Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The Tough Guy Competition

Tough Guy claims to be the world's most demanding one day survival ordeal. Certainly, it has cause for that claim.

The original, held in Perton near Wolverhampton, is organised in England by former British Army Officer Billy Wilson, who claims nobody has ever finished the entire course according to his extremely demanding rules. Taking place in mid-winter (at the end of January) and summer (at the end of July), Tough Guy consists of an "eight country mile" run followed by a very muddy, very cold assault course which includes such obstacles as crawling under barbed wire, running over burning bales of hay, swimming in underwater tunnels and crawling through underground pipes.

In January 2006 some 4515 competitors entered, but only 3235 are recorded as having completed the course in times ranging from 1 hour 17 minutes to over four hours. At various points on the course and throughout the day, competitors are encouraged to shout "Yohimbe!". The organizer, Mr Mouse, claimed in a 2007 newsletter that this is a Zulu battle cry meaning "My dick's bigger than yours", originating from the use of the bark of the Yohimbe tree as an erectile stimulant.

The Tough Guy event has raised money for the Horse Sanctuary at Mr Mouse Farm for Unfortunates since 1986

Erwin, Hannes and Harald have been our three brave runners. They have done a great job finishing the run under three hours. The conditions have been perfect for the run. Nice weather with sun but not too hot. It was an extreme challenge but successful and without any losses. The run has been documented by the loyal fan crowd: Lydia, Petra and of course me. We have shot many pictures from the race to have every painful obstacle documented.

After this challenge there is only one open question: Where will be the next extreme challenge for our heroes - and will Richard ever join?


Tough Guy, July 2007

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Turkey, a road trip

After Paris and a week in Germany I've decided to go on a short travel again. Turkey is one of the countries I have already been many times. I love the mixture of culture, history, religion and of course the people.

My starting point was Side – Its location is on the southern coast near the villages of Manavgat and Selimiye (75 km from Antalya) in the province of Antalya in Turkey. Side was one of the most important trade centers in its time (6th century BC).

From this great place I've started three trips:

  • City of Manavgat
  • Pamukkale
  • Cappadocia


Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a natural site and attraction in south-western Turkey in the Denizli Province. The ancient city of Hierapolis was built on top of the white "castle". It can be seen from a great distance, eg. when driving down the hills on the opposite side of the valley to the town of Denizli, which is 20 km away. Pamukkale is located in Turkey's Inner Aegean region, in the River Menderes valley, which enjoys a temperate climate over the greater part of the year.

From Side it was a two days trip to Pamukkale including a night in the village of Pamukkale. I've chosen to take an organized tour because of the great price of the package. If you can resist the shopping opportunities on such organized trips it’s really a good deal. On the way back we also visited a remote village to visit a mosque. After that we had 10 minutes time to explore the city. That was time enough for me to get invited to a marriage parte with food and drinks. It was great to experience the hospitality of the village people - without being able to speak English!


I have been in Cappadocia before - It was a travel organized by the government of Turkey and the Austrian Journalist Club. One of the main reasons to come back is the great nature and the great history of this region. First traces of settlements can be dated back to 6500 BC! King Croesus, Alexander the great and early Christian leaders are linked to this area. There is too much to tell about this area so I recommend everyone to get an own impression.

The tour was very professional organized. The guide could answer all kind of questions and gave us a lot of background information. On the way to and back from Cappadocia we have visited the city of Konya - one of the world's oldest cities, with excavations revealing settlement from as early as the 3rd millennium BC. The early Christians Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas preached here.