All posts by runhcrun

Judgement Day Copehill Down

Another weekend, another race, and I had been really looking forward to this one, as well as having rave reviews last year it was also going to be a chance to catch up with a lot of people that I hadn’t seen for a long time. My husband and I decided to make a trip of this so headed down to stay nearby the day before which meant very little rushing around the next morning, so with a reasonably relaxed start we were off to the race site.

Race Description

We arrived around the same time as the boys from home I would be running with, and got registered with ease. The race was a 10mile obstacle race, at the end of which your time is stopped and you get to go round the confidence course. Copehill Down has a FIBUA village training area (fighting in built up areas), which we would be climbing up, around and through, this was going to test my fear of heights to the limit. The race would also involve the infinity jump, a relatively short leap, but onto a lowered platform that I promise felt very far and high once you were up there. This had been filling me with fear for days but as it wasn’t until the end I was enjoying catching up with people at the start of the race until it was time to set off.

Before the race with a bunch of likeminded nutters
Before the race with a bunch of likeminded nutters

I’m sure there was a warm up and briefing but I was too busy chatting to a lot of different people to notice, and suddenly I found myself on the start line, I frantically found Dom Wright, Bob Cornford and Kevin Coda whom I was running with and we were off.

The Race

We set off at a comfortable jog, along Salisbury Plain, eventually coming to the first barbed wire craw, through a very muddy puddle, and following a bit more running a bucket carry. The buckets were full of gravel and felt really heavy. I managed to hoist it up onto my shoulder but as we made our way round the course took us into some mud pits, the bucket came down and I was pretty stuck, it took me some time to haul myself and my bucket back out again.

Bucket Carry, and a little chat with the lovely Laura Dudley
Bucket Carry, and a little chat with the lovely Laura Dudley

 

Once we had deposited the buckets there was more running before coming to a rope climb, that I never really had a hope at anyway, but slippery and thick with mud was impossible, I could barely even hang off it. One of these days I will learn to climb a rope!

Attempting the rope climb with Bob, Kev and Dom
Attempting the rope climb with Bob, Kev and Dom

We continued round the well marked course, sticking together as a team of 4, with lots of silly banter and singing, the latter mostly from Dom, although Kev did give a rather beautiful rendition of a One Direction song, We ran on until we hit the tyre carry. After the buckets this seemed like child’s play, and  we navigated this section fairly quickly.

The tyre carry with Bob, Dom and Kev
The tyre carry with Bob, Dom and Kev

Shortly after the tyres came the monkey bars, I gave these a go, but slipped off the first rung, landing awkwardly on my ankle. I didn’t seem badly hurt however and was able to walk it off while I watched the boys have much more successful attempts than me. I did grab a cheeky mid-race hug with the lovely Will Fyfe while I waited though.

Mid race hugs are always good
Mid race hugs are always good

Following on from the monkey bars we had a second muddy barbed wire crawl, some parallel bars to swing across, some low hurdles broke up the running and then a wooded section with some walls to climb under, through and over, a bit of a leg up from the boys and these were completed no problem. Down a hill and we were handed a rubber band to put around our ankles, Kev and I had done this before at Borden, and it was with amusement we penguin waddled around the short wooded section. Unfortunately this obstacle really aggravated an injury I have been carrying in my hip, and the running from this point started to get very difficult.

Happy in the mud

Happy in the mud

After these we crested another hill to find ourselves faced with a hoist. I have never struggled with hoists before but this one required us to lift one of the infamous sandbags using a rope and it was heavier than it looked. I got my sandbag to the top in the end with a lot of help from Dom, who came to give me a hand after finishing his own lift.

Hoisting the sandbag with a little help from Dom
Hoisting the sandbag with a little help from Dom

This wasn’t the last we were going to see of the sandbags either, We hit the sandbag carry and hoisting the up onto our shoulders we carried them down a hill, over a wall and back up the other side, a mercifully short carry when compared with Borden. At the wall we saw the 9mile marker and knew we didn’t have to much further to go (although we had been told before the start that the course was going to exceed the published 10miles).

Sandbag slinging with Dom
Sandbag slinging with Dom

We made our way round the last section of the course, coming across a platinum rig, which we all fell from at some point, with the exception of Dominic, who even stuck in a couple of pull-ups at the end (show off). We were also given a concrete block to drag through some mud, and somewhere in there we also had a tyre flip and a tyre drag. When we got to the 10mile marker we decided to stop for a photo before heading up back towards the main village.

10 miles - and the rest!
10 miles – and the rest!

