Much like the Glastonbury Festival, the Kilworth Challenge just seems so right in muddy conditions.
This year’s Kilworth Challenge on Sunday and bank holiday Monday, saw mud, sweat and tears as 34 teams battled the elements over sodden fields surrounding North Kilworth Sportsfield.
Their efforts also raised more than £53,000 for disabled and disadvantaged children.
The total amount declared was £53,073 but when the generous donation from Kilworth House Hotel & Theatre has been included, and further enhanced by Gift Aid contributions, it will rise to more than £60,000.
It is about 10 per cent higher than last year and takes the cumulative total raised over the 24 years of the event to more than £1.1million.
This year teams came from across the country but the district ones took most of the spoils.
Overall winners were Keeping up with Joneses comprising Steve Barker, Alex Jones, Peter Jones and Chris O’Neill.
Steve lives in Harborough and his team-mates all have strong family ties with North Kilworth.
For each of the Jones brothers, it was their second time as champions and follows in the footsteps of their father, who is a former winner.
Runners-up were Don’t Look Back with Tony Brown, Keith Richmond, Simon Johnson and Alex Heathcote, all from Leicestershire. Third were The Go Go Squad, another district team comprising Nick Coles, Edward Chilton, Brodie Faint and Nick White.
They also took the Thinker’s Prize, awarded to the team that was best at the challenges demanding a higher level of intellectual effort.
The over-40s category was won again by regular entrants The Kilworth Lions featuring Adam Herring, John Linnell, Stefan Green and Neil Foster.
The All-Female Team winners were Hackney Honeys made up of Charlotte Brennan, Eve Bunting, Niamh McGuiness and Georgy Dean.
The mixed category was won by last year’s overall winners Koggy’s Kaos, a Lutterworth team of Lorna Richmond, Vicky Hipkins, Sam Taylor and Charlie Turner.
The trophy for raising the most sponsorship – an incredible £4,168 – went to Victorious Secret, the all-women team comprising Bethan Kench, Megan Ribton, Kate-May Driver and Catherine Marsh. They would have had a chance to win the All-Female category but had to make a substitution due at an injury on the opening day.
The 34 teams tackled 39 challenges over the two days and had to be at a specific place and time to do certain tasks. This meant walking and running well over 30 miles through south Leicestershire, around a 12-mile radius of North Kilworth.
The weather was especially bad on Saturday with torrential rain soaking marshals, competitors and spectators.
Sunday was a bit kinder and the sun actually came out at one stage.
As ever, the challenges covered the usual range of those requiring physical strength, mental agility and team work – some were tough while others were just plain fun.
They included a long obstacle course, swinging, racing in the fields, canoeing, dunking stools, a variety of word and number puzzles, and racing in engineless go-karts and chariots.
Some great team names appeared this year –always a major source of amusement – including The Fabulushes, One Dad and Three Lads and Goodbye Accrual World.
This bulk of this year’s sponsorship will go to Dukes Barn in Derbyshire, Leicestershire Youth, and Over the Wall, three Midlands-based charities that help disadvantaged and disable children.
The remainder will go to local charities and good causes in the Kilworth and Harborough area.
Organisers Colin Clarke, Paul Whitehead, Mike Lawrence, Bruce Phillips, Nick Otter, Duncan Moss, Mick Faulkner and Manfred Morris all expressed their appreciation for everyone that helped, especially the marshals sticking to their tasks with tremendous determination, all the landowners and the Kilworth House Hotel and Theatre.
Mr Otter said: “But special thanks goes to the competitors themselves who kept smiling despite the often horrendous conditions.
“Next year will be the 25th challenge and we are looking forward to a very special silver event.”