Tag Archives: 6km

Return to Dirty Dozen – Dirty Dozen and Dash April 2015

The first Dirty Dozen weekend of the year dawned bright and breezy, the sun was out, but there was a chill in the air as we got ourselves ready to race. As usual a large number of RPCC people made the trip to the Hop Farm in Kent to run either the 12k or 6k race, or for some of us, both.

Getting ready to start with some of the usual suspects. Photo credit: Tony Jarvis Photography
Getting ready to start with some of the usual suspects: Photo Credit: Tony Jarvis Photography

 

 Dirty Dozen – 12km

We gathered near the start line just before 10am, the atmosphere was buzzing, MC Mark Leinster, getting us all to link arms, jump up and down and shout, this was followed by a warm up run by Bootcamp Revolution, which I completed with my normal gusto, (in other words dancing around and not really doing what I was told) then it was time for Doug “The Beard” Spence to be introduced, count us down and we were off. Starting with a run which took us across some fields and before long we were headed through some trees, mud and into the first of many river wades. This was followed by some high mounds of mud to clamber over.

Clambering over the muddy mounds
Clambering over the muddy mounds

Next came a stretch of running, winding up and down hills until you came to a large wooden box to climb up, over the top and back down the other side before heading down a hill and into “Bitch Ditch” a series of muddy water pools with heaps of slippery mud to try and climb over before you went down the other side back into another murky pit of muddy water.

Coming down one of the banks with a grin
Coming down one of the banks with a grin, Photo Credit: Epic Action Imagery

Once you had negotiated the ditches it was on to the first barbed wire crawl, as usual over some hard and bruising ground. Up until this point I had been running by myself, and I started to wonder why I was bothering, in the back of my mind were the big walls I would be facing at the end, and remembering how demoralised I was when I did the 18km by myself back in September, so I just stopped running! I waited at the end of the barbed wire crawl until I was caught up by my friends Dom Wright, Vince James, Kevin Coda and Ella Roberts. I then continued the race with them.

Once I had joined up with the others I started having much more fun, we weren’t racing for a time or position, we were just there having a laugh and it was wonderful. We hit another river wade, it was energy sapping and felt like it went on forever, every time you climbed out a quick turn and you would be back in again. We did however take the time to pose for a few (hundred) photos!

Taking things seriously with Vince, Dom, Ella and Kev
Taking things seriously with Vince, Dom, Ella and Kev

Once we had finally clambered out of the river and had a bit of a jog, we were under a second set of barbed wire, taking it seriously as always we yet again stopped for a few photos.

Isn't this how everyone does a barbed wire crawl?
Isn’t this how everyone does a barbed wire crawl?

Over some box hurdles next and a bit of a running stretch, where we jogged along at a comfortable pace and had a natter, found ourselves in yet more streams to wade through, then eventually found ourselves at the “screwball scramble.” A very wobbly cargo net strung up between the trees. This is my least favourite dirty dozen obstacle, high up and feeling unstable, the others talked me down and after a couple of hugs we were on our way again, back into more water.

Next was a really long log carry, my log was a manageable weight however and it was without much difficulty that we got round this section, and ran on to find ourselves confronted with the hangover walls. With a boost I was up and over with no problems, but Kev took a knee to the face when he stopped to help another racer. Another jog then took us onto the tyre drag. This was another long section, through uneven ground, water and mud.

Dragging my tyre - I called him Steve
Dragging my tyre – I called him Steve

We finally got to give back our tyres and re-grouped then headed off for another little running section which took us past a rope traverse obstacle that we got directed around by “The Beard” himself, they were just closing it “for maintenance” so we ended up going straight into a section of cold, deep water and eventually to the “smoking barrels” A set of 4 rows of barrels floating on the water that required you to fully submerge yourself. Ella was feeling nervous about these so I took her hand, and positioned her between myself and Dom, counted her down 3, 2, 1 and together we took a deep breath and swam under the first set of barrels.

Coming out from under the barrels with Ella and Dom
Coming out from under the barrels with Ella and Dom

 

The same tactic took us under the other sets of barrels, before we then swam to the edge and clambered back out onto the bank, before getting out though Ella and I recreated a photo we had taken at Nuclear Blackout – although this time photobomed by Vince and Dom.

Posing in the water
Posing in the water

Shortly after the barrels was the sheep dip, three walls set into a pit of water, which again required full submersion, but these didn’t feel too bad after the barrels and the water was certainly warmer! After the sheep dip was the Tarzan bars, which I predictably failed, earning myself 20 burpees, Then we were off heading towards some of the big obstacles that Dirty Dozen is famous for.

