Demonstrating that disability is no barrier - and neither are 10ft walls and ice cold torrents - determined Dan Metcalfe-Hall completed the Tough Mudder course in his wheelchair this weekend, alongside an 11-strong team of friends.
The 28-year-old was left paralysed after a motorbike crash in 2014, but this has never stopped him from taking on any and every challenge that comes his way.
True to form, on hearing that the notorious Tough Mudder obstacle course was coming to Belvoir Castle for the first time this year, Dan signed up and assembled a squad who were also prepared to take on the hellish 12-miles and support him along the way.
And this is exactly what they did, using cables to help pull Dan through the mud and freezing water, up and down slippery riverbanks, and even carrying him and his chair aloft over huge wooden walls.
Despite being battered and bruised all over as a result, Dan’s overwhelming feeling was that it had been ‘fantastic’. “It was a challenge, but I had an amazing team who I can’t thank enough,” he said. “By the end everyone had some sort of injury, and everyone at different times hit a point when they thought they would have to stop. But we all crossed the finishing line.”
Amazingly, bearing in mind the endlessly muddy and uneven terrain, Dan adds that he was only flipped out of his wheelchair on two occasions. “That was the biggest challenge, keeping control of the chair, because if the smaller wheels at the front and flootpate go down into the mud, that can tip you out. It happened in the first 10 minutes.”
Few would argue if Dan now decided to take it easy, but most who know him won’t be surprised that he is now preparing to take on another challenge, this time one which will see him reach new heights instead of plunging into muddy depths.
“I want to do a wing walk, strapped to a plane in my wheelchair. And I want to do a skydive. I just need to find out when and where I can do it,” he said.
He will be fitting in preparation for these alongside the regular disability sports sessions he has set up at Grantham Tennis Centre, as well as his ongoing handcycling training as he aims to compete in Tokyo 2020.
With all of his challenges, Dan is aiming to raise money not only for the ongoing training, equipment and accommodation he needs to achieve his sporting goals, but also for the Spinal Unit in Sheffield where he underwent his rehabilitation, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance who helped to save his life, and the Back Up Trust which supports spinal cord injury patients, their friends and family.
If you’ve been inspired by Dan’s challenge, you can still donate by going to his GoGetFunding page