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Bruce Fraser explains his passion for one of the toughest races around: Tough Guy
HE is 62 years old and has had heart surgery, but Bruce Fraser is determined to compete again in one of the toughest races around.
The grandfather from Bishopstoke has already done 35 Tough Guy races, which include a set of terrifying obstacles including crawling under electrified wire in the so called ‘Killing Field’, and is seen as the original of a new breed of extreme obstacle races.
But he set himself the goal of doing 40 of the races and he is keen to hit his target.
It’s fair to say that Bruce has a bit of a history of being a fitness fanatic. He has taken part in some 330 different races, including everything from sprints to ultra marathons.
He did the South Downs 80 – an 80-mile race – eight years in a row and has done the Poole marathon six times.
But there is something about the Tough Guy race that got him hooked more than other competitions.
And even though his wife, Lorraine, doesn’t want him to race it again, Bruce says it’s still his ambition to do the race 40 times.
He has always been a fitness fan. He boxed in his 20s and then went on to coach the sport before taking up running.
He took part in his first Tough Guy race in 1992 with a team from his running club – the Eastleigh Runners.
“I really enjoyed it,”he says.
“It was something completely different. It was minus five degrees that year and the ice had to be broken with a lump hammer so we could jump in it!
“That was it – I was hooked. The next year the club sent another team up, but after that they got bored so I went on my own and then started putting teams together myself.
“We went as the Southampton Raft Racers because I’ve done a lot of charity raft racing over the years. But as we got older they dropped out and it was just me doing it on my own.”
Bruce says that he likes the races because they are something different and because there is a lot of camaraderie – while the people at the front are in it to win, everyone else is just trying to get round, and people help each other over the obstacles or with some moral support.
In fact, he loves the races so much that until he is well enough to take part again he is marshalling them.
“I’ve been going for 21 years and I didn’t want to suddenly stop – it’s part of my life,” he says.
Bruce, who used to be an ambulance technician and now works as a part-time ambulance driver, has been building his fitness back up. He now does boxercise, goes to the gym and cycles.
“It’s important to stay fit as you get older,” he says.
“It lets you do so many things you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. If you’re fit, you’re confident and you can have a go at anything. I’d like to always be doing races. I don’t compete to win. I do it to prove to myself I still can.”
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