As we came back into the FIBUA village we were stopped at a buzzer toy, which you had to complete or take a forfeit run over some low walls. We didn’t do to well at this, once again only Dom completed it, but he stuck with us as we hopped over the walls, then took the run to the timing mats which finished the “race” portion of the day.

Coming across the finishing mats
Coming across the finishing mats

This wasn’t the end of the course though, now we were about to hit the part I had been both looking forward to and dreading in equal measure. We made our way into the FIBUA village and were taken up a ladder, over a roof, onto another ladder and into one of the buildings. My fear of heights taking over I was shaking and this was no where near the worst of it. Eventually we came to the two girders up high between two buildings, I had actually had nightmares about this leading up to the race, Dom went first then I was up, I crawled out, and quickly backwards again, hardly able to breath I was so scared, a quick re-group and I tried again, the guys giving me the encouragement I needed, and after what felt like a decade I was there and Dom was pulling me through the window of the second building.

Crawling between the buildings
Crawling between the buildings

Hyperventilating now I had a little time to regain composure while Kev and Bob made their way over, Bob also successfully battling his fear of heights, then it was into a set of small tunnels. This time I went first, with Dom this time facing his fears of inclosed spaces, I was chattering to him constantly and telling him what was coming up, once we were out of the tunnels it was my turn to freak out again as we headed up into the rafters of yet another building.

Up in the rafters with Dom
Up in the rafters with Dom

With barley a moment to catch my breath there it was, the infinity jump, and with a bit of a queue my plan of just get up there and jump without thinking about it was out the window. I followed Dom up the ladder and onto the platform. Dom made it look easy and then it was my turn. It looked miles, and felt very high. I geared up to jump, then bottled it, tried again, and once again changed my mind. The marshal there was brilliant, really encouraging and getting the spectators to shout encouragement as well. I closed my eyes and decided there was no way I was going to fail this now, took another deep breath, Kev was below and called out 3, 2, 1… a pause, then I finally leaped off the platform. I landed on the second platform and was caught in Dom’s arms. I had made it, I was sobbing, Dom had me in a huge hug, I then did the most ungraceful jump down off the lower platform landing on my arse, and stood shaking and trying to remember how to breath again, while we waited for Bob and Kev to make their jumps.

Making my Jump
Making my Jump

After we were all safely off the infinity jump it was a stooped run through some barbed wire topped trenches and a last couple of crawls though some small concrete tunnels and we were finally finished, clutching our medals and t-shirts we had our final finishers photo before going to get changed out of our muddy gear.

Finished
Finished

This race did not disappoint, it was tough, it was fun, and it forced us to face our fears. Thanks Judgement Day, looking forward to the next one.

Muddy Race Virtual 10k

Having finally recovered from running the Hastings Half Marathon followed the day after by the Nuclear Races Virtual 5k, Kevin Coda and I met in the park to run a virtual 10km put together by the guys at Muddy Race.

Kev and I ready to start running
Kev and I ready to start running

The Brief

This brief asked you to run 10km anywhere you like, with 15 reps of a different exercise each kilometre, to simulate different obstacles in a race.

You can complete the run as many times as you like in the 4 weeks that the race is open and log your times on the leaderboard, if you are of a particularly competitive persuasion, I, however, will only be doing it once, I just want the bling!

Our scrappy list of exercises to complete
Our scrappy list of exercises to complete

Our Run

We set out on a meandering route around the park, not really worried about where we were running as long as we covered the distance, when Kev’s watch beeped us we stopped to do our walking lunges before carrying on. It was a nice day for a run, really windy but the sun was shining and in sheltered parts of the park it really was quite warm.

As we headed up towards the back end of the park we couldn’t resist hitting some of the trails rather than sticking to the paved areas, although both of us were soon shouting about wearing the wrong shoes for this!  Another kilometer down and we stopped to complete our press-ups before moving on.

As we made our way down one of the trail routes we found that the aforementioned wind, which had been howling around Hastings for the last 24hrs at least, had brought down a rather large tree in our path. Rather than turn back we opted to find our way over and through it, although this rather messed up our time, it was more fun and neither of us was bothered about our place on the leaderboard.

Finding my way through the tree
Finding my way through the tree

We eventually got past the fallen debris and completed our next set of exercises, finding a nice muddy patch to sit in and complete our sit-up twists.

The rest of the run was reasonably uneventful, other than having to dodge numerous dog walkers and slip sliding through some more muddy patches with more shouts of “Wrong shoes, Wrong shoes!”

