Pukka Races: Only Fools Ride Horses 2015 – Zoolander Style

You know what I love about Pukka Races? They don’t have ridiculously early start times! This means that despite the two and a half hour journey to Colchester, we didn’t need to get up at 4am to take the trip.

Being that we are usually some of the first to rock up to a race, it was with some surprise that we ended up in quite a long registration queue, it moved fairly swiftly though and it wasn’t too long before I had my number ready to go.

I decided last minuet to join in with some friends doing a “Zoolander” run, rather than go it alone, and I was quickly handed a headband and found myself having face-paint smeared over my cheekbones!

Blue Steel!
Blue Steel!

Due to the registration queues the race start times were pushed back by 10mins or so, but we were soon setting off in the second wave, with a little light jogging and a lot of strutting, and posing for photographs.

"I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking..."
“I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking…”

The run itself was a 4 mile loop around a cross country equestrian course, where most of the obstacles are made up of the horse jumps, meaning a variety of different, lowish hurdles, well spaced and fairly frequent. In addition to these were a wooden frame to climb, a high metal A-frame, a cargo net crawl, sand bag carry, 8ft vertical wall, an inclined wall and some monkey bars.

Oh, we were supposed to jump these?
Oh, we were supposed to jump these?

As we, very slowly, made our way round the first lap there was a lot silliness as, at any moment, our leader Darren would shout out “sashay” and we would have to go into our best catwalk walks until told otherwise, and if you have watched the film Zoolander you will know that he cannot turn left, so at each left turn we came to on the course we would have to go right in a circle to navigate the corner, much to the amusement, or bemusement, of other racers.

As we came to the wooden climbing frame and metal A-frame we hit some obstacle queues, so rather than get bored, we ended up making a pyramid of bodies with some of the people around us, as you do!

Queue for an obstacle? Make your own!
Queue for an obstacle? Make your own!

Once we had cleared the obstacle queues it was on round the field until we were confronted with Batman and Robin holding foam pads blocking our path. We unleashed the “Blue Steel” on Batman, who promptly fell on his back unable to withstand the shear amount of beauty that was before him, Robin however was less moved by our performance and put up more of a fight, he was no match for 9 Zoolanders though and we continued to the cargo net crawl.

"Well I guess it all started the first time I went through the second grade. I caught my reflection in a spoon while I was eating my cereal, and I remember thinking "wow, you're ridiculously good looking, maybe you could do that for a career."
“Well I guess it all started the first time I went through the second grade. I caught my reflection in a spoon while I was eating my cereal, and I remember thinking “wow, you’re ridiculously good looking, maybe you could do that for a career.”

After the cargo crawl we hit the sandbag carry, and a few more horse jumps and then it was time for the slip and slide, we shot down the soapy wet tarpaulin in pairs landing in a grassy muddy tangle at the bottom.

"Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty."
“Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.”

After the slide it was the home straight, just a few more horse jumps and then you were back in the starting field and faced with the two walls, the guys helped me up and over and then we were off down to the monkey bars. I hopped onto these not really expecting much, intending to give it my best shot and fully anticipating falling to the ground as usual, but this time I just didn’t let go, it took a while, and I thought it was game over in the middle where I found a slippery bar, but I clung on, swung my legs, and eventually I was at the end. I had made it, for the first time ever in a race I had finally conquered a set of monkey bars!

"This has been an emotional day for all of us. I think we should get naked"
“This has been an emotional day for all of us. I think we should get naked”

We then sashayed to the finish line and posed, before 4 of us set back out again for our second lap.

"Derek that was unbelievable!"
“Derek that was unbelievable!”

The second lap was much quicker, we actually ran, and we didn’t get held up on any of the obstacles this time, the slip and slide was now even more muddy, leaving me pleasingly filthy despite this being a race low on the mud factor. Around the last fields, over the last few horse jumps and up and over the last two walls.

Hauling myself over the wall with a little help from my friend Ben
Hauling myself over the wall with a little help from my friend Ben

Finally it was onto the monkey bars again, I didn’t think I would do them twice, I was tired now, and the first time was a bit of a fluke  matched with pure stubbornness of will, but I surprised myself a second time by not only completing them again, but doing it quicker than the first time.

"Oh, Snap!"
“Oh, Snap!”

Then it was a run down to the finish and finally across the line this time. Once again this was a race that was full of fun and laughter and a whole lot of silliness. Pukka Races delivered yet again, and it’s why we keep going back for more.

