Up in the countryside near La Cala de Mijas is a training facility that draws fitness and obstacle course enthusiasts from all over the world – but beware, it’s not for the faint hearted.

A former jet-ski champion, Michael Ritchie has always been interested in fitness, so it’s perhaps not surprising that what started as a hobby gym beside his house in the La Cala countryside has grown into a thriving business and one of the best purpose-built training facilities in the entire region.

In fact, what has come to be known as Mike’s Gym is the largest privately owned assault course in Europe. Not a conventional gym and much more than an obstacle course, this facility built into a wooded hillside appeals to true fitness enthusiasts and OCR (Obstacle Course Running) competitors, attracting groups from all over Europe and beyond.

Expect no flashing lights or swanky mirror décors; this is very much the real thing, a place where people come to compete, exercise, train and challenge themselves with personal trainer support and amid an atmosphere of camaraderie and bonding.

“We put people through their paces, but when they push themselves and achieve things they never thought they could it’s a pure personal victory and the pleasure is intense,” says Mike.

“At this level it goes beyond mere satisfaction and reaches something closer to elation when the dedication turns into achievement. For this reason, we mostly get people who are already fit, enthusiasts who love to take on new challenges and have the dedication to tackle an environment like this.”

Mike, who came here on a jet-ski/stag holiday and promptly returned for good, has built it all with his own hands, “and a little help from his wife and some good friends,” smiles the man of action, who loves nothing better than to take on the course he created or coach others to overcome it too…

Words Michel Cruz

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