A whopping 5,000 would-be tough guys have battled it out on an extreme assault course where they had to crawl under barbed wire, swim through mud and run through fire.

No, it's not exactly our idea of a good weekend either, but for the past 20 years people have flocked to the eight-mile-long Staffordshire course on the last Sunday of each January, to take part in the annual Tough Guy contest.

Every year new obstacles are added to the grueling course, which now includes underwater tunnels, climbing nets, nettle fields, a 1,000-meter zipline and an electrified fence. Yes, an electrified fence.

Organizers admit the course pushes people to their limits, but they say that's what attracts those who travel from as far as Japan and Australia to take part.

However, many do not finish. This year over 600 men and women failed to complete the course thanks to a mixture of cuts, bruises, burns and broken bones.

But boss Mouser Wilson says this just adds to the attraction: "If people break their legs, they don't come whining like many in our blame-and-claim culture -- they ring up and apologize, saying, 'Please let me come back next year.'"

Keep reading for more images and footage from the competition.

(All images courtesy of Rex)