Pukka Races: World War Run

Third and Final race in June, and bringing the first half of this year to a close was Pukka Races World War Run, a race to commemorate 100 years since World War 1. This race was set in East Grinsted, not far from home,  and with an 11am start it meant that for once it didn’t require a crack of dawn start.

Race Description

This race was a 5mile (8km) obstacle race, with a WW1 theme, which as well as the usual clambering through mud, through woods, streams and obstacles, also included a section where you got shot at by paint balls – not something I was looking forward to if I’m honest.

The RPCC crew were out in force again today, with somewhere in the region of 40 members of RPCC, as well as a few friends from further afield joining us to race. Thanks to a deal on last minute entries we ended up with a really good turn out for RPCC on the day.

Some of the RPCC crew getting ready to race
Some of the RPCC crew getting ready to race

Registration was straightforward and painless, there was a decent warm up, only I need to stop standing at the back of these as I never know what is going on, and the only thing I think they could have done with was a few more toilets (there were only 4!)

Before the race, with Bob Cornford, Kevin Coda and Cat Denning
Before the race, with Bob Cornford, Kevin Coda and Cat Denning

The Race

We set off at 11am, it was a warm day, not as hot as last week, but still warm enough, through a field, into some woods and pretty quickly through some mud, and when I say mud, think thick, deep clay like mud that sticks to you like glue, and that you disappear into up to your knees. There was an awful lot of this mud throughout the 5mile course, where you think you are going to be OK and next thing you know you are almost up to your waist.

I seemed to have real trouble remaining on my feet in this race, losing my balance in the mud quite frequently and having to crawl my way out. I found the first half of this race really tough, I wasn’t feeling too well and I felt like I was running at a snails pace.

There was a sandbag carry up a quite long hill, before coming back down the other side to drop it off, then having to run back up the hill to carry on, and later in the race you were required to carry an ammo box up and down a hill as well.

Other obstacles included scaling a few different types of walls – a couple of very high timber frames, a tyre wall and a very tall wall that had a grips on it to help you out. If you have read any of my other blogs you would probably already know that I am not really a fan of heights, but I just went for it today and scaled each obstacle without too much drama. I did require two attempts and help from a couple of friends (Bob Cornford and David Beatty) and a marshal to get me over the top (and back down the other side) but I did it, and I’m quite proud of myself for not giving up.

There was a lot of mud, I’ve mentioned it already but it bares repeating. There were places where you had to run through it, wade through it, and crawl through it, sometimes with barbed wire over the top to force you down onto your front and forcing you to crawl. At one point I almost lost my shoe – and considering how much it would cost to replace my inov-8’s this could have been a disaster! Luckily David came to my rescue once again and helped me out of the mud, along with my shoe.

At the paintball section you were handed a face mask to protect your eyes and sent off round a short section of running, I jogged up the first side, then paused behind a bush to catch my breath… then ran like hell! I had to hold the mask on as it was too big, and it was awkward to breath so heavily in as you ran, but thankfully I made it to the end of the section without taking a hit – Many of my RPCC friends were not so lucky, I’m sure there will be some good bruises tomorrow.

By this time the marshals had started to tell me I was about the 5th or 6th girl through, this really spurred me on, along with the constant encouragement of David, whom I seemed to be playing tag with.

There were stretches of running, and a few hay bails to clamber over, and some welcome streams to try and remove the mud. The only real criticism of the race I could make was the one water station part way round was unmanned, not obvious, and someone said empty – I just ran straight past it, even though I could have done with a gulp of water.

As we neared the end, I caught sight of the finishing arch and decided to give it everything I had left… and promptly tripped over a tree root and did the most spectacular face plant into the dirt- think a tree falling! After a bit of a giggle on the ground and shouting back to the spectators who seemed both concerned and amused, I got up and pushed on.

Just before the finish was a set of monkey bars. I have never completed a set before but this time… was no different. My hands were slick with mud, as were the bars, and I managed two before falling to the ground, leaving nothing left but to head to the finish.

Falling off the Monkey Bars - At least I tried!
Falling off the Monkey Bars – At least I tried!

Crossed the line, and grabbed a hug from my friend Linda, who always seems to pip me to the post by a minute or two, and another hug from David, who was amazing in keeping me motivated in the second part of the race, then it was time for a quick wash down.

This race, like last weekend, actually had a shower, it was cold, but it was there, and it was nice to strip out of my muddy top and have a wash down. Then it was time for the post race war stories, and general posing and sillyness as we cheered on the people coming in behind us.

Some of the RPCC girls, smashing some top 10 spots, and our friend David Beatty
Some of the RPCC girls, smashing some top 10 spots, and our friend David Beatty

Pugging my number into the computer at the end of the race, I was really pleased with my time, especially as I wasn’t feeling all that great to begin with. 54mins, with a place of 56th overall and 6th place girl.

Myself and Linda Zeberga  Finishing in 5th (Linda) and 6th (me) place for the girls
Myself and Linda Zeberga Finishing in 5th (Linda) and 6th (me) place for the girls

In the end, despite having had a bit of an iffy start, a combination of not feeling fully fit, and some personal issues I had been having in the week, I had a really great day. I had a lot of fun, especially at the end of the race, and got to catch up with some people I don’t get to see often. I’m looking forward to running another Pukka Races event next month, but next up is The Obstacle next weekend – after I’ve been at a wedding the day before – the next one could be messy! Bring on July!