A team of six from Tavistock rose early on a cloudy Saturday and, with trepidation, made their way to Finsbury Park to battle it out against the electric shocks, ice cold water, net climbs and barbed wire crawls. Clearly, we have a warped idea of “fun”.

Much like any other awful experience, as soon as it was over, we were all “that wasn’t so bad” and “again next year?”. We crossed the finish line, were handed refreshments and we let a huge sense of relief (and more mud) wash over us.

At a number of points around the course (and obviously I mean all of the way around the course!) I asked myself why I was doing this. However, our cause was a good one – improving literacy rates for children aged 5-10 in primary schools across the UK. 7.1 million adults in England struggle to read and our charity partner Bookmark do amazing work to try and reduce that statistic. “For the children,” I kept telling myself.

While a fantastic experience with the benefit of raising almost £2,000, we were disappointed to see the damage done to Finsbury Park. We look forward to seeing how organisers approach future events in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable fashion which serves both charity partners and our community spaces.

There are lots of ways to get involved with Bookmark, from raising money through doing tough and muddy things, to joining their volunteer led reading programme. For just two half an hour sessions a week over a six-week period you could volunteer with Bookmark and change a child’s story. To find out more about supporting such a worthy cause, please visit the Bookmark website.

– Heather Armstrong, Director