The first of these was the containment II, a container with a wooden frame built around it to climb up, the catch being that the frame is built at an outwards angle to make it harder, this was followed by giant wooden A frame and then the irish table, a few leg-ups and we were all over the top. A run around the final field then took us to “Hang ’em Heigh” A tall wall that you climb with the help of a rope. Every other time I have done a DD race I have needed a bit of a push to help me up this, but I’m really proud to say that this time I did it alone.

Climbing up Hang 'em High
Climbing up Hang ’em High

A short trot later we came to the “Bladder Ladder” another very tall wooden structure, that we just had to sit at the top of and have another photo.

Suns out, Guns out!
Suns out, Guns out!

This left us with just a final run down to the last wall. This time they had added a little ledge at the bottom of the wall to make it easier to get over, and there was only this one big wall this time. I needn’t have worried so much at the start of the race. We were finally done and it was time to grab a quick drink, and our race goodies before getting ready to go again for the 6k race.

12km Run Completed
12km Run Completed. Photo Credit: Epic Action Imagery

 

 

Dirty Dash – 6km

This time I again teamed up with some more of my RPCC family, rejoined again by Vince James, along with my frequent training partner Linda Zeberga and Chris Williams. We were going to be taking this slowly, Linda having picked up an injury, Chris also having an incredibly sore ankle, and me with my usual niggles, but despite this, I was about to yet again have a whale of a time.

The race started out the same as the 12km, this time a bit slower and if possible ever more posing. The Bitch Ditch was harder this time, after being churned up by everyone running the 12km earlier in the day, even with superbly grippy shoes I had to be hauled out of the last ditch.

Stopping for a photo on Bitch Ditch
Stopping for a photo on Bitch Ditch Picture courtesy of Tony Jarvis Photography

Under the barbed wire and back into the rivers, not quite so endless this time, but much more muddy, it was more like wading through waist deep sludge rather than water. We spent a conciderable amount of time in here, as we kept stopping for photographs and messing around. Vince going for a full muddy splash, and me thinking it would be a good idea to try and get a piggy back, before knocking both myself and Vince into the mud.

Danger Deep Water
Danger Deep Water. Photo Credit: Tony Jarvis Photography

After wading through the river, under a few bridges, on one of which I managed to bang my head, it was time to clamber back out of the stream and continue on our way. The 6k route skipped out the second barbed wire crawl, tyres, logs and hangover walls, so before too long had passed we were back to deep water swim and  the smoking barrels.

Swimming across the water with Linda, Vince and Chris
Swimming across the water with Linda, Vince and Chris.

At the sheep dip we ran into David Beatty, and once we had posed for yet another photo it was back off to the Tarzan bars, which I fell off yet again, and then it was the home straight over the big walls.

Posing after the sheep dip
Posing after the sheep dip

Again the big walls posed little problem, a little leg up required on the Irish Table from Chris, but the wall with the rope was done on my own again, we predictably stopped for a photo on the bladder ladder and we were nearly done.

Posing again with Linda, Vince and Chris
Posing again with Linda, Vince and Chris

The little run towards the final wall was little more than a slow jog with everyones injuries, aches and pains playing up, and having run 18km, we still arranged it so we could get a picture of all four of us at the top of the final wall before crossing the final finish line.

On the final wall
On the final wall

We were finally done, and got our finishers photo with Doug Spence before going to get our race goodies and bags from the bag drop. There was quite a queue here so I’m glad I had my hubby around to hand me my dryrobe straight away, as there was the potential to get very cold had I left it in the bag drop, but other than this the day was brilliant. I don’t know that I’ve had so much fun at a race before. I can’t wait for my next one.

6km Finishers Photo
6km Finishers Photo

 

 

Dirty Dozen UK Championship Weekend

I spent the week before this weekend hobbling around on painful feet that I had earned the weekend before running 3 races over one weekend and clocking up 34km of racing in 2 days so I wasn’t in the best shape come race day, and with the prospect of another three races it’s fair to say I was more than a little worried.

As I pulled on my x-talons they pushed in all the places it already hurt and I struggled to even walk out to the car, but I shifted them around as much as I could and eased up the pain in one foot, I just hoped that the combination of pain killers and adrenaline would work for me as it has done before, and that when I started running the pain would ease.

The RPCC crew before the race
The RPCC crew before the race

Race Description

The Hop Farm in Kent, where we had completed the Dirty Dozen back in April, was the venue for the three distances being offered over the weekend. The 12km race was being held on the Saturday, with the 18km followed by the 6km on the Sunday.

