A BRISTOL athlete is heading to America to take part in the World’s Toughest Mudder to raise money for the charity that helped save his late grandfather’s life twice.
Tom Nicholas, 28, who now currently lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire, with his fiancée Jasmine, will be flying out to Florida to take on the 24-hour ultimate endurance test in Alabama on November 12 in aid of the Wales Air Ambulance.
The event, which is dubbed as “the most extreme, imposing, pulse-pounding, heart-stopping 24-hour obstacle course challenge on the planet,” consists of completing as many five-mile laps with, on average, 15 obstacles per lap, in 24 hours. The obstacles consist of the usual Tough Mudder obstacles, such as climbing through a skip full of ice, running through electric wires, monkey bars and climbing up a ladder with ice-cold water pouring down on competitors.
Tom, who works as a consultant for a finance firm, has taken part in more than 35 Tough Mudder events since entering his first challenge in 2015 and said the World’s Toughest Mudder has always been his goal.
He said: “I’ve been a big fan of Tough Mudder since entering my first local race and I was bitten by the bug and kept doing multiple events throughout the years. The World’s Toughest Mudder has always been a bucket list challenge that will take a lot of mental strength and physical endurance to survive the 24 hours.
“My target is 10 laps which is 50 miles in total within 24 hours which I hope is achievable. I am hoping the adrenaline will get me through it.”
Tom set himself the huge challenge of completing four big endurance-based events for the Wales Air Ambulance as the Charity is close to his and his family’s hearts.
His grandfather Godfrey Dobbins required the Wales Air Ambulance after he fell ill in 2013 and then again in 2014. Due to their rural home in Pembrokeshire, the only option available to him was the air ambulance to get him the urgent medical care required.
Tom said: “If it wasn’t for the Wales Air Ambulance, my grandfather may not have survived either of those incidents. Myself and my family are very grateful to the service for helping him and allowing us to have a few extra years with him before he passed away in 2016.
“I’ve raised money for the Charity on several occasions in the past and this time I wanted to do something on a larger scale. The “Endure4 series” are the biggest events I could think of that will test my mental grit and physical toughness as well as being different in their own way.”
Tom’s “Endure4” series include Spartan Ultra in Scotland, an obstacle course race that consists of 30 miles and 60 obstacles, which he completed in September with a time of 9 hours 30 minutes, beating his time from the previous year by over 30 minutes; Ironman Wales, a full Ironman event in Tenby, where Tom secured a place through the Charity and completed in September with a time of 15 hours 21 minutes; the World’s Toughest Mudder; and in July 2023 Tom plans to climb the tallest free-standing mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro.
The University of South Wales graduate has raised more than £6,300 so far with his latest fundraiser, which has seen him exceed £10,000, including gift aid, for the Charity over the years.
Tom said: “My family have been very supportive, especially my fiancée Jasmine. With all my training it has meant a complete lifestyle change, in particular for the Ironman Wales. I wanted to end my fundraising on a high and complete a lot of bucket list events while raising money for Wales Air Ambulance.
“I would like to thank everyone who has donated and supported me at these events. I never thought I would be able to raise over £6,300 and there is still time to go. I am blown away by the support I’ve had throughout this process, and it genuinely means the world to me.”
The Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep its helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road. It provides vital 24/7 emergency air cover for those who face life-threatening illness or injuries. It is the only air ambulance charity based in and dedicated to Wales.
Laura Coyne, Community Fundraiser for Wales Air Ambulance, said: “To take part in one of these events is a remarkable achievement but to attempt four high endurance challenges is outstanding. What a goal you have set yourself, Tom!
“Thanks for raising over £6,300 so far for the Wales Air Ambulance and continuing to fundraise for our lifesaving charity. We wish you all the best in the World Toughest Mudder on November 13 and for the rest of your challenges.”
You can show Tom your support by donating to his fundraiser via his Just Giving page Thomas’s Endure 4 page.