Tough Guy – Nettle Warrior, Perton, Wolverhampton

Having covered the Tough Guy competition back in January, as a photographer and not runner, I couldn’t wait to go back and have another crack at it. I managed to achieve two award winning images from my first visit, not sure if I could top that again this time, but I was more than willing to give it ago! The day started off with a drizzle of light rain, just enough to wet the course, but no where near enough to dampen our spirits!


For those of you who haven’t heard of the Tough Guy Challenge, I’d best explain.

The phenomena, which is Tough Guy has now evolved into cult status with mythical legends to a world wide audience. Competitors from every continent come with the intent of finishing the course, some do, but many leave a shivering wreck!


Tough Guy is open to individuals and teams, set in over 150 acres of fertile land at Perton, Wolverhampton. The challenge is the safest, yet most dangerous and physically enduring event in the world. Tough Guy is mentally demanding, fear inducing and visual spectacular.


After the entrants have signed their Death Warrant! The race starts promptly at 11am, but it’s usually around 12noon before they  make it to the Firey Holes. This is a part of the course where the runners have to wade, repeatedly, through waist high water, reported to contain donkey sewage! And then run the gauntlet of flaming hay bails.

True Brit

For the photographer, this has to be the best part of the course, but get there early and pick off small groups of runners. Leave it too long and you’ll miss out.

After the flames have died down and last of the runners have gone through it’s off to Stalag Escape. This part of the course is based on the infamous Stalag 17 Prisoner of War Camp, which consists of a twisted, tangled web of barbed wire strewn across runner’s path. The only way to pass is to lay face down in the mud and belly crawl the 40ft under it to (comparative) safety at the other side.


By 2pm some of the tough guys (and gals) are passing the finish line! Me! I’m totally knackered just taking pictures, let alone running the course. Nonetheless. like most of these competitors, I too, will be back next year!


The next Tough Guy Challenge is scheduled to take place on Sunday 31st January, 2010. Don’t miss it! Full details are available from the Tough Guy web site:


I hope you enjoy the pictures; I’ve posted a few more on my Flickr Account should you wish to see some more.

About admin

John’s involvement with photography has lasted for more than a quarter of a century, although schooled in the use of film John embraced the digital age very early on. He describes himself as a discerning photographer who sees digital imaging as a tool rather than a box of tricks, a photographer whose images are linked by a natural instinct for subject arrangement and attention to detail. His approach to photography is spontaneous – seeking to recapture for the viewer the same mood and atmosphere that drew him to the subject in the first place.
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2 Responses to Tough Guy – Nettle Warrior, Perton, Wolverhampton

  1. Steven says:

    Loving ‘True Brit’. This totally looks like something out of a war film where the hero comes out of the mist. Nice work. I was hoping to catch the next Tough Guy myself having seen your work. I guess i just missed it!! Oh well.. i’ll have to diary it for January now, i guess. Unless Hellrunner is any good?

  2. cherry says:

    These are all excellent photos John, all worthy of exhibition acceptances and awards

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