The race was well organised, as I’ve come to expect from Dirty Dozen. As we arrived in plenty of time registration was quick and easy, wavers handed over and race packs given out. Parking is free and smoothly organised by the marshals and the event village had a great atmosphere on both days.

The races are always well hyped on social media, and so we already knew it was going to be tough, especially as this was also the UK championships. When booking the 12k race I had originally hoped to beat the time I had set in April, but with my feet throbbing before I even set out, and a more difficult course this time round I decided before I even went to the start line, that the new aim was just to get round in more or less one piece.

Dirty Dozen – Saturday

After a race briefing and warm up we were off, and adrenaline was doing its job, my feet hurt but I could run, maybe not at my best, but I was moving. We quickly hit a muddy section in some trees when disaster struck and my shoe came clean off in the mud. I had to stop to dig my x-talon back out of the mud, and get it back onto my foot before starting off again and trying to pick my way back through the people who had overtaken me.

Soon after the muddy section were a couple of hangover walls, where I got a handy leg up and was able to navigate, this was followed by some small hills and a  big wooden box to climb up and clamber over. A crawl under barbed wire over hard mud and then it was into the ditches, an energy sapping clamber up, over mud, into muddy trenches, where you have to haul yourself out just to start again.

Clambering over the mud and into the first trench
Clambering over the mud and into the first trench

Following a run there was a fire jump, and then another section of running, with a few clambers into and out of streams to keep things interesting. Eventually you came round to the sheep dip, a deep trench of water with a series of walls set below the water level that mean you have to completely submerge yourself to get underneath them. At this point I had managed to catch up with my friend Lauren and we continued the race together.

It was a short run round from the sheep dip to the monkey bars, which were so slippery with mud and water that I found it impossible to hold on, so it was straight into the water, which earned  me my first set of burpees. Then it was on to the “2 smoking barrels” obstacle, a deep lake with barrels across it that you had to swim under to continue. Once you had clambered out of the lake it was onto the traverse wall. I was doing ok at this, well over half way, when the lady behind me stomped on my foot and sent me into the water, another set of burpees for me!

After a bit more of a run we hit a tyre drag, which was followed by a section of tyres on the ground to hop across, once these were navigated there was a run round to a log carry through a section of woods.

There was a pretty long section of running, and my feet were really aching, but Lauren stuck with me and we held a pretty steady pace.

We hit another barbed wire craw, only this time thankfully there was some softer mud beneath it, leaving us covered but not too banged up, and now it was time to start hitting some of the high obstacles that Dirty Dozen is famous for, but which I was dreading due to my fear of falling off high objects.

The climb up a shipping container using a wooden “ladder” at a slant was challenging but manageable, but not long after this came the cargo net. I pulled myself up, and shaking managed to get over the top with the encouragement of Lauren. By now we had also caught up with another well known OCR runner Mark Allen who very selflessly cost himself time helping me over the remaining walls.

At the Irish table, a wooden structure with an overhang Lauren and Mark hauled me over oh so elegantly with my cry of “just grab my arse” and then it was over the bladder ladder, a high wooden ladder that actually wasn’t too bad as it feels very stable.

Myself, Lauren and Mark on the Bladder ladder
Myself, Lauren and Mark on the Bladder ladder

This was followed by a large wall called hang ’em heigh where you pull yourself up with the aid of a rope (and maybe a push from a kindly friend) Once this was navigated there was a run around the edge of what felt like a large field, and then you were faced with the first big wall, I was terrified, and it took a lot of help from Mark, Lauren, and encouragement from Tom Nash one of the marshals to help me over the top, then it was a relatively short run back round to the finish, but before we could cross the line unfortunately there was one last giant wall to climb.

Lauren talking me down from the final wall
Lauren talking me down from the final wall

Helped over by Mark and talked down by Lauren, we grabbed hands and finally crossed the line.

I was really happy when I got my time and found that despite the lost shoe and painful running I had actually managed to achieve my goal of beating my time, taking 13mins off and I had managed 24th girl to boot, not bad for a hop-a-long.

Saturday Aftermath

After the race there was an amazing atmosphere, the RPCC crew all hung around to watch each other finish (and have a few wheel barrow races) and of course take a few obligatory after shots.

Some of the RPCC gang at the end of the Dirty Dozen
Some of the RPCC gang at the end of the Dirty Dozen

When I eventually got home I was straight into my compression gear, a bit of ice on my feet, and a bit of food then it was time for an early night

Dirty Destroyer – Sunday

The next morning I headed back to Kent, along with my friends Linda and Chris, ready for our second day of racing. I swapped my x-talons for my mudclaws hoping that they might not put pressure in the same places, this worked to an extent, but Its fair to say I was starting the race in even more pain than I had the day before.

