That was fantastic! Its the most insane race I have ever done, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Ran around with an idiot grin on my face most of the way – except for the icy water. Fantastic – approximately 10miles assault course type run completed in 2hrs 58mins – not that the time reflects reality!
So, my day started at about 05.30 with nerves and brain working overtime. Eventually got up around 6am and tried to occupy myself with odd jobs and distractions. Two poached eggs on toast for breaky. None of that slow GI stuff…
Family dragged grumbling out of their pits at 07.30 – Dad – its a Sunday…and off to Wolverhampton.
Arrived in plenty of time and sucked up the atmosphere of the lunatic asylum. I can not believe some of the outfits – chains, thong and gimp mask took the prize; but there were warriors from Belgium, lots of forces personnel in fatigues, and the obligatory superman, banana and Darth Vaders. Me – I opted for two base layers, and old running vest, running leggings and shorts (to prevent too much damage when sliding on my backside). Hat and gloves obligatory.
We all were marshalled into starting pens for the different groups. A rugby ball was being kicked around so you had to watch you weren’t brained. There then broke out a ‘plastic duck throwing fight’ between our pen and the one next. You had to be there…all good humoured. [The ducks were meant to go in a pond as you ran by and to be retrieved when you were in the pond – quack, quack, where’s my ducky wucky?]
The start was chaotic – our group climbed over a fence and slide down the starting hill ahead of the cannon. Imagine a hill – slick with mud approx 25m long and at about 45degrees steep.
Following some farcical scenes with marshalls suggesting we climb back up the hill – I am sure you can appreciate the language! The canon went off and made us all jump…the race was on.
First major obstacle was the chataway chase – a series of ditches several meters deep, filled with iced water upto your waist and with sheer sides to slide down and climb out. Team work was the order of the day pushing and pulling!
There followed a reasonable run that wasn’t too taxing with the odd pole to clamber over or under; until the next major obstacle – The slalom. This was twelve iterations up and down a hill that was too steep to run up! Each leg must have been about 30 – 40m long. Sapped the energy out of the thighs. There is one advantage of being a bit older – we tend to have a bit more stamina than some of the younger folk!
Under cargo nets, through woods and then onto one of the tough elements – the Gurkha Grand national. A bit like the earlier obstacle in the ditches – but repeated many more times, with deeper water and increasingly sheer sides to the ditch. Towards the end was feeling the cold having been soaked through by then.
New jungle obstacles involved more ditches – deeper water and more cargo nets to go under.
There after it became a bit of a blur as we went into the killing fields. I’d simply suggest look at the Tough Guy web site http://www.toughguy.co.uk and make your own mind up about that!. Huge climbing frames with cargo nets, walls to climb over, ditches filled with water, tyre tunnels to go through, more water and mud, dark tunnels with electric fencing, high – skywalks, more water and dunkings, the death plunge – a leap from a 3m high walk the plank exercise into the icy water, something resembling the somme to wade through, a figure of eight climbing / swinging across in water. My favourite bit – the stalag escape – approx 40m crawling under barbed wire just a foot or two above the ground – I was absolutely covered in mud. More tyres to climb over, hills to climb and a final dunk in a pool to wash the lumps off led to the finish.
The camaraderie was better than any road race I have ever done. I got very cold and spent the last half an hour of the race shivering – and then the hour afterwards as well!
But what fun! Some of the things we’ve all done today – normally you’d take one look and say ‘no way’! It just goes to show whats possible.
I’m truly on a high this evening. Fantastic!
(PS While I enjoyed it – there were quite a few who clearly were not!…And the guy in the gimp mask – finished just in front of me. Certifiably insane)
(PPS Thanks for the odd tips and hints I recieved. Used them all bar the shower cap. Electrolyte drink certainly warded off the cramp although I came close at one point)
Off to eat pizza-hut out of everything they have!
Lets see if I can move in the morning and complete the Janathon tomorrow!!