This is a story of bravery in the face of adversity. It’s a story of victory, of triumph, of near-freezing conditions and filthy frolicking. A story of how we beat the bog.
It starts with five brave souls from On Agency, who dragged themselves out of their warm, respective beds far too early on a Saturday morning. On one of the coldest October days in ten years, we gathered in a muddy field at 10am, shivering in our hoodies. There was talk of hypothermia, of shock, of a slide that would fully submerge us in a bone-chilling lake.
The five of us looked at each other and as one, asked the same question: is it too late to go home?
But all around us, the proud flag of the Bogstacle logo and brand we had designed flew free, adorning every stall, changing room and banner. And everywhere the reminder: this was for children around the world without toilets, without sanitation, families facing disease and poverty that put this 5K fun run into stark perspective.
We took our fleeces off, huddled for warmth, and too soon, the whistle was blowing: the race was on.
I won’t divulge every embarrassing, sordid detail of the next five kilometres, but let’s say the pattern was: we were running, and then we weren’t, and then we were running again, and then, well, we weren’t…
Then came ‘soap on a rope’. Imagine a taut rope dangling over a muddy, cold river. Imagine having to wrap your arms and legs around said rope and, dangling upside down, pull yourself across, with the constant dread of falling into the freezing murky depths below…
Needless to say, we all fell in, one by one. Slick with dirt, but too exhilarated to be cold or grumpy about it, we ran onwards. We carried tyres through swamps of mud, we clambered over huge ‘bog barricades’ and slid down ‘the long drop’ – a huge slide that ended with a plunge into fresh lake water.
Add in some monkey bars, one tortured scream or two, a few hysterics and a lot of flailing in boggy land, and that’s our Saturday morning, in a nutshell.
In true On Agency style, we stuck together through the whole thing, pointed and laughed on a few occasions, boosted each other over walls once or twice, and joined hands to run, roaring, as we triumphantly crossed the finish line.
We raised just under £1,000 and despite my dramatic telling, I’ll admit we had a pretty good time, too. Warm clothes and a burger as dirty as our mud-caked bodies had us feeling practically recovered, almost ready to do it all over again (but don’t hold me to that just yet…)
And now, I can proudly say, I BEAT THE BOG. I wear my poo emoji medal with pride. I remember the day when I swung like a gymnast and fell like a fool in the filthiest, funniest obstacle course that I have ever had the privilege of being part of – both in and out of the office!
We didn’t finish first. But we certainly finished filthy.