We completed each allocated exercise every kilometre, looping round to the entrance of the park a few times to make up the distance, finishing with star jumps at the end by the park gate.

Triumphantly completed
Triumphantly completed

We logged a time of 1:11:43, not too bad considering the tree pit-stop and the fact that neither Kev nor myself are particularly quick or gifted at any of the exercises. This was a fun way to train, with a medal to come through the post as an added bonus.

10km Completed
10km Completed – spot the tree on the splits 😉

Dirty Dozen

Barley a week after my last race in March and it was time to take on my one and only challenge for April – The Dirty Dozen. A 12km obstacle race that would be my longest distance to date.

Race Description

This race was set at The Hop Farm in Kent, and I’m sure I’ve read somewhere it being promoted as “the home of large obstacles” or something similar – it did not disappoint!

There was quite a bit of build up for this on Facebook, with a few of the obstacles given a preview, this was enough to stoke the nerves!

We arrived to a really well organised race, free parking a short walk from the registration tents, which were split into queues based on your surname. Here you were given your race pack which included your (named) number, wrist band, timing chip and band for your bag to enable you to use the bag drop.

The event village was buzzing with a great atmosphere and some good stalls around to take a look at, as well as the bag drop, bar, food and toilets.

This was another race where RPCC was out in force, which made the atmosphere, for me, even better.

The RPCC crew ready for the race
The RPCC crew ready for the race

This race also had a cracking warm-up, which included press ups and burpees to really get you going. We arrived in plenty of time and watched the elite athletes set off at 10am, then it was our turn.

The Race

We were all raring to go at the start line, laughing, joking and posing for a few pictures, a short speech from the organiser Doug “The Beard” Spence and then it was time to go.

Posing at the start line with some of the RPCC crew (Photograph by Epic Action Imagery)
Posing at the start line with some of the RPCC crew
(Photograph by Epic Action Imagery)

This race had fair stretches of running between obstacles which meant that you didn’t get held up, as people naturally spread out and found their own pace. The terrain was pretty flat, with lots of running through fields and areas of woodland, this didn’t stop them building in muddy banks though.

There was a sheep dip obstacle which involved you getting yourself fully submerged in cold water to get under not one but three walls in quick succession – this was more a mental battle than a physical one, but it certainly took the air from my lungs as we went through.

A high cargo net only secured at the top tested my nerves as I have mentioned in other blog posts how I am somewhat scared of heights, but I managed to get over it without too much panic at the top.

There were plenty of high obstacles in this race to test my nerve as we went round, Dirty Dozen doesn’t do things by half’s!

There was a pretty long tire carry, through thick mud and just when you thought you were safe, they gave you a log to lug through the woods!

The tire carry
The tire carry
The log carry
The log carry

After a water station there was a fire jump that was much bigger than the one at Warrior Run the weekend before – as with heights, i’m not a big fan of fire, so I just ran, jumped and hoped for the best… and made it to the otherside without any drama.

Jumping fire - I can Fly! (Photo by Epic Action Imagery)
Jumping fire – I can Fly!
(Photo by Epic Action Imagery)

As with many races of this type, there were ditches to clamber in and out of, monkey bars to try and get over (I failed and had a nice refreshing swim), walls to climb and streams to wade through.

Wading through a stream with some of the other RPCC crew
Wading through a stream with some of the other RPCC crew

By far the worst obstacle (by this I mean most painful!) was the one aptly named “barbed belly” which saw us crawling low under barbed wire. Now this is not un-typical at obstacle races, but what made this so hard was the ploughed up, rock hard, mud that was under the barbed wire. This is where I think I picked up most of my bruises from the day. Just when you thought it was over you ran a few feet and then there was a second one. Right at the end of that one was some soft mud which felt like rolling into silk once you got there!

The barbed belly
The barbed belly

The end of this race saw us trying to get over some huge walls, the first had a rope to help, the second required some teamwork, then it was a sprint to the finish.

Sprinting to the end with Alex Tribe
Sprinting to the end with Alex Tribe
Crossing the line
Crossing the line

Crossing the line I was exhausted, but exhilarated, I had made it around the brutal 12km course. You then typed in your race number to a computer to get a personalised print out of your race time (1h50mins) and I picked up my dirty dozen t-shirt, hat and free beer.

Finished!
Finished!

Final results showed I came 152nd overall and 21st woman. Coming in the top 30 also means I have now qualified for the OCR world championships in the US – something I would dearly love to do and will see if I can actually get there, as that would be an awesome challenge to add into this year!