May 19th 2016  


We have said it many times (and I’m beginning to regret it) but we love a challenge. Well, most of us do. And it depends on the challenge. And whether it is a challenge. Last year we did the “Pretty Mudders” run in aid of Cancer Research, and it was fun, and a bit muddy, but not much of a challenge. “Couldn’t we try something harder?” asked Resident Marathon Runner No 1?  “Mais Bien Sûr, mon amie” came the reply, “What do you suggest?”  And the suggestion [some time later] was….The Gauntlet Games.  A 5K run with Gladiators trying to prevent you from successfully negotiating the numerous obstacles.  Sounds ideal! Sound the horns! Muster the troops! Set up a Facebook group! Lead on….

Marathon Runner takes up the story.  [Well she would but her report has been redacted to spare blushes.]

“Running the gauntlet

A man dressed as a roman gladiator walks between Kung Fu students

“When do we learn that pattern?” “We don’t.”

In true British style, the sun burned through the clouds only at the end of the Gauntlet Games on Saturday. But then again, shade can be a blessing during a five kilometre obstacle run. Eleven FWC gauntlet runners gathered at Trent Park and weighed up the nearby Gladiatorial opponents whilst waiting for the off.

Warm up! Glads – to your Stations!

FWC Kung Fu students warm up before running the 2016 Gauntlet Games

“Is this how we escape under the wire?”

Yes, there was jumping up and down on the spot and even clasped palm arm-pumping (should’ve seen the sparks fly off Dave and Adam), and bottoms bounced from ground to air behind straight arms during ‘press-ups’. Warm, we scampered past the first set of Gladiators and were off.

Suffering is Optional

Running (and sliding, and plank walking, and bouncing on space hoppers) through grassy meadows and bluebell woods on a May morning is not exactly a hardship, although Kung Fu kept our minds on more serious things. For example none of us would have dared to go back to class and admit to falling from the monkey bars into the water below. None of us did [and nobody has the proof]

Inside a net cage, an FWC Kung Fu students eludes the baton of a gladiator

“So, we meet again – this time you shall not escape so easily” “Er, watch me!”

We also had style choices as to the correct method to exit a bouncy castle, with the Instructors as ever demonstrating for the benefit of their students. “Style Mao, Kala Di Dapa!”

Adam gained kudos from a nearby gladiator for one of his exit rolls, while Dave showed off the-legs-which-hurdled-a-thousand-streams (or one stream five times?)

Further puzzles followed: is the correct style for the “Flume of Doom” penguin or otter? [The Redaction Committee decided that Otter was not an acceptable alternative so all flumes are categorically Penguins.]

(Penguin won hands down. anyway)

After emerging from a foam bath two of the laughing runners continue at the Gauntlet Games

You see! It’s meant to be FUN!

And with the end in sight, is it better to use the foam provided to simply wash down the legs or is full body immersion more appropriate (see illustrations)?

General consensus:

An FWC Kung Fu students exits a bouncy cage during the 2016 Gauntlet Games

An elegant exit.

A Woman Kung Fu student breaks past two gladiators at the finishing line of the 2016 Gauntlet Games

“You shall not stop me!”

It was fun, but not challenging enough for hardened FWC practitioners, and team-work sadly wasn’t required. The Gladiators were occasionally a test of our restraint in not taking a stick off someone and demonstrating how it should be used, but more often simply not Russell Crowe enough (maybe they took the Health & Safety briefing to heart. For the future, we should dispense with the Gladiators and instead tackle some more difficult team-oriented obstacles. Any suggestions?”



Nothing like upping the ante – who’s up for something a smidgen more challenging? And don’t be so smug – it was meant to be FUN! Carry on.

With thanks to Lise Mayer for the photos, apart from the Gauntlet badged ones which are used with kind permission from

And thanks to the Gladiators for being such good sports and giving up their Saturday morning.

Here come the penguins/otters

Two Kung Fu students swinging across a chasm on ropes during the 2016 Gauntlet Games

“Gladiator? What Gladiator? Oh that Gladiator!”

A man Kung Fu student doing the penguin slide at the 2016 Gauntlet Games Instructor Adam Prout doing the penguin slide at the 2016 Gauntlet Games A woman Kung Fu student doing the penguin slide at the 2016 Gauntlet GamesInstructor Dave Courtney-Jones doing the penguin slide at the 2016 Gauntlet Games