‘Best one yet’ and ‘so glad I did it’’ were just a couple of the refrains heard from the hundreds of finishers completing The Hospice of St Francis Mud Pack Challenge III on a crisp, autumnal morning at Ashridge House on Sunday 23 October.
Over 750 people took to the course having committed to get muddy and tackle a variety of challenging obstacles including filthy swamps, slippery slides and skips full of cold, muddy, water dotted around the stunning gardens of Ashridge House, all to fund local Hospice care. Their collective effort is set to raise over £100,000.
Many of the competitors were there just for the fun of it and to support the Hospice, but a significant number took the Mud Pack Challenge to specifically thank the charity for the care friends or relatives had received at the Hospice. Aunt and nephew, Hashmeera Patel and Kapish Pattni, completed the course in memory of dad and granddad Ramnik from Hemel Hempstead, raising over £450.
Hashmeera, said, “The course was tough but good. I’ve never done anything like this before – I even cried on top of the slide – but I got down it! We’ll definitely do the event again, hopefully with more friends and family to show our support for the care the Hospice team gave dad - which was amazing.”
Also participating was Roger's Dodgers consisting of Jack Doodson with team mates Dan Turbutt & Holly Worthington who took part in memory of Jack's dad, who was cared for at the Hospice.
"It was wicked!" said Jack. "The first chance we had to get in the mud and we were in! When I saw the stunt tower across the field, I was petrified! All I could see were people jumping from a great height but I couldn't see what they were landing on. It was a bit of a relief when I saw it was a big air-filled mattress and I'd have a soft landing! We had so much fun, the atmosphere was great and the best thing is that between us, we've raised over £1,500 for the Hospice to help people like my dad when it matters most."
Many participants came back for the second of third year running, including Diane Watson part of the five-strong Vino Vixens team, who said, "We've done it since year one but this year was definitely the best year yet!” Meanwhile, salon owner Charlotte Johnson from Berkhamsted hairdressers, Team Annexx commented, "It was brilliant; a fantastic challenge! It was even more fun than last year - we especially loved the stunt tower at the end and the water tunnel. As we were going round, we decided we're definitely doing it yet again next year.”
Fran Martin, Events Manager concluded, “I want to say a big, big, thank you to all of our Mud Packers who were happy to forgo their Sunday morning lie-ins to crawl through mud to help us fund our care. We rely on the generosity and kindness of our local community to build our Mud Pack course including the support of over 100 volunteers and marshals, RAF Halton recruits and Navy Reserves, plus the free service and manpower from our hosts Ashridge House, Framework scaffolding, Icknield Farm and NFU, Blains Tyres, Bishops Skips and Mark Gent for their water bowsers. We’re so grateful for everyone’s support - role on the Mud Pack IV!”
The next Hospice-organised event, which is open to all the family, is the annual Santa Dash taking place on Sunday 11 December at Riverside Hemel Hempstead. Find our more details at www.stfrancis.org.uk/santadash.