Myself with Chris and Linda before the 18km Dirty Destroyer
Myself with Chris and Linda before the 18km Dirty Destroyer

We mustered up for the warm up and set off. I was struggling from the off and quickly got left behind by Linda and Chris, but at least this time my shoes stayed put in the mud.

For the most part the race was the same as the day before, but broke off for more running with a few more obstacles thrown in around the extra parts of the course. Unfortunately for me some of these extra obstacles were more giant walls, and hitting these by myself without friends or encouragement almost broke my spirit.

As well as the extra walls there were a set of lower walls to hurdle over, and an over and under obstacle.

Rolling under the wall
Rolling under the wall

I was struggling to get my running up to a reasonable pace and felt myself falling further and further behind, I was finding the obstacles more difficult than the day before and being alone was sapping my spirit.

Struggling to get myself out of a simple ditch
Struggling to get myself out of a simple ditch

I managed to rally myself for the fire jump, but failed both the monkey bars and traverse wall again, earning myself a few more burpees along the way.

My Fire Jump
My Fire Jump

My feet were starting to really drag, on one of the longer stretches of  running I tripped over a root and fell flat on my face, I stayed on the ground for a couple of beats before dragging myself up and carrying on.

Eventually I came round to the final section, I hit the cargo net and by the time I was at the top I was in tears, I was scared, tired and hurting and I just wanted to be finished. I sobbed my way round the next section of running, but pulled myself together and took the help offered to me by my hubby/personal photographer who had been following me round, to get over the final set of walls. I was so nearly there.

Wall Gun Show
Wall Gun Show

The last wall was finally in front of me and with the help from hubby I was over the top and could finally get over the finish line.

This effort to complete the 18km meant I had done one of each dirty dozen distance in one season and earned me the medal of honour, my hardest earned medal yet!

Dirty Dozen Medal of honour
Dirty Dozen Medal of honour

I came round from the finish and found Linda and Chris, and got ready to take on the Dirty Dash 6km race.

Ready to go again with Chris and Linda (and a cheeky photo-bomb by Obstacle Kit's Tim Lovett)
Ready to go again with Chris and Linda (and a cheeky photo-bomb by Obstacle Kit’s Tim Lovett)

Dirty Dash – Sunday

As we prepared to do this final race, my body was giving up, and I kept looking over at the final big wall. I really didn’t think I had it in me to get over them again. I finally had to admit, I was just to broken to continue. Right at the last second, as the warm up was starting I pulled out. I was devastated. I had never pulled out of a race before, and never wanted to but running this race would do me more harm than good, and I have the rest of the year to think about.

Chris and Linda went out though and completed the 6km in a great time considering they had both just smashed the 18km race.

Myself, Chris and Linda after they had finished the 6km race
Myself, Chris and Linda after they had finished the 6km race

At the time I didn’t even want to look at my race result, but it turns out despite a poor run I still managed to come in 18th place for the ladies which is not bad at all considering how badly I struggled with the race.

We hung around for a while after the race, had some food, and, of course a few more photos and then it was time to call it a day on an epic weekend of racing. Farewell Dirty Dozen, until next time.

Final finishers photo. (L-R Chris Williams, Linda Zeberga, Tom Smith, Doug Spence, Helen Carrington, David Beatty)
Final finishers photo.
(L-R Chris Williams, Linda Zeberga, Tom Smith, Doug Spence, Helen Carrington, David Beatty)

Dirty Dozen Races: Dirty Dash

Today I got myself up bright and early to take on my second race of the weekend. I had decided to take the trip to Essex to complete the Dirty Dash race to enable me to have a go at all three distances offered by Dirty Dozen Races this year, having already completed the 12km race in April and with both their 12km and the 18km race booked in for September. After tweeting about booking this race I was asked by OCR superstar and elite athlete for Obstacle Kit Race Team Faye Caley to run with her and some “lovely ladies” she was bringing down, which was an offer I happily accepted.

Myself with OCR royalty Faye Caley and Dirty Dozen Chief Doug "The beard" Spence
Myself with OCR royalty Faye Caley and Dirty Dozen Chief Doug “The beard” Spence

The Race

Due to a really good drive with very little traffic, I arrived nice and early at the race site, set at Barleylands Farm along with my hubby, designated driver and photographer for the day.

