Michelle Mucklestone admits she is facing her toughest challenge yet as she gets set to do battle with double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes in the mountains of Snowdonia.
Michelle, who lives in Smalley and who is finance director at Bowmer & Kirkland in Belper, is busily preparing herself for three days of hard graft in July after being picked for the 2014 UK Challenge.
The UK Challenge is the nation’s leading corporate team building event with over 70 teams, including a squad of athletes from the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust, set to battle it out from July 3-6.
During the three days, the 47-year-old will be tested both mentally and physically across a series of tasks all in a bid to raise money for charity and be crowned UK Challenge champions.
To add some spice to the event, Holmes is competing again – a decade on from her 800m and 1500m Olympic double at Athens 2004 – and Michelle Mucklestone cannot wait to test herself against her.
“The company put a team in last year and decided to do it again so I got involved,” said Mucklestone, who will be joined by colleague and two-time UK Challenge veteran Michael Kirkland.
“I do triathlons and sport in general but this is completely new, solving questions might be the hard part. We’re putting two teams in so there is competition between the two teams as well as the athletes’ team too.
“We’ve got the team made up of some of the trainees in the company and then some of the senior people. Training has been kept separated so we’re not really sure what we’re doing and what we’re doing.”
Despite retiring in 2005, double Olympic champion Holmes has been keen to keep up her fitness levels and this year will be her third UK Challenge appearance.
And if Michelle is hoping for an easy ride against Holmes, then the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist has some bad news for her.
“I have taken part in the UK Challenge for the last couple of years and when you go, you just think ‘wow’. It is very competitive but a lot of fun and it makes for a great experience,” said Holmes.
“Last year I took part in the night navigation and I remember being chased across a field by a bull in the middle of the night but it was honestly all part of the fun.
“I have not taken part in such physical challenges since I retired, so it’s great to do something that I enjoy but it’s hard work at the same time and this year looks like being one of the toughest yet.”
n The UK Challenge is the UK’s leading corporate team building event, providing companies from a variety of industries with an epic, adrenaline fuelled adventure and powerful business benefits.
To find out more, visit www.ukchallenge.co.uk