Alexander loves tough challenges
Some say he must have a death wishLAUREN PRIESTLEY
People tell Alexander Ive he must have a death wish.
He has signed up for a 20-kilometre race where competitors hurl themselves through dangling wires carrying 10,000 volts of electricity, dive through skips of icy water and crawl in mud under barbed wire.
It's not something he's taking lightly.
The CBD resident was in a near-fatal crash in 2006 after falling asleep at the wheel in a car without airbags.
He was in a coma for four days with severe head injuries, a broken knee and fractures to his pelvis and eye socket. He came out of hospital six weeks later on his 20th birthday.
Doctors said he was lucky to survive let alone make an almost total recovery, he says.
The accident meant he was extra careful with himself for years.
"It was certainly a life-changing moment. A blow on the head like that - you get one chance of pulling through if you're lucky.
"For a long time I didn't want to endanger myself at all. I kept myself quite wrapped up."
But Mr Ive has decided to take part in the first New Zealand Tough Mudder event at Hampton Downs in April.
He did his first one in Britain last year after realising he was becoming increasingly unfit. He joined a boot camp and threw himself into it, despite the fact the first session was held in the snow. He lost 25 kilograms in the process.
"I realised I weighed 95kg and thought ‘I need to do something about this'.
"It really motivated me to train because the idea of it is so daunting."
Mr Ive says the ice dive is the hardest part of the extreme race. It makes the entire body feel numb and forces the air out of your lungs.
The second biggest challenge is crawling through inches of water while getting electric shocks from dangling live wires, he says.
"Nothing can really prepare you for what it will actually feel like. You gear yourself up and think ‘It can't be that bad'.
"The worst thing about this one is that I know how it feels - and I'm still doing it again."
The camaraderie is one of the strongest drawcards of the event.
One obstacle is a slippery half-pipe that competitors can only get to the top of if someone else throws out their hand.
Working as a team is more important than finishing first, he says.
Crossing the finish line of Tough Mudder in Britain left him on the biggest high of his life.
"I have never felt more alive or more dead in my entire life.
"You literally can't get through it by yourself."
Tough Mudder Australasia managing director Drew Ward says the event pushes competitors to the limit.
The competition has attracted more than a million participants across three continents, Mr Ward says.
Go to toughmudder.com for more information.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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