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The Tough Bloke Challenge

Sweat, mud, grazes, bruises, blood and tears – That’s exactly what the team at InsideOut PR endured on a cold winter’s day.

The 1st of July was well and truly anticipated for over a month by my brave work colleagues and I. It was the ‘big day’ or better known as the arrival of the ‘Tough Bloke Challenge’. So, let me give you a run down on the nature of this ‘challenge’.

The Tough Bloke challenge is an event that runs over a period of two days, once a year. It is a 6km obstacle course that tests your strength and endurance – Oh boy did we cop a beating! At first, when I was asked to participate, I thought to myself, ‘how hard can it possibly be to accomplish 18 obstacles in 70 minutes?’ – Let me say, sometimes practice is much harder than theory! Located in Appin, an hour and a half away from Sydney’s CBD, the challenge was officially accepted.

The team at InsideOut PR were booked in for the 1:30pm session and thankfully, just in time for our race, the clouds departed and the sun came out to make an appearance. Although the weather seemed promising, the 15°C breeze became obstacle 19. It felt like a blizzard, but nonetheless, the weather wasn’t going to stop us.

Wearing (very short) running shorts, the official participant Tough Bloke Challenge competition shirt and an attached sensor device on my Nike Free runners, I looked like I could handle the course with my eyes closed. As the other participants gathered around, there was such a great positive energy, little did we know what was about to hit us!

With only three seconds to spare, we were ready to run!

The course seemed very promising at the beginning – A 2km run with only sporadic obstacles and pools of mud to get through. But just as we started to get cocky, the tough section of the challenge came up. The main obstacles began to come closer and closer together, emerging from the dirt track, one by one. The tough terrain of loose rocks, branches and puddles of mud located every few metres on the track made it challenging to grip onto the path.

Each obstacle became more difficult than the last, adding to the concept of ‘lead with no expectations’ – we didn’t know what else to expect!
They say that in some cases, your body automatically strengthens as result of an adrenaline rush and that’s exactly what happened with each of us as we completed every obstacle that was faced.

One highlight of the course was the pool of thick mud, covered with barbwire – Yep, the type of challenge you see commandos and soldiers accomplish in a Hollywood movie! 

Slithering through the mud and avoiding the sharp razored barbwire wasn’t difficult, but as we were making our way through the obstacle, the volunteers were spraying us with cold water and shovelling mud onto our backs – this made it all the more testing! 

As the wet mud started to dry up on our clothes and skin, it felt like we had each gained several kilos, making it much more problematic to progress through the harsh terrain.

Finally, we arrived at ‘Hells Gate’ – The last and most anticipated obstacle at the Tough Bloke Challenge. Located right at the finishing line, there were crowds of hundreds spectating. To put things into perspective, Hells Gate is a rope challenge which forces you to grip on for your life and to pull your way through to the other side of the platform.

With minimal strength remaining, our emergency battery pack immediately kicked in. Rope burns became the last of our concerns, with our legs and arms locked around the thick and rough textured rope – We were officially bruised, grazed and battered. Every pull brought us not only closer to the finishing line, but also motivated us to end with a bang.

It felt so liberating to complete such a difficult challenge. We not only persevered, but we learnt so much more about our strength and our capabilities on a physical and mental level.

We encourage you to get out there and challenge yourself! There’s nothing to lose – if anything, there’s so much more to learn and discover about yourself and your abilities.


Sam Hawli – InsideOut PR xx

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