I jogged out of the safe canopy of the woods at the nine mile mark to meet a blistering wind and horizontal rain, which stung my grazed skin, and watched an air ambulance land. What on earth was I doing.

But five days on, the bruises have faded and I can honestly say joining the 16,000 beautiful maniacs who tackled the 12 mile mud fest at Henley-on-Thames on April 26 and 27 was one of the hardest but best things I have ever done.

At the start line we took a pledge.

"I understand that Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge. I put teamwork and camaraderie before my course time. I do not whine - kids whine. I help my fellow Mudders complete the course. I overcome all fears."

In a cloud of orange smoke, we set off up the first hill, climbing over a fence and jumping bales of hay as we went.

It did not take long for my fellow Mudder Lauren Horne and I to spot Laura Gordon, of Gibson Honey estate agent in Ruislip, and her team of 11 ‘Borats’. With their nude body suits, fluorescent ‘mankinis’, black wigs and moustaches, it was not hard.

And thank goodness we did because I am not sure we would not have made it round without them - Tough Mudder is all about team work.

Our adopted team threw us up 10 foot fences and caught us as we jumped down the other side. They cheered us on and reached for our hands as we crawled through water while getting electrocuted from hanging wires. They made sure we were breathing after we emerged from a skip full of ice water.

The rain in the days leading up to the event meant the challenge lived up to its name, and then some. The uneven ground and thick mud were relentless and were the hardest obstacles of them all, in my opinion. At the eight mile mark my legs began to freeze half way up another of the endless hills. The Borats’ wigs bobbed off ahead and my heart sank.

But a pair of hands on my back and gruff cries of ‘come on Love, you can do it!’ for the two minutes to the summit cheered both my soul and my exhausted quads and gave me the push I needed. I did not have the energy to turn around to see who my guardian angel was, so whoever you were - THANK YOU.

The camaraderie as strangers, dressed in everything from tutus to animal onesies, hoisted and hurled each other over the 26 obstacles, or offered piggy backs to strangers hobbling behind them, was as touching as it was ridiculous.

The ultimate show of team work was the strangers who lay at the top of 15 foot quarter pipe obstacle ‘Everest’ where they hung over the side, arms outstretched waiting to grab us as we sprinted up the curved slope.

The Everest obstacle

Oh course, Lauren and I made it up first time... a-hem.

We may as well make our cuts and bruises worth it and let you all have a good laugh at our failed attempts. Of course, no one filmed us when we finally reached the top! We may as well have climbed the real thing, such was our elation. I'm in purple, Lauren is in pink.

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Stacey Reid and her team of Buff Mudders - Nadia Dunn, Amie Beason, Georgina Reid, Terri Forward, Suzanne Dauncey, Samantha Wicks and Jenny Chalmers - not only all completed the course, but also raised an incredible £7,500 for Brain Tumour Action , a small charity which will now be able to function for another year thanks to the girls’ amazing efforts.

The Buff Mudders

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Stacey. “If you’d have asked me on Sunday whether I wanted to do it again or not, I would have cried at the thought.

“But raising an incredible amount of money for a charity close to all of us makes all injuries, cuts and bruises and walking like a penguin well worth it.

“I got an email through about signing up for 2015 yesterday. Watch this space.”

The Buff Mudders trained at an outdoor fitness camp at Uxbridge athletics track. Class leaders Murray Williamson and Dean Leow lead their own team around the same course on the Sunday.

The pair set off in the first batch of runners - packs set off every 20 minutes to ensure the course does not get jammed - and finished in the top 20 with an impressive time of two hours 40 minutes. To put that in perspective, it took Lauren and I almost five hours. But hey, they are the professionals.

Despite powering through the course, Murray stayed to help his team. If anything epitomises the Tough Mudder spirit, it was the human chain he helped form to allow one of their shorter team mates Stephanie Hawkes get over Everest.

Did she make it? Watch and see.

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Ickenham children’s stand-up comic Mark Jones, who often performs at the Beck Theatre, ran the challenge on Sunday, and said afterwards he has ‘never felt more alive’.

“I loved it,” he said. “I’m not sure I’d do another one as I like a new challenge, but it was great.”

Paul Grou, from Eastcote, ran his third Tough Mudder on the Saturday with friends Neil Lazarus and Peter Walker, in three and a half hours.

“It was great fun even though the course was much more hilly compared to previous years,” he said.

“But still well worth it for the beer at the end.”

Tough Mudder is an unlikely addiction. The Borats have already signed up to another event in October in San Diego and Murray, Dean and their team will run another London course later this year. James Puckett, from Ruislip, says he 'couldn't resist' the lure of the '2 x Mudder' green headband and has registered for his second challenge.

If you are eyeing up the coveted orange headbands with envy, do not hesitate.

In the words of my Good Samaritan, YOU CAN DO IT.

Find training plans, information on how to register and more photos at the Tough Mudder website.