A former gymnast who participated in an obstacle course designed by Bear Grylls is suing for more than £150,000 after sustaining a serious injury.
The organisers of Bear Grylls’s Survival Race have denied liability for the injury.
Margot Harrison, 58, suffered a shattered shin bone after falling from monkey rings while traversing the 5km-long obstacle course, which was designed by the popular TV survivalist.
The course took place in north London in October back in 2016, and passed through 20 obstacles in four themed landscapes (forest, jungle, Arctic and desert).
Per publicity material, the race was “created by Bear Grylls and his crack team of survival and obstacle course racing enthusiasts” to test people’s “ability to endure a range of real-world survival scenarios”.
Fifteen minutes into the race, Ms Harrison injured her right leg and dislocated her soldier, after launching herself at the monkey rings and falling to the ground below.
She is suing Intuitive Business Consultants Ltd, who are trading as “Bear Grylls Survival Race”, the company responsible for “devising, managing and organising” the event.
Also included in the suit is Big Bang Promotions International Ltd, who provided supervising staff and risk assessments for the events.
Lawyers for both companies deny fault and dispute the amount of compensation sought by Ms Harrison, also claiming that they took steps to ensure the race was as safe as possible.
According to them, the ground underneath the monkey rings was adequately cushioned, and race marshals were briefed to instruct race-goers to tackle the rings from a seated position. Ms Harrison, however, attacked the obstacle from a standing position.
It was also specified that participants were able to forfeit any obstacles they were not comfortable traversing.
London’s High Court was told that Ms Harrison had been a fitness enthusiast before the accident, having entered the event with other members of her local gym.
“I thought it was a 5km run with 20 obstacles along the way and it would just be a challenge of my physical strength, and I thought it was something I was going to enjoy,” she said.
There were two marshals in place near the platform before the monkey rings, claimed Ms Harrison, but she was not instructed to tackle the obstacle from a seated position.
“People were going from standing and I assumed that was the right starting position,” she said. It was claimed that the injury left her leg resembling a “stamped on digestive biscuit”.
She required multiple operations after suffering the injury, and still has “ongoing permanent symptoms”, as well as the possibility of more surgery in the future. She is now only able to walk a couple of miles before starting to limp, and has and has suffered depression after the incident.
Her barrister, Brian Cummins, said there had been two previous incidents of injury at the monkey bars in other venues. “Prior to her injury, [organisers] were aware – or ought to have been aware – the monkey rings obstacle had given rise to two previous serious injuries, and was a real risk to its race participants,” he said.
Big Bang’s QC, Angus Withington, said: “Whilst it is unfortunate that Ms Harrison suffered injuries, this was not due to any negligence on the part of Intuitive Business Consultants or Big Bang Promotions International and it is simply the result of the inherent risk associated with this type of adventurous activity.”
The judge reserved judgment on the case until a later date.