FIRE, ice, mud and even torrential downpours haven’t stopped thousands of people from completing a gruelling Lake District challenge with a twist.

Total Warrior 2014, held this weekend at Shap Abbey, has seen participants from right around the country take part in either a 10k or 10-mile race, with around 30 obstacles including fire, waist-high mud and an eight-foot-high wall.

“It was hard,” said Richard Robinson, 41, who took part in the event with 15 colleagues from the Environment Agency in Newcastle.

“It was really good fun though, and even the rain was useful for rinsing off the mud!

“It’s my third year doing it and I’ll definitely be back again next year.”

Colleague Nick Diggle, 46, said: “The worst bit was the mud. It was wearing a bit thin – or thick – by the end!”

The races began yesterday with a 10k course and have continued today with the 10-mile course.

Heavy rain turned the area –and the car park – into a mud bath and the Gazette heard one woman close to the finish line declare: “It’s broken me!”

Many people dressed up for the occasion, with two women setting off in wedding dresses. Others donned tutus or fancy dress outfits.

Although some people ran alone, most ran in groups.

Three Cumbrian women, running as ‘the Brady Bunch’, took the tongue-in-cheek approach as they crossed the finish line.

“We’ve had a lovely time,” said Helen Edwards, of Barrow.

“The mud bath was amazing. Swimming in the river was great. We even stopped for a spa day half-way round. I feel so relaxed now!”

A group taking part today is the StrongArm Challenger team, from the North East, who warmed up by swimming eight miles in Ullswater on Friday and completed the Helvellyn triathlon yesterday.

Tomorrow they will cycle 100 miles to Washington to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation and the Firefighters’ Charity, in memory of a colleague who died of cancer.

Event organisers believe tens of thousands of pounds will have been raised for charity by the end of the weekend.

It is also expected around 7,500 people will have completed the course.