Freerunner Timothy Shieff was was watched by millions on UK TV in the final of Ninja Warrior UK.
The sports show is the UK version of the hugely popular Japanese challenge show in which contestants take on a demanding assault course that few will finish. Obstacles challenge grip, balance, arm strength, timing and other attributes and often have entrants training extensively beforehand.
Tim was the winner of his heat and then entered one of two semi finals with qualifiers from the five heats. He finished the course in 2:32, beating the second placed athlete by 34 seconds to enter the May 30th final. Viewers were particularly impressed with his easy completion of the ‘warped wall’, a curved running obstacle that reaches vertical, and the log grip, which required athletes to cling onto a large cylinder which slid on rails and included some bumpy drops which dislodged some contestants’ grip. Video of this is available here.
As one of fourteen finalists, Tim faced the toughest course yet and was one of only 6 competitors to complete it. Those who did went on to stage two, where he was one of only two who completed the salmon ladder. Tim made it further than any other athletes and was seen completing the last obstacle, less than a second from the finish when he was timed out. TV coverage showed him closing in on the finishing button as the seconds ticked away, completing the last obstacle as the klaxon sounded. You can watch a video of this here.
"I think the unstable bridge was the toughest obstacle" Tim told us. This was a hanging bridge in two parts that contestants had to grip from below, completing a two handed spring from hanging from one part to hanging on to the second. "I'm the only one that completed it. It was really light and anytime you tried to swing to get momentum it counter swung the opposite way so you had to be super gentle with it."
Although he was clearly the most successful of the 250 entrants, Tim was declared ‘Last Man Standing’ but not a winner as he did not complete the course in the time limit. Had he completed the last course inside the time limit, he would have had a chance to take on the last obstacle, a 20 metre rope climb in 30 seconds, athough Time told us he would have not been able to do this on the day following the other courses.
We checked in with Tim just after the programme aired. "I feel good about how I performed, that time limit was so short on stage 2 but I did the best I could and prepared well. I'll be stronger next year though."
Since then Tim, who previously said he was not interested in running, has completed a 100km London to Brighton run.
"I've been running a lot lately and really enjoying it so I'm just going to keep doing that for now. I ran my first 100km race 2 weeks ago and my first 2 mile race yesterday. I like all the distances! Short distance tests your physical capacity and long distance tests your mental.
I've also been invited back to the US to represent Europe in there Ninja Warrior USA against the World again so in training for that now."
We also asked him the biggest of all questions – will he compete in next years' Ninja Warrior UK. "Yes, most likely I think you'll see me there!"