Sunday saw me complete my first off-road obstacle course as part of a team I’d put together after the summer’s Thunder Run. The team consisted of several friends; Raymond, Scott, Charlotte, Phillipa, Laura, Aaron and myself.
The event is held near Watford in November and is renowned for being muddy and challenging.
Aaron, Laura and I traveled up together on Saturday evening arriving at about 9pm at the Travelodge in Lutterworth. The others had traveled up earlier in the day and were staying in a traveling in a Travelodge in Rugby. It was about a 2.5 hour drive from home and about a 15 minute drive from the hotel to the race venue.
Once checked in, we headed to our separate rooms. I was impressed with my room. Much better than the Premier Inn I’d stayed in recently.
Having got a reasonable night’s sleep we meet in reception at 8:45am as our race started at 10:30am and we had to register from 9am.
The journey to the race venue was really easy and we arrived at about 9am. At the time it was raining and the ground was getting a little muddy under foot as we walked to the marquee to register.
Registration was simple enough. Once we’d handed in our waivers, picked up our race number and completed the medical form on the back, we waited for the others in the marquee.
Once they arrived, we said our hellos, dropped off our warm layers and prepared for the fun that lay ahead.
We met back at the marquee and watched the first wave as they warmed up and then set off. There was a big screen showing live video footage of them which was good for spectators.
Our wave was setting off at 10:30am so we had a little time to wait. Fortunately, the rain had eased.
At about 10:20am we were called into the start pen to warm up. This was quite fun and helped reduce any nerves.
Before long we were called to the start line, shared a few anxious glances with each other and were off.
The first obstacle was less than 10 metres away. A river crossing. It meant getting wet very quickly and trying to stay upright was the main priority. It was too soon to get completely immersed in water. That delight could wait a bit.
Once we’d waded through the first river, there was a scramble up the far bank before another muddier crossing. Great!
After that, there was a little opportunity to run before the next obstacle. I don’t recall the order of the obstacles or their names but they included:
Tyres – this wasn’t too much of a challenge but was made a little treacherous as they were sloppy as we clambered over them.
Tunnels – crawling through a narrow and dark tunnel
Scrambled nets – climb over a very high net wall. Normally I hate these but enjoyed this one
Undulating muddy banks – up and down over lots of little undulating humps with very muddy inclines. Quite a challenge to find the least muddy path through
Muddy Sucker – unbelievable muddy wade. Waist deep and thick mud that almost swallowed me while
Other very muddy obstacles – numerous mud related areas you had to cross. In some cases it was possible to run across. In others, you had to wade able deep. In a couple, you had to crawl across. Unbelievable!
River wades – several walks through rivers and streams of varying depths
Water slide – an awesome water slide that had to be tackled head first. Probably the best Water slide. Ever. So good, most of the team did it twice
Walls – obstacles we had to climb over with no real places to plant a foot. Quite challenging and probably the most dangerous obstacle. In fact, this is the only obstacle type where someone was injured that I’m aware of from falling from the top
The first 3 km seemed to go on forever and I don’t think any of us could believe we’d only got that far when we saw the km marker. In fact, the first 5 km seemed much longer that the last 5 km. We’d probably just got used to the challenge in the latter half though.
We lost Aaron and Laura at one point and I didn’t see them again until the end. The rest of us kept together and that made the event much more fun. I’d bout have enjoyed out half as much as a solo participant.
I’m as 50 minute 10 km runner bit out took us about 2.5 hours to complete the Wolf Run course. Ray had completed it in 2013 in under an hour so it’s achievable to go flat out bit I’m sure it’s far more fun as a team all helping each other out along the way and sharing the funny moments such as Phillipa’s face plant into the mud. Classic!
After we’d had a finish line photo taken, we waited for Laura and Aaron to finish but they were some way behind and the others had to leave so I waited by myself on a foil blanket. It was cold and I was wet. Fortunately the last river crossing just before the finish gantry washed most off the mud off!
To save travelling home wet and dirty, we’d paid £10 for a late checkout (until 2 pm) so headed back for a shower and change of clothes for a more comfortable journey home. Definitely a very wise move. Highly recommended.
Overall, it was a great event with a great team. Would I do it again? I’d highly recommend it as an event. Great organization. Great marshals and sort from other participants. However, there are plenty of other events to try so the answer is no. We have already made plans for a tougher challenge – Tough Mudder London South 2015! Also signed up for Ensure 24 and Equinox – both 24 or team relay off-road races.
I should have probably had a rest day on Monday but instead chose to go to Lordshill Road Runners training and did a great 13km steady run around Southampton. Good stuff.