" Just because we have chiselled abs and stunning features, it doesn't mean that we too can't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident."
” Just because we have chiselled abs and stunning features, it doesn’t mean that we too can’t not die in a freak gasoline fight accident.”

 

Dirty Dozen Races: Dirty Destroyer 2015

It’s 5am on a Saturday morning, your alarm is buzzing in your ear, and you only fell asleep about an hour ago anyway, all you want to do is go back to sleep, but your friend is picking you up in an hour, that’s right, it’s race day!

I travelled to Essex with my frequent race buddies Vince James, Linda Zeberga and Chris Williams, Chris joining us to cheer us on as he sadly broke his ankle and so had to pull out of the race himself.

Early morning car selfie with Vince, Linda and Chris
Early morning car selfie with Vince, Linda and Chris

We were all looking forward to the race, taking on the 18km Destroyer distance to complete the Dirty Dozen set and collect the coveted medal of honour.  A quick discussion as we were getting registered had us agreeing to run in a little team for fun rather than time, so Linda, Vince and I were set to run with our friends Lee Haines and Graham Gilbert, and their friends Daniel Lafferty and Andrew Peddar.

Some of the OCR family before the race. Photo courtesy of Tony Jarvis photography
Some of the OCR family before the race.
Photo courtesy of Tony Jarvis photography

We set off at a gentle pace on what was to be quite a long starting run, before clambering over a big wooden box, and then continuing to run before we hit the Bear Crawl, consisting of the first set of barbed wire to crawl underneath,  and this is where disaster struck our little team. I first knew something was wrong when I heard someone say “get out from under here and over to the side”, I looked up to see Linda and some drops of blood. We all got out from the barbed wire to take a look. Linda had been caught just below the eyebrow by the barbed wire and the cut looked pretty nasty.

Linda and I climbing down from the box
Linda and I climbing down from the box

We happened to be just behind our friend Amy Moore, who is a paramedic, she took a look at Linda and recommended she stopped, but Linda really wanted to carry on, so we took on the next longish section of running, up and over the high wooden bladder ladder, then eventually came to Bitch ditch, Muddy walls with watery pits down bellow. Linda had to miss these as she couldn’t risk getting mud in her wound. The next obstacle was the wall of mud, a similar obstacle to navigate, as I came out of the last trench Linda called me over, she hugged me and told me she was dropping out. She has way too much integrity to complete a race skipping obstacles, it was a hard decision, but she really did need medical attention, and she is my hero.

Getting Splash down in a muddy ditch. Picture courtesy of Epic Action Imagery
Getting Splash down in a muddy ditch.
Picture courtesy of Epic Action Imagery

Had I not know that Chris was around somewhere I would have dropped out with her, although I doubt she would have even entertained the idea, but knowing she wouldn’t be alone I carried on, leaving her in the capable hands of a marshal and keeping a look out for Chris as we moved on to the next section of obstacles, the sheep dip, a section of submerged walls that you have to duck under, and then fallout, a new obstacle where you crawl into a box, that drops you out into a pit of water.

Coming out of Fallout Picture courtesy of Tony Jarvis Photography
Coming out of Fallout
Picture courtesy of Tony Jarvis Photography

This obstacle was followed closely by the Tarzan bars where I found Chris waiting to watch us. As the others started their attempts at the bars I stopped to tell Chris what had happened and sent him off to find Linda. After the Tarzan bars we re-grouped and were joined by Amy Moore and Suzannah Martin for the rest of the race.

What followed was another long section of running before another barbed wire crawl and before too long, a log carry. This log carry was 3km long and included a set of muddy ditches, another barbed wire crawl, a wall climb and a cargo net crawl, all with your log (you did put it down for the wall). More running, a few walls to roll under, some box hurdles, and more running and we got to a shipping container to climb over, where we paused for a team photo.

Team shot on Barley Contained. Photograph courtesy of Epic Action Imagery
Team shot on Barley Contained.
Photograph courtesy of Epic Action Imagery

We continued, over the cargo net, and eventually into the lake, by far my favourite part of the run, as by now I was overheating and desperately wanted to get into some water. Under floating barrels, over a pontoon of wooden slats, and then up onto a floating platform containing a wall. Now I don’t like being at the top of walls at the best of times, but this one was floating and therefore less stable, with the help of the misfits I was running with though I was helped up, and back down, the wall and then it was back into the lake for a quick swim to the bank.

