Last Saturday morning I participated in a 7km obstacle course called the Spartan Race. Even though I’m reasonably fit and have been training for this event for a few months, there was still alot of fear for me in the lead up to the race – Will I make it? Will I be injured? Will I survive? Will I be strong enough?
Within the first ten minutes I’d completed the first obstacle and I was wet, covered with mud, and already in a world of pain. I was breathing heavily as I pulled myself up a steep hill when I noticed a friend of a friend struggling next to me. We’d met briefly that morning before the race began, and though I couldn’t even remember his name, I did recognise the opportunity of brotherhood. I recognised that I could either try to do this race alone, or we could do it together and support each other through to the end.
Two men who barely knew each other, yet there we were, pushing each other up hills with 20kg sandbags on our backs, pulling each other under barbed wire, helping each other over walls twice our height and through muddy waist-high water. And as we crossed the finish line over an hour and a half later, I was clear of two things: 1. There is nothing like hard-core physical work to get a man connected with his masculine essence; and 2. When men support each other through the challenges of life, great things are possible.