Oh, to see yourself as others see you! I have a self-perception of being an average to middling jack of all trades, with a kindness which flies in the face of the shaved head and mockney drawl image I inadvertently put across. I also believed myself, thanks to daily workouts in the warm bosom of the gymnasium, to be fairly fit for a man of advancing years.

Still carrying a bit of timber around the trunk, I reluctantly accepted the invitation from the 1st London Colney scout group to join my daughter and the other dyb, dyb, dybers at the Warrior Adrenalin Race (WAR) in Hertford recently. It was a brisk morning and my nipples chafed on the base layer as we drove into the gladiatorial arena, aka, a farmer’s field. Attempting to get in the zone, I had tried to ramp up the ante by playing Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and Springsteen’s War on the journey. This lasted until we left the main road out of the village when Isabel overruled my playlist and put on something modern that can only loosely be classed as music.

Arriving at the gazebo in the middle of the field, the scouts' basecamp for the day, we were freezing and not feeling the vibe, unlike storm Hannah who was outstaying her welcome stage left. More hardy souls, mild-mannered veterans of such activity, pranced around in but an Ironman T-shirt and cargo shorts. The scout leader, Gary, informed me he had ‘just finished the 10k’ and was going to go for a warm down with us on the 5k course.

With a genuine, ready-made excuse of having a bad back, I found a fellow sufferer, Fiona, who would act as my obstacle course muse. We made our way off and within 25 seconds I got kicked in the face by a young child who clambered in front of me over a hay bale stack. No major injuries thus far and after ungracefully negotiating a barbed wire fence crawling contraption, which will no doubt prove useful training for the mean streets of the shires, we reached the first water ‘obstacle’. Being cold is par for the course to a man with my streamlined hairstyle, but the wet and cold combo opens up a whole new world of pain. Waist deep in a stream, with parts of my anatomy literally disappearing, sodden kids and adults exited, the grin wiped off their faces somewhat, as the reality struck as to what we had got ourselves into when we could have been at home watching Saturday Kitchen instead. On we forged, struggling up the incline, clambering obstacles of an inhumane nature including a dunk tank and a mud crawl, all capped off with miles of running across windy fields and deep, dark woods.

A few kids succumbed to early stage hypothermia and were led off to the relative comfort of the open-sided gazebo, where they spent a good two hours attempting to peel away the sodden clothing from their skin as frantic parents tried in vain to withstand Storm Hannah as they held a towel to protect their offspring’s modesty.

It’s an understatement to say we were not quick, but, with gritted teeth and a resilience that belies the bad press kids today generally get, we completed the rest of the course to cross the line in unison and receive a medal that is as big as a goat’s head.

Sadly, through cockiness at having nearly completed the course, I jarred my back as I tried, and failed, to conquer a ‘run up and grab’ obstacle, the type you see on Total Wipeout.

Yes, it was an energy sapping undertaking for a cold Saturday in April. That said, the scouts, despite the media image of kids being a gaggle of screen-obsessed snowflakes with no backbone, achieved their own WAR victory with the minimum of moaning and the maximum in tenacity.

Strangely, I can’t wait for next year, once the back recovers via some chiropractic intervention. It’s a cop out to take the easy street but a revelation to challenge yourself and feel accomplished at the end of such activity. To answer Springsteen’s question: ‘War: What is it good for?’ Absolutely everything, say it again.