What inspired you to develop The Gauntlet Games?
I created the Gauntlet Games as I felt that many obstacle races can be intimidating for those who have never taken part in one before – and particularly to women. I am really passionate about fitness and the outdoors, and I want to share this with as many people as possible. I think that everyone, regardless of their ability, can find an activity that they genuinely enjoy, making fitness a fun and sociable experience.
So I wanted to create an experience that was a bit like a playground for adults – our obstacles include a giant slippery slide, a huge ball pool, foam pits, mud and inflatables. All the obstacles also involve getting past a real Gladiator in some form – whether through dodging the paint guns, barging past an inflatable pugil stick or sliding through foam!
What’s your favourite Gauntlet Games obstacle and why?
It has to be our giant slide – it is impossible not to have fun on this! We had such amazing feedback about it at our inaugural Games in September 2014 that we have decided to double its length – so 2015 will see all Gauntlet Games with a 50m long, foamy, slippery slide – complete with a Gladiator armed with foamy water, of course!
What’s the toughest thing about organising a race?
I genuinely enjoy all aspects of organising a race! But if I had to pick something, I would probably say that the time when the race is over can be challenging. Event day is incredibly hard work and both physically and mentally demanding. The feeling after a race is unbeatable – seeing your creation come to life and seeing so many happy runners. But those final few hours of clearing and cleaning up, returning to base, packing, unpacking and organising, when your body is physically exhausted, can be tough.
How did you go about setting up The Gauntlet Games, did you have any help?
I was lucky enough to already have five years under my belt of running obstacle races, so I already had a great network of contacts who I was able to discuss my ideas with. It took me about a year to get the concept of the event, during which time I ran focus groups, and thoroughly researched the market. It was while I was having a casual drink with a friend one evening that we struck on the Gladiator theme, and once I had this, everything else fell into place.
When did you notice the success of the games?
My target for the first Games, in September 2014, was 300 people, and even this was looking like a difficult number to hit as we were only able to launch the event 2 ½ months in advance. However, we managed to sell 500 tickets, which was fantastic. People really bought into the idea and loved the concept. The feedback that I received from the runners was just fantastic, so I knew we had a great product that we could develop and run with in 2015.
What is the best thing about your job?
The buzz on event day is unbeatable. I absolutely love watching all our participants arriving with nervous faces, then see these faces break out into grins and giggles as they make their way around the course. I love seeing people experience the sense of achievement of completing a physical challenge they never thought possible. Event day is absolutely exhausting but seeing our runners complete the challenge makes it all worthwhile.
How do you like to stay in shape?
I’m always keeping a close eye on the fitness industry and trying the latest activity. At the moment I keep fit with a combination of off-road running, Pilates, HIIT sessions, cycling and swimming. I’ve also set myself the challenge of completing my first half-Ironman within the next year.
What’s next for you?
I have lots of plans for Gladiator Events – the Company I set up that is behind the Gauntlet Games. So as well as working hard on growing and developing The Gauntlet Games over the next few years, I am also focusing on other sides of the business. We put together bespoke fundraising challenges for charities and Corporate Organisations and we already have several fundraising challenges taking place this year. I’m looking forward to expanding this side of the Business too. I’m also planning my wedding for September this year, so it’s going to be non-stop for me!