On the 5th of September the Cambridgeshire Spartan Race is taking place. Douglas Johnson is one of our supporters training hard to take part, and raise money for us in the process. In this week’s blog he tells us how he is preparing for the most extreme obstacle course he has ever faced!

When I first heard about the Spartan Race I thought it sounded like fun, but was worried it would be a bit too difficult for me. However, when I heard The AKU Society were looking for people to take part in the race to raise money for them, I reevaluated my chances, and decided to take up the challenge.


The Spartan Race is not your standard 5K run. Between the start and finish lines you can expect to encounter mud pits, barbed wire, weights, FIRE (!) and more. There are 15 obstacles throughout the course and if you are unable to complete any of them then you must pay a forfeit of burpees (a hideous exercise involving push ups and high jumps). Needless to say, being able to run 5 kilometres will not be enough to complete this course.

Since agreeing to take part in the race, I have been training as regularly as I can. I’ve always lead an active lifestyle, and taken an interest in fitness, so all I had to do was be a bit more disciplined in the way I trained. I cycle 8 miles a day to and from work quite quickly, so I already knew that my cardio was ok, but to bolster this I have been going on runs regularly (about 5K) to get used to running.


To improve my upper body and core strength I’ve been going to an outdoor gym 3 to 4 times a week during my lunch breaks. The park where the gym is located is a short cycle away, so I get about 40 minutes at the park every trip. Over the week I do at least two sessions of isolated exercises, where I target a specific area of my body, and at least one session where I will do lots of exercises to target my entire body. The outdoor gym doesn’t have any weights at all, so I must use my own body weight. This means I do lots of push ups, pull ups, and dips, among other things.


I’ve enjoyed training with a specific goal in mind. It makes it easier to challenge myself and push through those exercises I struggle with. In the months since starting I’ve noticed myself getting stronger and fitter, which is very exciting, but now that race day is less than a month away I am nervous. I know I’ve become stronger, but in these last weeks it’s more important than ever to stick to my training and continue to push myself on my runs, on the bike, and at the gym.


You can make my efforts worthwhile by donating here. All donations are appreciated, and all money will go towards helping patients from around the world attend the first ever international patient workshop on AKU.