The first rainy weekend of the Autumn. The temperatures dropped, and night time seemed to fall at about 4pm with all the clouds blocking the sun. And what did I, and 11 of my friends, do on Sunday morning? Get up and run a 10k obstacle course? Of COURSE!
Obstacle courses seem to be the biggest thing in England at the moment, as if running itself wasn’t enough. It’s a really different experience because you’re not just tired from running, but also from hauling yourself over/under/through whatever they throw at you. So your overall pace is slower, but you’re still really tired as everything has had a workout. Plus, it’s like when you were 6 and ran everywhere, and didn’t care how wet, dirty or tired you got.
The race is run by the British Heart Foundation, and we’ve been busy raising money. We got to the starting line and collected our T-shirts, sorted our bags out, and posed for the pre-race photos. If you’ve not picked up on it, the pre-race pic is a very important part of my routine 😉
Matching nails that match your clothes helps you to nail the course. Hahaha
Before we started, they took us through a very thorough warm up. Everyone was raring to go, and we had a really strong start. Then, as we turned into the woods…. Disaster struck. We hit a queue for the first major obstacle. I was running at the front of our starting wave, and we caught up with the previous wave who were still queuing. We kept telling each other ‘it’s ok, it’s a fun run, we’re in this for the charity not the time’, but a few friends who were a little further back said my face was like thunder. Turns out competitiveness trumps reason in my brain….
We were in the last wave of starters, so I had guessed things were going to be a bit backed up for us. However, we queued about 20 minutes to get to the obstacle, which was too long in my opinion. People started to get cold after such a great warm up, and that’s not completely safe or encouraging for people in the fun-run category and who may be doing this for the first time. We met some other queues too, and by the time our group were running, the water stations en route were empty and abandoned like some kind of plastic cup ghost town.
Despite this initial setback, we made it through the muddy ditch and were back running. What followed was 8k of running through uneven fields, leaping over hay bales, running over tyres, crawling through water-logged pipes, and climbing a huge hay-castle (there is no other word for it). And again they had my favourite: the slip’n’slide!!!
The course finished with a mud-finale. Three big pipes, with a mud pool either side. And each mud pool was deeper than the last. I’m only 5’2″, and by the third, it was over my hip. To be honest, this is what I love about these courses: testing your speed, strength and stomach (that mud smelled weird). I am the biggest wimp when it comes to jumping in a swimming pool on holiday (what if it’s too cold?!), but seem to have no issues jumping into a pile of mud – and whatever else is in there.
One of us is a professional dancer, and the other one is a mud-lover. Can you guess who’s who?
I finished with a time of 1:31:46, but we all agreed as a group that we can take off at least 20 minutes due to the queues. We know the times don’t reflect our actual running, but then again, as a team we raised a lot of money for charity so the times don’t matter (too much). And it was fun. And knackering. And dirty.
And the highlight: just before we started, we were told that members of B*Witched and 911 were running the course too*, filming for their Christmas video. We starred in their video singing along to their song – lead roles you know 😉 I’m now compiling my talent CV for when all the agencies come knocking. This is my Big Chance, I can feel it.
If you’re interested in an obstacle course, there are literally loads you can choose from: Total Warrior, Born Survivor, Rat Race Dirty Weekend, Tough Mudder, Survival of the Fittest, and then there are probably smaller ones like this one too. Give it a go – it’s unlike anything else you’ll do! But be prepared for your family to hose you down before they let you in the house afterwards….
Thanks to Ian Cameron for the pics used in this post!