LOOKING around at their fellow competitors in the lobby of a motel, three south-west residents knew they had their work cut out for them.
Hamilton trio Craig Steel, Clinton Thomas and Jacinta Hedley were about to take on some of the country’s fittest and strongest in Australian Spartan.
But life experience has taught this team one important thing.
“We’re not going to be the biggest, the fastest or the strongest, but we know miracles can happen,” Mr Thomas said.
With that belief, the team powered their way through two heats to earn a spot in the semi-finals.
Watching on on Sunday night were Mr Thomas’ son Isaac, 3, who spent two months in Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital after he was born and Mr Steel’s daughter Ivy, 7, who is in remission after a battle with Philadelphia chromosome-positive ALL – a rare form of lymphoblastic leukaemia.
“The kids were so excited,” Mr Thomas said.
“As soon as we were on Isaac started saying ‘that’s my daddy’”
Mr Thomas said the team was extremely proud of their efforts.
“We had 10 to 15 years on the vast majority of teams,” he said.
“We were over the moon to get to the semi-finals.”
Ms Hedley said the experience was something they would never forget.
“It was just so cool to be out there,” she said.
There were a few surprises in store for the team on the night of the competition.
Mr Thomas has studied the US version of the show and was under the impression their team – Miracles Happen – would be racing against others to the finish line.
However, they soon found out it was a time trial and teams would be disqualified if any member touched the water.
Ms Hedley said the team was delighted to complete the human ladder obstacle, but were unable to beat the clock in the next obstacle.
In a video promoting Sunday night’s show, Mr Steel paid tribute to Ivy and her fighting spirit.
“Ivy inspires me (with) her will to not give in, not complain. I’m doing Australian Spartan to make Ivy happy and make her proud,” he said.
The trio hopes to raise awareness and funds for the Good Friday Appeal.
“We want to help raise funds and awareness of the great work they do down there at the Royal Children’s Hospital,” Mr Steel said.
The trio will compete in the semi-finals in the coming weeks.