There may not have been any medals on offer, but for the hundreds of runners who pushed themselves to the limit during the Dash of the Titans event the sense of achievement at the finish line was worth more than any gold.
The event — which took place on Saturday in Belfast's Titanic Quarter — saw novices and experienced athletes pit themselves against each other during an exhausting 10k assault course. The charity fundraiser, in aid of the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children, was the first of its kind anywhere in Northern Ireland and involved negotiating more than 20 obstacles including tyre runs, hill climbs and vertical wall scrambles.
Think Krypton Factor meets military boot camp.
The race started at about 11am with a mad dash through a scramble net.
Then came the tyre run and brick obstacles — so far, so good I thought. However, the three vertical walls which were waiting just round the corner quickly put paid to any notion that this was going to be a stroll in the park.
Brutal would be a more apt description for this particular challenge — which was all about digging deep, driving forward and giving it all you have got.
Any sense of dignity went out the window when faced with the first water obstacle — a metal grille placed about 18 inches above a muddy puddle.
There was no other option. Just bite the bullet, get down on all fours and plough on.
After jumping into waist-deep muck, clawing my way up loose clay mounds and crawling on my belly through concrete pipes, breaking a fingernail was the least of my worries.
One of the most difficult challenges was climbing over huge tractor tyres.
Event organiser Trevor Hollinger said it was huge success, adding they were “really pleased with the turnout”.