Starting to get tired

DJS Research complete Tough Mudder course for Mind

As we crossed a sewer, we saw other competitors further in the course crawling underneath and dropping into horrible pebble dash mud. This led us up a long hill draped in knee deep sticky mud and a tough climb, pulling feet out of the mud with every step. A further section had us wading up a steep slope, then sliding down the mud on our bums, then back up, several times. Our legs were starting to feel it now. “No whining” rang the Tough Mudder motto! 

Pyramid Scheme was next, a long slippy board at a 45 degree angle impossible to walk or run up. Seb, always there for the team, lay sacrificially on the steep, slippy board and I lay next to him, further up Liam stood on our shoulders/neck and climbed to the top, where each of the team was winched up one by one. Others caught a ride with us and we were happy to help.

Steve had become a fan of mud during this course. He always tried to find the deepest parts, ever curious. So, on facing a lengthy stretch of the deepest mud, with hubris he flung himself right into it. Stuck fast to his waist, it was all he could do to stop from sinking further and he saw his life flash before him. Oh, how we laughed and Becca filmed. He made it out in the end after some struggle, but had learned a valuable lesson.

Then off for a nice run in the forest, but still coated in mud. The sun dappled through the tall pine trees and glistened on the surnames of my team emblazoned on their shirts – McCluckie, Easdown, Neild, Bennett, Higgins, Williams, Sims, Ellison, Searle, Smith, Pilling and Vonslow.


Onwards to the endDJS Research complete Tough Mudder course to raise money for Mind

Funky Monkey, one of the later obstacles and certainly the most challenging, consisted of numerous slippy monkey bars that go up, followed by various wheeled contraptions to get you to the other side. This is where the men hoped to prove themselves, with less than 1 in 50 competitors managing it. But each fell into the water in turn, although Danny had a good go to be fair. 

Then came Kelly, a young girl in her 20s, just married. Rung by rung she climbed up and one of the staff told us that no girl had completed the challenge that day. She got right to the top and we urged her on, but she just couldn’t reach the next wheel. She had still got further than any of the other thousands of girls that day.

DJS Research complete Tough Mudder course to raise money for Mind


We were all tired now weighed down by mud, but staggered on through the next challenges ticking off the remaining miles. The end started to come into sight and we dreamed of cider and headbands and food and solid ground. But last up was Electro Shock, a wall of electric wires challenging you to run through - the one everyone feared.

Seb just ran through, knocked from side to side by shocks, but still upright at the end. So, I took the plunge and was knocked to the muddy floor by a shock. As I got up I was shocked again and an idiot commentator laughed and made fun of my misery. Then I saw Christian who lay on my left, looking dazed. We crawled out together to safety.


We did it!

We completed the challenge as a team and raised over £1,500 for Mind. We stood proudly for our finish photo, tired and muddy faces full of smiles, not just colleagues any more, but people. Tired people, bruised people, sore people, but brave people, kind people, proud people and the most beautiful TOUGH MUDDER people you ever will see. To access a video of the event, click on the team photo below! 

           DJS Research complete Tough Mudder course to raise money for Mind

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