Coming over the floating wall Picture courtesy of Tony Jarvis Photography
Coming over the floating wall
Picture courtesy of Tony Jarvis Photography

This just left us with the Irish table, where yet again I was given enormous help, then a trot along to the giant wooden A-frame, afterthought, where again we stopped for a bit of team posing.

Just hanging around at the top of Afterthought Photo courtesy of Epic Action Imagery
Just hanging around at the top of Afterthought
Photo courtesy of Epic Action Imagery

This was followed by the True Irish obstacle, again a big leg up for me, then it was finally time to head for the big wall at the finish line, where, true to form, I pretty much froze. The guys helped me up and I got stuck at the top unable to get myself down, but was rescued by my team, who encouraged and talked me down, and were there to catch me at the bottom.

At the top of the final wall with Vince
At the top of the final wall with Vince

Once across the line, it was with relief that I found Linda, with Chris, in good spirits, patched up by the medics on site. I was utterly beaten and very glad I had only opted for one race that day. I had blisters, a painful hip and pain in my back, but I had my medal of honour and was ready to collapse with a beer and my friends.

WIth my medal
With my medal

This was only supposed to be a short post as I have already written up Dirty Dozen for Muddy Race (which you can read Here) but it seems I’ve waffled on for ages instead. Dirty Dozen Races, thanks again for another wonderful day!

That Pre-Race Buzz

Today I woke up excited, really excited, because tomorrow is race day. So excited in-fact that I have felt the need to channel it into a blog post.

I think it all adds up to being part of the reason that running these races can get so addictive. There is not just the race itself you see, there is the build up, the social media hype, the joy of knowing your going to be spending the day with amazing people, the pre-race rituals, the prep, all before even setting off. Then you race, then after the day is over, and you’re elated, and bruised and tired, then comes the post-race social media frenzy, with hundreds of posts and photos, and then its all over, and you just can’t wait for the next one.

Tomorrow it’s Dirty Dozen that has got me all worked up, I love Dirty Dozen races, and, if social media hype is to be believed, it is going to be EPIC! The obstacles look immense.

So here the pre-race prep begins. First came the whatsapp group between myself, Vince James, Linda Zeberga and Chris Williams, to arrange how we get there, which has turned into a general buzz of excited non-sense, don’t be surprised if the slogan “the skittles made me do it” starts appearing on our t-shirts, as well as being used by Linda and myself to discuss the all important question “what are you going to wear?” (Yes we discuss this, before pretty much every race we do together, we are girls, its what we do!)

Whatsapp. The app that allows us to annoy people with messages on mass! (Clean part of the conversation only ;) )
Whatsapp. The app that allows us to annoy people with messages on mass! (Clean part of the conversation only 😉 )

Our group conversation about the race has been going on for a few days now, but today is race-day eve, so now we start sharing with the world how excited we are via the medium of facebook, accompanied by pictures of last time, obviously!

Must. Tell. World. Am. Excited....
Must. Tell. World. Am. Excited….

So once I had the important stuff out of the way, like posting more rubbish on my Facebook page, it was time to boot up the computer, try and coax our printer into life, and print the ticket and wavier. I then happily sign said waiver, and have probably just promised all my worldly goods to Dirty Dozen races if I happen to die falling off a high wall – does anyone ever actually read them? (*ahem obviously I do read them, to do otherwise would be highly irresponsible)

Waiver signed, must remember to pack it.
Waiver signed, ticket printed, must remember to pack them.

Now it’s time to sort out my kit bag, and no matter how many times I do this, I’m always sure I’ve forgotten something! “Clothes, check, wait underwear? Oh there it is good, Shoes, Check, Dry-robe, Check, damn forgot the bin liners again” Followed by the kit I actually want to race in (pre-discussed with Linda of course) as I dig through the clean washing pile silently cursing because I can’t find my socks, and wondering which shoes I should race in.

All the gear no idea!
All the gear no idea!

So that’s me ready, and it’s not even 10am, so now there’s nothing for me to do but wait until tomorrow, and my head is spinning, and going to weird places, I even considered a cheeky snapchat involving strategically placed Dirty Dozen bobble hats, but thankfully I calmed down and thought better of it – all I need is for some joker to save it and I’ll be on the Facebook OCR Wrongens page with my hats out!

Keep Calm, it's only a race!
Keep Calm, it’s only a race!

And so now I wait, I’ll chat with my friends, I’ll double check my bag, and tomorrow morning I’ll be up at the crack of dawn, and that’s where the fun really begins… 🙂