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How Team Chariot started

Winter, January 2014

30 minutes into training. All each of them could hear was their hearts pounding in their ears. Breathing was becoming a problem, they never felt like this before. Was this normal? Can they stop now? Is anyone else going to stop first? Please someone stop now! It was winter, frosty yet damp. The ground was hard, the air was freezing, but their body temperature was through the roof.

15 minutes later the sessions ended. Despite feeling nearly dead, sweat dripping in their eyes, the team slowed to a fast-paced walk. The van, marking the finish line, never looked so good. The relief of the circuit finishing was emotional beyond belief. But instead of feeling negative all of them were buzzing! Yes, their bodies were shaking but not with exhaustion. This was elation. They felt alive. Hands of understanding reached out to each other with a pat on the back. In between the pants of hot breath came the words ‘well done mate’, ‘yeah, you too’. The training session was only 45 minutes long, and only covered 1.5 miles, but it felt like they’d gone much further and survived.

These were not athletic people. They were office workers, tradesmen, college & uni students. However, they all had a common purpose. All had the same commitment and goal. All had the same target.

This was the start of Team Chariot.

February 2014 – first mud race/OCR

The first challenge Team Chariot entered was in February 2014. A 10km mud race (or OCR) called ‘Chase the yeti’. It was held on barren farmer fields in Leicestershire, but included the added mix of chest high pits of freezing muddy water, walls of joined tyres, cargo nets, stacked hay bales, uneven tracks and of course 10km (6 miles) of running. One of our team lost his shoe in the first muddy pit, thankfully he found it again, put it back on and continued. Despite brief training on cold outdoor events, plunging into icy muddy water took your breath away, then came ‘brain freeze’. Closing your mouth immediately after this dramatic temperature change proved useful. Failure would result in a mouth full of muddy chocolate coloured sludge. Hypothermia was a strong possibility. Two of the team took the wrong turn on route, but still finished.

The dazed freezing bedraggled group hobbled and limped over the finish line one by one. Again, that same buzz and excitement filled the air. Back to the crewcab van for eats, hot drinks, and a change of clothes. Laughter ripped through the air as shoelaces couldn’t be undone, frozen on shoes. A touch of hypothermia meant that hands wouldn’t keep still – they shook too much.

Despite being in the cold echoey crewcab, shivering uncontrollably, they shakily asked a question … “Pete, what can we do next? Organise something else for us!”. This band of shivering muddy rats loved how they felt alive and wanted another adventure. I began planning.

6 years later, Team Chariot is still competing in challenges but the emphasis has changed from just having fun. Now it also encourages charities and organisations – plus passes on a message of hope.