27 Sept 2022

MIDWEEK MEMORY: An Offaly woman's epic appearance on hit 90s show Gladiators


In 1998, there were few TV shows bigger than ITV's Gladiators, an obstacle-course spectacle that drew in millions of TV viewers. 

The show was filmed in front of a packed live audience at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham and featured fitness fanatics and those seeking a challenge going up against 'gladiators' in extreme physical tests. 

In 1998, Offaly woman Kate Rudd was selected from thousands to appear on the hit show, travelling over from her home in Moneygall to take part in the show. 

She appeared on episode 3 of season 7 of the show which was presented by Ulrika Johnson and Jeremy Guscott, who took over from original presenter Jon Fashanu for one year in 1997. 

Kate introduced herself as an amateur jockey and breaker of horses at home in Moneygall, and seemed to have brought the entire population with her as part of the arena audience. 

She sailed through the first challenge to outrun a gladiator up the fearsome rockwall, but soon she started to fall behind her opponent who was a rugby player. 

In the eliminator, a gruelling boot camp style course, Kate had to concede an 11.5-second head start to her challenger. Despite that, Kate hunted her down to set up a grandstand finish, but ultimately the head start was just a step too far. 

She lost gallantly, and said afterwards, "I was just unlucky at the end. I think on the night, the best girl won and congratulations to Trudy. It's brilliant for her."

Ulrika Johnson told her that it was great to have her on the show and also to have "that sea of green," referencing Kate's unbelievable support. 

If you have a story for us, sports news, an event happening in your area, or if you want to submit pictures or videos, contact the Offaly Express team via email to, or through our Facebook.

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