The extract below is taken from a personal account of Tom Gilroy who participated in this year’s Great Northern Mud Run. Raising the Team, from Garforth with Love, he took part to raise money for Leeds Mind, one of Total Warriors official partner charities for 2019.
Back in 2015, four of my mates and I decided to have a go at Total Warrior. I don’t know what started it or, if we just did it for a craic but we absolutely loved it (apart from the hill climbs, nobody can enjoy that).
Every year after that we tried to resurrect interest but there was always a reason for not doing it. We are at that age where there’s a christening, wedding or kids party every weekend. I’m sure many other 30 somethings can relate. This year, the date fell on an empty weekend. The kids were all partied out, nobody was tying the knot and there was nothing else stood in the way. The planet’s had aligned and it looked as though lady luck had smiled on us. We bit the bullet and the original famous five signed up. The stage was set, we were gonna make them hill climbs our bitch (didn’t quite turn out like that but hey ho). Once we’d talked about it, interest with our other friends started to grow and the numbers started to rise.
Unfortunately, around the same time, a tragedy struck the local community. A beautiful young woman, a mother of two beautiful girls and a caring, compassionate soul was struggling with her mental health. She tragically took her own life. This had a massive effect on the local, close-knit community.
From Garforth with Love
It was then decided that we would run the Total Warrior course for Charity. One of the team suggested running for Leeds Mind, a local mental health charity. Everyone agreed that it was a worthy cause and so we had to think of a team name. From Garforth with love was the name decided. It has a slightly James Bond-esque ring to it but also portrays a sense of love within the local community.
Once word spread about the reason behind doing the Total Warrior, the thing grew legs. People started signing up in droves; we went from one to two people a day to having a dozen signing up on some days. In the end we ended up with a team of ninety-three. A massive achievement which is only going to grow year on year. We had every different type of person running. We had some PT’s, some marathon runners, some overweight and underfit, some like bean poles and some like barrels, some on their late teens and some with a bus pass, some who skip leg day (you know who you are) and some who could’ve run through the climbing walls. Nobody though who could do them bastard hill climbs.
United we Stand
Our fastest runner did it in 1:16 and some were coming in at 3 hours plus, the main thing was though that everyone finished it and the encouragement for those coming in after the first lot had finished was amazing to watch. These people may never have met before this day and because they were part of the team, they were cheering them on like they were kin. I’ve never been so proud of such a bunch of people in my life. The comradery was something to behold.
The course itself was brilliant, apart from the hill climbs. Everyone got stuck in, chin deep in mud, leaping over fire, diving in ice. It had a proper man v the elements feel to it and you become almost primal. There were people running who questioned whether or not they would be able to do it but
When I looked in their eyes on the way around the course, there was a fire burning behind them. A steely determination on some faces the likes of which I’d never seen before. This course was not going to beat any member of this team. And for all the other 92 members of the team, I’m proud to call them team mates, nay brothers and sisters. We’ve been through something which most people will never experience in their lives. And we did it together, for a great cause. A common, uniting factor amongst strangers. Something which will bond the team together for eternity. We did it, and we did it together.
We did and we’ve done a lot of fundraising around the event. We started out with a target of £2000. Thanks to some very generous folk, we’ve upped the target to £12000 and we’re on track to beat that. A substantial sum of money which will help Charli and the team at Leeds Mind make a difference. We’ve also started the team up for next year, to try and get more runners in early. We’re setting up a junior team for the kids and, some would say stupidly, we’ve started a team of runners up to do the Ultra. So, on the recruitment front it looks like we’re on track to beat the ninety-three from this year.
With regards to thanking folk, there are a few people who I’d like to single out. Firstly, Charli from Leeds Mind without whom the team would have been mismatched and not have had some uniting reason or uniform to run in. I’d also like to thank Miranda from Total Warrior without whom we would have had a mare trying to organise this many people into one wave. I’d also like to thank Roddy from The Crusader for allowing us use of the pub and garden for the fundraising day. I’d also like to thank everyone who donated something for the raffles and auctions for the fundraising, without you, the total would be far less. Finally, to all the ninety-three who ran. I thank you all. You should all be proud. Without you, there would have been no team.
So, on that note, we’ve got a year to train to beat our times next year. I’m having them hill climbs I tell ya.