Thousands of runners will take on one of the country’s toughest obstacle courses in the grounds of Burghley House today.
The Rat Race Dirty Weekend is a 13- or 20-mile run in which participants must climb, crawl and even swim around up to 200 obstacles before they reach the finish line.
More than 5,500 people have signed up to take part, with a further 1,000 camping in the grounds of the stately home just outside Stamford.
The run will be followed by a music festival headlined by Ocean Colour Scene, with support from local bands including Stamford’s The Harrington Blues.
Many of the runners are raising money for charity. Janine Donlan, brother Danny and friend Sean Connolly, from Oakham, are part of a team running for the Teenage Cancer Trust’s East Midlands Appeal.
Janine, 32, said: “We have all put a lot of effort into getting as fit as possible. There is nothing really like it out there. We’re all really excited.”
Sponsor the team at www.justgiving.com/HardKnocks
Paul Scholes, 29, of Kesteven Road, Stamford, is running in aid of the Histiocytosis Research Trust.
Paul and his wife Andrea, a Mercury reporter, lost their two-year-old son Oliver to haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis in June last year.
Paul said: “I hadn’t been running for about eight years so signing up probably wasn’t the most sensible idea.
“But I’ve been training hard and eating healthy, and am hoping to do well on the day.”
Sponsor him at www.justgiving.com/Paul-Scholes
And Mercury reporter Alex Moore, 25, of Ravel Close, Stamford, is also running for the Histiocytosis Research Trust. Sponsor him at www.justgiving.com/Alex-S-Moore