When moving into Loughborough, a lot of students find that the first friends they make – whether in their flat, block or halls – remain amongst their closest throughout their time here. That certainly rings true for me (see below for some very baby-faced freshers). Having just started our 4th year, we have finally reunited our first year flat and – despite having a bit more stubble on our faces – it’s very much like we never left!
Back in May, my housemates very kindly bought me a 21st birthday present: a ticket for ‘Tough Mudder‘. At first I was delighted, but I quickly realised that for my birthday ‘treat’ they had paid to watch me suffocate in mud, drown in ice and get electrocuted just for good measure. Thanks guys! When it came to training, unfortunately words spoke louder than actions and we all headed down to London brimming with fear and regret…
Despite being a competitive person, I really enjoyed that Tough Mudder takes all the emphasis away personal achievement and concentrates on collective success. Instead of race times the focus is on supporting your friends, and instead of breaking records the aim is to help strangers when they are stuck. In case you ever do it, I won’t give too much away but you’ll certainly understand what I mean when it comes to the warm up!
The most contentious moment of the day came after we had slid through a drainpipe into a muddy swamp. Due to a degree of overconfidence and a lack of appropriate footwear, I managed to gain far too much momentum running down a muddy slope crowded with innocent Tough Mudderers.
With limbs flying everywhere, I spotted a Luke-sized gap between my three friends and had no option but to fly towards it. As I hurtled through like the Flying Scotsman, one of my friends – Franklin – lost his footing and managed to faceplant in front of a crowd of admiring spectators with camera phones flashing. He claims I clattered into him, but I maintain he dived like Tom Daley. Was there contact? We’ll never know. I’ll leave it for you to decide.
Fortunately, if there is one thing that can resurrect a friendship, it is running through a forest of electric wires together. If I had taken Franklin out in that section, I don’t think he would ever have spoken to me again. But we made it, the four of us crossing the line together in some form of sweaty, muddy, loving embrace that wouldn’t be acceptable anywhere else in the world. Magic.
We’re now all back in Loughborough for another year. For anyone playing in the 5 or 6-a-side leagues, look out for West Harambe FC – the pre-season training sessions have been going well and we’re back to defend our title!