Neha Patil (Editor)

Tough Guy Competition

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Phone  +44 1902 764422
Tough Guy Competition
Address  South Perton Farm, Jenny Walkers Lane, Perton, South Staffordshire WV6 7HB, United Kingdom

Tough Guy claims to be the world's most demanding one-day survival ordeal.


First staged in 1987, the Tough Guy Challenge is held on a 600-acre (2.42 square km) farm in Perton, Staffordshire, near Wolverhampton, England, and is organised by Billy Wilson (using the pseudonym "Mr. Mouse"). It has been widely described as "the toughest race in the world", with up to one-third of the starters failing to finish in a typical year.

After 27 stagings of the winter event, Wilson still claimed nobody had ever finished the course according to his extremely demanding rules. The race, and its summer equivalent, has suffered two fatalities during its history.

Taking place at the end of January, often in freezing winter conditions, the Tough Guy race is staged over a course of over 9 miles (2016 about 15 kilometres). It consists of a cross-country run including many (2016 was nine) 50 metre slalom runs up and down a hill, over 6 feet deep mud and water filled ditches (resembling the Battle of the Somme), log jumps, followed by an assault course. Claimed to be tougher than any other publicly accessible worldwide, featuring over 25 obstacles through, under and over freezing water pools, over fire pits, rope bridges, nets and so on (see detail below). The organizers claim that running the course involves risking barbed wire, cuts, scrapes, burns, dehydration, hypothermia, acrophobia, claustrophobia, electric shocks, sprains, twists, joint dislocation and broken bones.

Although the course is adjusted each year, its features have included a 40-foot (12.2 metres) crawl through flooded underground tunnels, balancing planks across a fire pit, and a half-mile wade through chest-deep muddy water. There are many high timber towers to climb with the Brandenburg gate at 50 feet being the highest. Marshals, dressed as warriors, fire amphibious tank gun blanks and let off exploding flares and smoke bombs over the heads of competitors as they crawl under a 70-metre section of barbed wire. Until 2000, some runners took part in the event carrying heavy wooden crucifixes.

Entry fees start at £75 and increase on fixed dates as one gets nearer to the event, so the later one signs up for the event, the more one pays. Entrants have to be 16 or older. The event regularly attracts fields of up to 5,000 competitors, many from the United States, France, Germany and various countries around the world.

Before taking part, entrants must sign a "death warrant", which acknowledges the many risks and dangers, and which the organizers claim absolves them of any legal liability in the case of injury. First aid is provided by 2 Doctors, Paramedics, Nurses, 60 First Aiders St. John Ambulance.

Deaths and injuries

In 2000, one competitor, Michael Green, from Leicestershire, collapsed midway through the race and later died in hospital, reportedly of a massive heart attack brought on by extreme hypothermia. Green was 44 years old. According to Wilson, this was the first fatality in 15 years.

Other injuries suffered in the event are common. Local newspaper reports suggested that among the competitors in the 2009 event, one suffered a broken neck, another broken pelvis, yet another broken pubic bone while there were a dozen broken or dislocated bones and 600 runners - including the winner - suffered hypothermia.

Nettle Warrior

Nettle Warrior is the summer version of Tough Guy, first staged in 1998, and is normally run at the end of July. Though the course is essentially the same as Tough Guy, there are notable differences. Nettle Warrior involves two laps of an area the organizers have called "The Killing Fields", a log carry and some rafting as part of "The Lake" obstacle.

Billy Wilson

Before he began staging the Tough Guy, Billy Wilson was already known as a high-profile organizer of road running races and a sometimes eccentric participant, most notably for taking part in the first London Marathon in 1981 dressed as a pantomime horse to raise funds for his Tettenhall Horse Sanctuary, which, together with a local homeless hostel, is the principal beneficiary of the Tough Guy event.

A former Grenadier Guards trained soldier in the British Army, Wilson's earliest sporting exploits were as a cyclist, a career that was curtailed after an accident on the Aldersley track.

Wilson was among the pioneers of the running boom in Britain in the 1980s, helping to found the Wolverhampton Road Runners club, of which he became chairman, and from 1982 to 1987 he organized the annual Wolverhampton Marathon and half-marathon.[1]

Road related leg injuries and increasing traffic saw Wilson shift his focus to his off-road events, staged on his own land, which have been extremely successful, raising £170,000 at a typical event.

Tough Guy / Nettle Warrior

The race consists of a cross country run, followed by an obstacle course, also referred to as the "Killing Fields".

Last Man Standing

There is a smaller course for participants of that day's event. It consists of;

  • 15 metre underwater swim
  • Scottish Thistle Hill roll
  • Lassoed Legs Lake Lope
  • Highwire Brandenburg Bootlace Struggle
  • Highwire TG bootlace Blaney Kiss
  • Bite electric wire
  • Media

    In January 2010 CBBC aired the series "My life". On the first episode "Tough Kids" boys aged 11–12 take part in the assault course. Three of the boys are especially determined to tackle the course and they tell their individual story. The film was first aired on BBC1 on 20 February 2010 as part of the "My Life" series and was produced by Indus Films, in conjunction with Film Tank

    On 13 October 2010 Bam's World Domination showcased Bam Margera, Ryan Dunn, and skateboarder Tim O’Connor doing the Competition.


    Tough Guy Competition Wikipedia