The Battle of Lansdown, by Georgie Crawshaw #UTSCrew

Miles of muddy tracks, steep hills, slippery slopes, icy water, haystack towers, balance beams, underground tunnels and uber high hurdles - UTSaturdays don't come much better than this!

I suppose with a motto like "No guts - No glory" I should have expected nothing less from the UTS Crew. And believe me, there was plenty of both on show at the Battle of Lansdown (or BOL) last weekend.

A brand new 7.5K tough mudder type course, BOL boasts over 20 military style obstacles set amongst the challenging terrain and extreme gradients of an historic English Civil War battleground...phew! Forget pumping iron in the gym - this is a true test of stamina, strength and endurance.

Being a big kid at heart I couldn't wait to sign up to all that running, jumping, sliding, climbing and crawling through sludge and slime. But standing at the start line, alongside an intrepid team of 15 strong UTSers (armed with bright orange headbands, marked with war paint, and proudly sporting our (not for long!) pristine UTS Crew T-shirts) I did wonder what I'd let myself in for...

Our very own UTShooter marked the start with a whistling arrow and as it struck gold the battle got underway. With war cries galore we charged forward to attack everything from '50 Bales of Hay' to 'Bungee Backlash', 'The Canopy Crawl' to 'Lansdown Lido' (not nearly as appealing as it sounds!)

It was (bitterly) cold, it was wet, it was muddy... but it was SO much fun. And as well as all the muck, we had smiles plastered on our faces pretty much the whole way round. In fact, every single photo I've seen of the day is accompanied by a massive grin! From wading through skips full of water (not to mention the head ducking brain freeze), facing my fears at THE wall, squeals of delight on the giant water slide and last (but by no means least) sighs of relief as we crossed the finish line. My hands were frozen and I couldn't feel my fingers by the time we got to the final obstacle, the aptly named Hea-Van, so thank UTS for teamwork! I couldn't have done it without the (multiple) leg-ups and non-stop encouragement from you guys... BOL is ALL about the camaraderie, the banter (and believe me, there was plenty of that), the blood, the sweat - although thankfully there were no tears! There's no I in team....but there's definitely a winner in every UTSer. These boys don't just train athletes - they create legends - and all those boxing, strength and urban assault classes certainly paid off (if I do say so myself!)

Of course, it's physical strength and mental grit that separates the BOL men (and women) from the mice - not your rank in the race results. And much as I don't like to blow my own trumpet, I have to admit I'm a *little* chuffed with my 'gender position' of 9 out of 240....top 10 women - GET IN! Although nothing, I repeat nothing, felt as good as that post-race beer in the bar with my fellow BOL survivors. In hindsight, drinking a pint in soaking wet kit probably wasn't the best 'cool down' ever....but boy did it taste good!

I may have left a chunk of my knee on an obstacle somewhere, I'm covered in cuts and bruises, and it feels a little like I've done a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson. My kit has been round the washing machine twice, my running shoes have been resigned to trainer heaven, and I'm still cleaning mud out of my ears! But I'd do it all again next Saturday in a (very sweaty) heartbeat!

Which leaves me with just one last thing left to say...bring on the "after dark" BOL version this autumn UTS Crew!