By Toria Cox
The UK Challenge is an iconic outdoor team-building event that takes place over 3 days and involves over 100 teams. It has been uniquely designed to combine mental, physical and strategic capabilities of individuals in a team environment.
This year’s event took place in Snowdonia from 4th – 7th July and raised money for Teenage Cancer Trust UK. I caught up with the Mount Cook team to hear more about their experiences and how they’re all feeling after the event…
Q: Well done to team Mount Cook for completing the UK Challenge 2019! How are you all feeling, physically and emotionally, post-challenge?
Madeline: Knackered and yet somehow full of energy!
Steve: Physically, a few aches and pains from muscles not used in quite a while. Emotionally, it felt great.
Bryony: I feel a balance between being physically and mentally exhausted, but on some sort of emotional high. It’s a great feeling when you spend an intense amount of time working with the same team under high pressure whilst pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. You can’t help but feel a sense of achievement both personally and collectively.
Q: Did you learn anything about yourself or your teammates during the UK Challenge, that you might not have known before?
Bernie: Madeline is a machine!
Mandy: Teamwork really does make the dream work. This challenge has only reiterated this as a fact for me. In my opinion, we were one of the happiest, friendliest and thoughtful teams, who coped well in responding to the needs of others.
Bryony: We had a good spread of personalities from the thinkers, the doers, the questioners, the listeners and the leaders which really helped to balance our team.
Phil: I could eulogise for hours on each team member’s attributes. But needless to say, they were all fantastic!
Q: The UK Challenge was a new experience for most of the team. Did the event meet up to your expectations in terms of difficulty?
Mandy: The physical aspect of the UK Challenge wasn’t as difficult as I was first anticipating (although, it was still quite hard!). It was the constant intellectual demands of strategising and solving puzzles, along with 3 days of sleep deprivation that I found the most difficult.
Phil: I went into the UK Challenge with an open mind. I knew it would be hard, but everyone in the team rose to the challenges admirably! When someone was struggling, there was always someone else to help pull them through.
Q: What was your favourite aspect of the event?
Bryony: I was surprised that I didn’t want this year’s event to end! I have a serious case of the post-UK Challenge blues. I wish I could do the UK Challenge for a living, but with a lot more sleep!
Madeline: The physical side was absolutely amazing. Glorious scenery in the Welsh mountains, sparkling lakes and green rolling hills – what more could you want?!
Bernie: I enjoyed trying to make the other teams smile and interact.
Phil: My favourite aspect was how the team pulled together and had a real laugh whilst doing it...
Robin: I agree, it has to be the camaraderie and teamwork evident throughout the event.
Q: Is the UK Challenge something you would do again, and would you recommend it to others?
Steve: Yes, and yes! The UK Challenge is a tough but highly rewarding experience.
Bryony: I haven’t personally experienced another team building event that is so effective at bringing teams together and teaching them key lessons in such a short space of time.
Mandy: 100%! The feeling of personal achievement is incredible.
Phil: I have done loads of different sorts of races and challenges over the years. Hands down, the UK Challenge has been the best!
Q: What is the most powerful thing you will take away from this experience?
Madeline: My strong thighs!
Phil: The absolutely amazing experience that we shared together.
Bryony: For me, it is the difference that a positive attitude can make. For a small organisation like Mount Cook, the most important things for our team was to have a good time and do ourselves proud.
Mandy: There is nothing more vital than a good sense of humour - especially during time of tumultuous pressure!
Robin: Outdoor challenges are the best way to create high performing and effective teams.
Steve: The resilience of individuals. Everyone really dug deep and put themselves through a lot of discomfort so as not to let their teammates down. That is a great mentality to have in your team, whether in the UK Challenge or in the workplace.