Tag Archives: Back 2 The Trenches

Back 2 The Trenches – Again

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!

Viki Stapley and Myself before Back 2 the Trenches
Viki Stapley and Myself before Back 2 the Trenches

Race Description

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.

The Race

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.

Clambering over the first set of hay bails
Clambering over the first set of hay bails

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.

Doing our Squats
Doing our Squats

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.

Viki and I coming down the first slide
Viki and I coming down the first slide

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.

Always time for a quick gunshow
Always time for a quick gunshow

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.

Clambering out of one of the tunnels
Clambering out of one of the tunnels

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!

Our Finishers Photo
Our Finishers Photo

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!

 

Back 2 The Trenches

Race two in June and the weather could not have been more different from two weeks ago, the day was sparkling sunshine from the moment I got up, and boy did it turn out to be a hot race. We set off bright and early and headed to Surrey to run Back 2 the Trenches in Redhill.

Race Description

Back 2 the Trenches offers three distance options, 6k, 12k or 18k. This was one of the first races that I had booked when I set out this year to do a race every month and I had picked the 12k option – although if I had booked it later I might well have gone for the full 18.

Me before setting off to race
Me before setting off to race

This was a race that was being attended by around 60 of the RPCC crew and the atmosphere at the start was really buzzing. As we waited to warm up (although admittedly some of us – me included – didn’t take the warm up to seriously, it was just too hot!) it was lovely having a chat with the huge gang of RPCCers waiting for the off – had a lovely talk with my friend Neil Phillips, who expressly asked to get a mention – and despite running with a hangover he smashed the course, so the mention was well deserved. Well done Neil!

The 60 odd strong RPCC crew at B2TT
The 60 odd strong RPCC crew at B2TT

The Race

We set off at 10am, with the sun beating down on us, and started off with a zigzaging run broken up with large hay bails to clamber over. It was really hot which made it a bit hard going, and we had only just got started.

The first section of course
The first section of course

The course took us up some pretty punishing hills, which you tended to have to wind your way up and down several times, it was hard on the legs, and if this wasn’t enough, we also got handed sandbags where we had to do two laps round a section of course before continuing.

There were two, two lap sandbag sections, and two, two lap tire carries on the 12k route, as well as having a section of woodland where you were handed a ball, then on exiting the woods you put the ball back and went round again.

There were lots of sections of ups and downs, the whole course seemed to be made up of hills, going through the woods it was a bit of a relief to get out of the blazing sunshine, and the sections going through water were really welcome.

A blessed section of flat-ish running
A blessed section of flat-ish running

There were a couple of tarpaulin slides down some hill, where they first had you go through a trough of soapy water to make sure you were good and slippery, these were fun, however I decided to take the first one head first and my left arm managed to find a hole in the tarpaulin, I got wrenched round and I have an interesting bruise and scratches on the crook of my elbow which is causing me some aggravation at the moment. It wouldn’t be OCR without a few bumps and scrapes though.

There was a pit of stinking mud/manure to wade through and some muddy pits topped with barbed wire to crawl through, which I think has added some more pretty OCR scars to my knees, and then a cargo net to clamber up and over before hitting some more hills.

Towards the end came a pretty punsihing section of up and down zigzagging a hill, which had trenches to get in and out of, tunnels to crawl through and lots of stinging nettles and thistles to negotiate as well. It also contained what looked like a tangle of string to get through – oh no – this was electrified and I got a couple of nasty shocks. I had to really psych myself up to have a second go and this lost me some time. I have said before in another blog that I am not really a fan of electric shocks at races as I don’t think its something you can train for. I got through eventually though, only to be confronted with some more a bit further round – after taking us through some water first to make it even more perilous.

Once you got through this section you were finally near the finish, you were handed a plastic grenade and told to throw it, I still haven’t really worked out why, then you had to clamber up over some tires, before another section of running round, through the tires you had just run over then down to the finish line.

Clambering over the tires near the finish line
Clambering over the tires near the finish line

After crossing the line and picking up my medal and wrist band I had a lovely time catching up with some of the other RPCC guys who had also finished while we waited for more of our friends to cross the line.

Messing around at the Finish with Linda Zeberga
Messing around at the Finish with Linda Zeberga
Messing around at the finish with Rich Pringle, Sara Williams and Lucy Warberton
Messing around at the finish with Rich Pringle, Sara Williams and Lucy Warberton

This race was hot, and tough, but really good fun. It also had some outside cold showers which was a nice touch, you don’t usually get a wash at the end. I always seem to end these blogs saying how much I have enjoyed the race but its always true. This was a great race.

I’m sitting at home now really, Facebook is buzzing with photos, I’m a bit sunburned, a bit battered and a bit bruised, especially my arm, but I can’t wait until next weekend to race again.

Some of the RPCC girls at the finish
Some of the RPCC girls at the finish
Me at the finish
Me at the finish. Muddy and Happy.