I woke up on Sunday morning, after very little sleep, slightly achy, tired and already with numerous bruises, some of which were quite painful. I dragged on my race kit, shoved some clean clothes into a bag, forced down some porridge and headed out the door to meet my friend Viki who was to be my race buddy for the day. We arrived with plenty of time at the race venue, and I slipped out of my flip-flops into my still muddy and wet 212’s. I posted on Facebook that this was like a small form of torture. I had a bruise on the top on my left foot, and on the heal of my right which started hurting the moment I pulled on my shoes and just walking down to the registration tent was painful. This was going to be a long race!
This time around B2TT had the option of a 5km or 10km run. Viki and I had chosen the 10km distance, although I was somewhat regretting this decision as I hobbled towards the start line.
Registration was a simple process but there was quite a long queue when we arrived so it was a good thing that we had arrived with plenty of time. Once we had got our race numbers and timing chips we went and watched a few people coming into finish their races then made our way over to start our race.
As we waited to start, the previous time I had run Back 2 the Trenches came back to me, the hills, the laps with sandbags and I seriously started to wonder what I had been thinking, but by then it was too late, and it was time to get warmed up.
B2TT had changed the course around since last time, but the start still involved a run and a vault over several large bails of hay before taking us up some hills and through some woods.
The hills were as brutal as I remembered, and this time with the added struggle of painful feet and fatigue from the races the previous day. It felt like slow going and as we had opted for a later wave we got caught up behind other runners quite a bit.
When we got to the first sandbag carry I was pleased that it was not lapped, just a decent length carry before continuing. The race was predominately trail running, but with natural obstacles such as trees to clamber over and around, and hills to navigate.
When it came to the first barbed wire crawl I felt like crying, I didn’t want to get down on my already bruised legs. I did the most unusual, and probably inelegant crawl through the mud, and in all honesty it was not done with my usual gusto, but we were soon clear of the barbed wire and on our way again.
We eventually came to a section where you had to press a tyre 20 times before running up a hill, back round and then squat with the tyre 20 times. This at least gave me a little break from running before we carried on towards the first of two slides.
At the top of the slide was a trench filled with water getting you good and wet to speed up your decent. Again I wimped out a little at this point, and instead of diving down head-first I went on my bum and tried to slow myself down as much as possible. I didn’t want any more scrapes and bruises than I could help.
Once off the slide it was up and down what felt like endless hills before hitting slide number two. Again I tried to take it slowly but unfortunately the lady behind me lacked patience, came hurtling down after me and ended up kicking me hard in the back, at which point my sense of humour failed for a bit, and I staggered off without acknowledging her apology, for which I’m a bit ashamed, as it wasn’t really her fault, and normally I would have just laughed and helped to pull her out of the water trough we had landed in.
We carried on, clambering over a fence and some more hay bails and by now I was just thinking longingly of the finish line. Viki had started chattering about burgers, and I couldn’t wait to take off my shoes.
We soon hit the section I remembered from last time, which snaked up and down a field on a slight incline, with narrow lanes containing muddy trenches, tunnels, some electrified string to navigate, as well as a lot of stinging nettles. This section can get a bit repetitive, especially as we knew it was near the end and we wanted to get finished.
Before we could finish we had to make our way across a cold bit of water, which I could just about wade, but Viki had to swim, once out it was onto the home stretch, some tyres to clamber over and a fire jump that we attempted holding hands, but they slipped as we were still a bit wet, then through the tyres and grabbing hands again we crossed the line. For me it was a very hard won medal, although I did enjoy the race, I found it tough after the exertions of the day before, and the first thing I did when I finished was pull off my shoes!
Once we were finished we had a quick change of clothes and then finally got that burger that Viki had been chattering about. Three races, once weekend, done… and I would say never again, but I’m signed up for another three next weekend… here we go again!