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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!