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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.