A DOUGLAS firefighter has raised £1,250 for the island’s hyperbaric chamber after completing an event billed as the toughest race in the world.
Matt Tyrer, aged 28, battled freezing conditions bare-chested and suffered multiple electric shocks to finish the UK Tough Guy event, in South Staffordshire 631st out of 3,702 finishers.
The 15-km course consisted of a cross-country run followed by an assault course known as ‘the killing fields’, featuring 100 obstacles.
On the day, it was so cold that organisers were forced to cut through ice covering the water sections with chainsaws.
The event was also made more difficult with competitors having to run through thick mud – up to three feet deep in places.
Matt, of Grafton Street, Douglas, said: ‘They try to get you wet and cold as early as possible, with us getting submerged in icy water within the first few minutes.
‘The first dunk hit me like a sledgehammer. I came up gasping for air after uncontrollably swallowing a mouthful of water.
‘I was shell-shocked with a tightness squeezing my brain like an extreme ice-cream headache.’
Just when he started to get into a nice rhythm on the run it started hail stoning.
He said: ‘I started to envy the other competitor’s wearing base layers, my body heat was chipped away with every hail stone.’
On the run Matt stopped briefly to help a man who had broken his arm until medics arrived.
And he cut open the top of his head after a fall in the slalom section.
He explained: ‘One of the more intimidating features in ‘the killing fields’ is the “torture chamber”, a long dark wooden shack filled with watery ditches and dangling wooden poles, ready to crack you in the face.
‘In amongst the logs are wires that give off an insane electric shock, for me the toughest part. I managed to badly bruise my coccyx exiting an obstacle followed by being electrocuted multiple times leaving me flat on my back completely dazed.
‘Instantly my gameplan had switched from competing mode to survival. Every time I fought for control, I was knocked back by another dip into cripplingly cold water.’
He said the event saw one competitor being airlifted to hospital with serious injuries, after an electric shock knocked him unconscious, nearly drowning in the ‘torture chamber’.
More than 250 people were treated for hypothermia.
Matt, who has been a full time firefighter with Douglas Green Watch for five years, has competed in a number of gruelling events before, including Tough Mudder, Spartan Race and in some of the winter hill fell running league events in the island.
He trained for the event for more than six months. It involved several gym sessions per week, followed by eight to 10 mile cross country runs.
In an attempt to get used to cold water he also plunged into rivers, streams and the sea.
Matt thanked everyone who has made a donation to the hyperbaric chamber.
It’s not too late to give your support – make a donation at www.justgiving.co.uk/manxtoughguy