The 6km course took in a fair few of the obstacles offered from the 12km race the day before, and I have heard some rumours that the 6km course was more like 8km, which makes a nice change from people moaning about races coming in under the advertised distances.

As to be expected from a Dirty Dozen race, it was well organised, with named race numbers, writs bands, and bands for your bag. Registration was easy with alphabetised registration tents, and the event village had a bar, bag drop, food and toilets, everything you need.

Me waiting to start - a bit chilly
Me waiting to start – a bit chilly

 

The Race

We set off at a leisurely pace as this was to be a fun run and not a race, with a nice run to stretch the legs and warm up across a field, all too soon though we were up against the “Barbed Belly” obstacle – a bruise inducing crawl under barbed wire, over hard, bumpy mud, meaning that you need to keep low to the ground, but makes crawling on your stomach, hands or knees very uncomfortable.

My trying to crawl through the Barbed Belly Obstacle
My trying to crawl through the Barbed Belly Obstacle

This was followed by a wall traverse across a pit of water, with the promise of 20 burpees if you fell off. Back in April I fell straight off this, but I had watched the Mudstacle video on how to do this obstacle, I griped with my toes, took my time, and made it across without taking a dunking.

Making my way across the wall traverse
Making my way across the wall traverse

After triumphantly making it across it was a short run to the next obstacle of the Monkey Bars. My jubilation on not getting wet was obviously short lived, as I managed about two bars before splashing down into the water. Then as I was already wet I went back for seconds to help a team mate who was a bit hesitant, my theory being, look how bad at this I am, you can’t possibly be worse 🙂

Just before I splashed down
Just before I splashed down

There were several rivers to navigate and a bit more running before we hit the rope traverse over the river. Again I had looked at the Mudstacle video before the race, and knew the theory, but theory and ability are not always well matched. It took me three attempts to hook my feet around the rope, but after that it was reasonably simple, you kind of slid down towards the river whether you wanted to or not. Once hitting the water you were advised to put your feet down and pull yourself along backwards using the rope, which is exactly what I did. By the time I had got to the other side I felt like my arms were going to fall off, but I had made it, and was feeling pretty good about it.

Starting the River Traverse
Starting the River Traverse

After crossing the lake, we had a bit more of a run, a log carry, and a second barbed belly to contend with, much to Faye’s upset, as she would have rather have taken on the overhang walls which we could see in the distance from the 12km race. There was a lot of wading through rivers, and, at this point I’m forgetting the order of the obstacles, but we were subjected to the sheep dip, three walls to pull yourself under causing you to get fully submerged in water, a cargo net (obviously one of my favourites as I love heights), and a wall climb over a goods container where the wooden “ladder” is at an outward angle.

As we headed back towards the finish line there were yet more river wades and then it was back to the lake that we had crossed during the rope traverse, this time you had to swim out to section of barrels which you had to swim underneath, before eventually coming to a platform to haul yourself onto.

Me Swimming under the barrels
Me Swimming under the barrels

Once out of the water it was another little run along to the big walls and  towards the finish. In April I had struggled with these, suffering with cramp and then a crippling fear of heights, so I was very apprehensive approaching these obstacles, however with help from the team I was running with, I managed first to clamber up the wall with the help of a rope and climb down the other side.

At the top of the first wall climb
At the top of the first wall climb

After getting over this obstacle, it was a short run up to the Irish Table, a lower wall with an overhanging edge making it more difficult to get up and over. With a lot of help from my team mates I managed to get up and over this obstacle and then it was time for the huge wall. No ropes, no foot holds, just a huge wooden wall. I was honestly shaking at this point, but having failed in April I really wanted to get over it. Again with a whole lot of help from the people I was running with, I was given a boost and more importantly the encouragement I needed to get myself over the wall. I nearly froze at the top, unsure how to get myself back down, and in all honestly, it wasn’t a very graceful dismount, falling most of the way and landing on my bum, but I did it!

Me at the top of the last wall, with James Ruckley.
Me at the top of the last wall, with James Ruckley.

After the wall it was a short run up to the finish line, where we got a finishers photo, grabbed our hats, t-shirts and beer, and headed off to get changed.

Finishing the Dirty Dash (L-R Helen Carrington, Samantha Curtis, James Ruckley, Scott Brown, Lisa Broadley, Doug Spence, Faye Caley, Elbie Brown)
Finishing the Dirty Dash
(L-R Helen Carrington, Samantha Curtis, James Ruckley, Scott Brown, Lisa Broadley, Doug Spence, Faye Caley, Elbie Brown)