Tough Guy: The antidote to health and safety


On Sunday (1st February) I took part in the annual ‘Tough Guy’ challenge in Perton. This is an annual event to separate the men from the boys in terms of mental and physical fitness.

The event consists of a timed assault course covering 21 major obstacles with plenty in between. The obstacles range from crawling through drain pipes (some of which have dead ends), climbing over huge towers, jumping pits of fire, swimming through tunnels (in muddy ice cold water) and crawling under barbed wire through mud and gravel. The event was great fun, but was no mean feat – I couldn’t feel my legs or hands for about half an hour, and couldn’t hold a cup of coffee with spilling the entire contents due to my shivering.

I am amazed that the infamous Health and Safety officials, that purge this country of any fun and excitement we have in our spare time, have not managed to dig their claws into Tough Guy. The reason for this is that every competitor has to sign their own ‘Death Warrant’, declaring that if they are injured (there were a few broken limbs and many more cases of hypothermia this year) or are killed (as happened some years ago) they or their families cannot hold the organisers at all responsible.

This system works superbly, it puts the emphasis of responsibility entirely on the individual, and in return they ensure that they are physically fit to compete. This does not mean that the organisers neglected competitor safety. There was an army of literally hundreds of ambulances, paramedics and fire crews ready to help any injured competitor.

Tough Guy is a perfect example of how people have more fun and act just as safely if the responsibility of their welfare is given directly to the individual. Without Health and Safety rules breathing down our necks, and without organisers being scarred senseless by the threat of lawsuits, we can all have great fun, and raise money for charity in the meantime.