16 insane photos from the 'toughest race in the world'

Back in 1987, a bunch of friends decided to set up a hardcore obstacle course to find out who was the toughest among them.

Almost 30 years later, the Tough Guy is an annual meeting that takes place the last Sunday of January close to Wolverhampton, in the English midlands.

Rather than just a race, the Tough Guy is a marathon journey of physical obstacles akin to a marine boot camp.

This year, the event featured more than 250 different manmade obstacles, from smokebombs to a frozen lake.

And they're off! This year, about 5,000 people took part in the race.

Parts of the race involve running through a field on fire. Real fire. The race consists of about 15 km of running and a similar length of obstacles.

Every year new obstacles are added to the track.

Crawling is a favourite Tough Guy activity: Here is the barbed-wire version.

One section involves swimming through freezing muddy water.

Of the 5,000 who started, almost 1,500 racers had to retire before the finish line.

Most of the runners are raising money for charity.

There is a section with smoke bombs.

This man is paying homage to Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat.

This guy wore a suit.

This cricket uniform looks like a severe handicap.

It's not just for 'guys.' Anyone of any age or gender can compete.

Crosses like these weigh about 40 kilograms, or 90 pounds.

This year, John Albion from Essex won the race, making it to the end in one hour and 39 minutes.

Tough Guy organises other races in April, July, and October, as well as a version for children.

Now it is time to relax in style ...

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