Fire-jumping Docklands chef takes on hardcore obstacle race

PUBLISHED: 17:14 11 February 2013 | UPDATED: 17:14 11 February 2013

Chef Markus Pieterse cooks with flames during his day job.

Chef Markus Pieterse cooks with flames during his day job.

Spartan Race UK - submitted

A Docklands chef who cooks with flames at work is spending his weekends leaping through them, as preparation for a series of hardcore obstacle races set to kick off this summer.

Markus Pieterse, who lives in Surrey Quays, is in training for the Spartan Race UK series, which will see competitors discovering their inner warriors by jumping over fires, plunging into ice pits, and wading through muddy channels laced with barbed wire.

The 26-year-old, who works at the dining club at the celeb haunt Soho House, plans to compete in seven races this year.

“I was really bored with running and my first Spartan race changed my whole lifestyle,” Markus said. “Taking part in a Spartan Race is all about the rush. You’re competing against others, pushing yourself. The high you get is amazing.”

Markus’s first race of 2013 will take place at Pippingford Park, a country estate in Sussex, on August 25.

The races are the brainchild of former Royal Marine Commando Richard Lee, and the 30-year-old says Markus and the other competitors will find the course “savagely tough”.

“Pippingford Park is horrible.” he added. “The mud there is out of this world. There are endless amounts of stagnant pools of water and bogs, very steep hills, and thick, dense, thorny undergrowth – it’s perfect, and positively Jurassic!”

At Spartan Race’s first event in Britain in 2010, held at a British Army training facility, just 1,000 trailblazers took part. Last year, 25,000 runners became “Spartan warriors” and the seven races this year are expected to draw about 40,000 UK entrants.

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