Having struggled through ‘the swamp’ in their first challenge last Sunday, Bernie, James, Lisa and Emma produced a remarkable turnaround when faced with a do-or-die showdown with the Bisset family from Dublin.
Stuck at the bottom of the dreaded wall, the penultimate obstacle in the RTÉ show’s infamous ‘Eliminator’, Lisa Cuddy feared the worst.
“I honestly thought I was never going to make it up over that wall,” she said.
“We had a strategy which involved me performing a wall sit while the rest of them climbed over using my hands and shoulders. Lisa even managed to stand on my head at one point…but at least she was polite about it!
“James was trying to lift me up with one arm but it was impossible. The Bissets already had three out of four at the top of the ramp at this stage and I thought we’d hear the buzzer and that’s where it was going to end”.
The Cuddys’ teamwork came to the fore, however, and mum Bernie was on hand for vital support.
“Mum grabbed James’ legs on the other side of the wall and that allowed him to balance and reach over to me with two arms. He basically bicep curled me over the wall and we all tumbled over the other side. At that stage, we had no choice and we just had to really go for it from there,” Lisa said.
While the three Bisset siblings tried in vain to help dad, David, finish his Eliminator, the Cuddys never looked back.
“It was very back and forth the whole way through, but our coach Anna Geary lit a fire under us, and that drove us on for the last run up the ramp,” Lisa said.
“Anna ran the whole thing with us and she was doing somersaults at the end of the ramp by the end. I think the fact we always stick together as a team got us through. It was such an incredible feeling and we were all so excited…but it was hard not to feel for the other family too. It’s really tough when it comes down to the ramp”.
The Cuddys will now take their place in Sunday’s final as they bid to become ‘Ireland’s Fittest Family’ with the entire county once again glued to their television screens.
“We’ve come so far and we’ve met so many lovely people along the way and the support we have received has been great too,” Lisa added.
“The one thing we didn’t want was to be eliminated on the very first day…and then we became the first family with three females and one male to make the semi-finals. From day one, Anna and the producers were telling us we were the underdogs…but I think we’ve really shown them!
“Now we’re down to the last episode…it has been hardship at times but it has also been an incredible experience. It’s been really hard not to talk about it, but lovely to watch it all back and read the messages of support too”.
Their new-found fame has even resulted in the family making an important public appearance recently.
“We were asked to switch on the Christmas lights in Kilteevan and that was so lovely especially seeing as it’s mum’s (Bernie) neck of the woods,” Lisa said.
“With everything that’s been going on, it was something to enjoy and another bit of excitement”.
*Find out how the Cuddys got in the Ireland’s Fittest Family Final this Sunday at 6.30 pm on RTÉ ONE.