An entrepreneur who started an adventure centre with £20 in his pocket is celebrating his 10th year in business.

To mark the Ultimate Adventure Centre’s first decade, director Russ Johns is hosting the Ultimate Race Night with free entry and two £500 cash prizes.

Russ, 38, grew up in Torrington and originally trained to become a teacher.

But in 2008 after five years of teaching in Bideford, Russ knew it was time for a change.

“I saw the light and decided to follow my dream of setting up my own adventure business,” he told the Gazette.

The high ropes at Ultimate Adventure Centre, all built by Russ himself. Picture: Sarah Howells Picture: Sarah HowellsThe high ropes at Ultimate Adventure Centre, all built by Russ himself. Picture: Sarah Howells Picture: Sarah Howells

“I built everything myself with the help and support of local businesses.”

Starting with a high ropes course, the centre has steadily grown to become one of the area’s biggest attractions.

As well as the newly-restored high ropes, it also has a Total Wipeout course, employs around 50 staff, and has accommodation for more than 300 people.

In 2017, the centre received a £1million boost from NCS to build new accommodation for residential trips.

The Total Wipeout course at Ultimate Adventure Centre, all built by Russ himself. Picture: Sarah HowellsThe Total Wipeout course at Ultimate Adventure Centre, all built by Russ himself. Picture: Sarah Howells

And to celebrate the centre’s 10 year anniversary, Russ is offering 80 free places for the Ultimate Race Night.

The event will see contestants compete for the best time on the assault course and high ropes, and will take place on six consecutive Friday evenings, starting on July 20.

There will be £500 for the fastest racer at the end of the six weeks, plus an extra £500 for the ‘most popular’ contestant.

This will be worked out by the amount of support each contestant receives on Facebook.

The accomodation at Ultimate Adventure Centre, all built by Russ himself. Picture: Sarah HowellsThe accomodation at Ultimate Adventure Centre, all built by Russ himself. Picture: Sarah Howells

Russ added: “It’s going to be a really great event and fancy dress is encouraged.

“We’re also trying to attract people to represent local businesses as well.”

Russ is passionate about promoting local tourism and has plenty of ideas up his sleeve for the next 10 years and beyond.

This year he is constructing escape rooms for visitors to the attraction to enjoy, which are hoped to open soon.

Anyone age 14 and above can enter the Ultimate Race Night event. Line-ups for each Friday will be released on the Wednesday and leaderboards will be updated weekly.

To register your place, text ‘Nightrace’ to 88802. Standard rates apply and race entry is free.