The prospect of getting down and dirty doesn't faze Mt Cook student Lucy Townend, who will join 800 others to wade through swamp and slither under barbed wire in a unique running event this weekend.
The Bürgen Tough Guy and Gal Challenge is an off-road running event that originated in Rotorua in 2003, where it saw 432 competitors plunge into the mire.
In 2012, entry numbers have doubled and seven events will take place across the north island.
To celebrate its tenth anniversary, the Tough Guy arrives at Wellington for the first time, to be held on Saturday at the 240-hectare Wainui Boys' Brigade Camp in Wainuiomata.
Participants can choose a 6km (one lap) or 12km (two-lap) circuit which leads them through swamp crossings, hill climbs, native bush trails and a number of man-made and natural obstacles.
A Hockey player for Victoria Premier I Women's, Ms Townend first participated in the Tough Guy and Gal Challenge in 2007 in Rotorua when she was in high school, then again in her hometown Palmerston North last year.
"I just thought I'd do it for a challenge and fell in love with it," she said.
"It's the perfect opportunity to mix mud with exercise."
She said there has always been a great atmosphere at the events she had done previously.
"People you meet on the course are all really helpful and encouraging."
Ms Townend said this year she planned to do the 6km circuit with her partner and have fun.
"Every year I see groups doing it and couples doing it and having a ball, so instead of getting out there and racing it as I'd normally do, I'm doing it with him."
She said it was a good opportunity to get out and see more of the region, having moved to Wellington six months ago.
Ever the dedicated sportswoman, Ms Townend said she settled for the 6km distance because she has a game in the afternoon.
"I need to keep my legs intact for hockey in the afternoon; we've got a big match.
"It was a selling point to get my boyfriend involved as well. The longer one would have just put him off.
"Maybe we'll build up for that one next year."
She said the event was definitely not restricted to fit and competitive types, she knew a group of friends who did it to celebrate reaching a weight loss goal.
"It's so much fun, people should just do it."
Participants would be wise not to wear clothing they are too fond of.
"I lost a shoe one year," she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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