Tag Archives: Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest

Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest 2015

In 2014 I┬átravelled to London to run Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest with a group of people from Team Muddy Race and had so much fun I didn’t hesitate to sign up to do the same again in 2015.

As we took the train from Hastings to London it started to Snow, from an unseasonably warm November to an unseasonably cold one in a matter of days, it was freezing cold with a biting wind. By the time we arrived at Wembley the precipitation had stopped but it was still freezing cold, registration was a little way from the main event village in an old Wicks building, and was as slick as I had come to expect from a Rat Race event. After registering we dropped off our bags then headed back up to the start area, which in all honesty was a bit lame compared to the previous year.

Some of Team Muddy Race before we set off
Some of Team Muddy Race before we set off

Due to the cold, I decided pretty quickly that trying to stick in a large group like last year would probably lead to problems dealing with the cold, so I chose just to run my own race so I could keep as warm as possible, I wasn’t relishing the thought of getting wet, and I just wanted to get started.

Eventually it was time for wave 11 to get warmed up and set off, I wormed my way close to the front and headed off clambering over hay-bails in the shadow of Wembley stadium, weaving up and down and a hop over a wall (it looked to be that there may have been more than one, but we were directed around the others, I believe they were shut for safety reasons, I read somewhere later that the walls were actually being moved by the wind).

The course took us up the steps of the stadium and around the outside, on one slope I hit my first big queue, not unexpected when running in such a late wave, it was at a water-slide, however there was only one side of the slide that actually had any water, the other side was dry and there was only a queue for the water side, so I decided that due to the cold I would take the faster route and ran down the second side of the slide, along with a few people, I did slide in the water at the bottom and nearly fall face first into a hay bail at the end but I managed to right myself and clamber over the bail and then crawl under a tunnel.

There was another hold up on a slope which, included a rope to help you get to the top, but wasn’t too difficult considering the queue that had formed there, this was followed by some parallel bars and a slack line traverse suspended on some scaffolding. My husband, who had come to spectate, caught up with me on a set of stairs by the stadium as we were made to carry a traffic cone up and down the stairs, before heading off into the streets around Wembley. It’s a bit strange to have to pause in a race to wait for a few passing cars!

Carrying a cone with the Wembley arch in the background
Carrying a cone with the Wembley arch in the background

Later it was into a storm drain, water no deeper than ankle height, but seriously cold. We were told to keep to the right where it was shallow, but going round people at one point took me too far to the left and I nearly fell in, luckily I just about managed to keep my balance and stay on my feet rather than end up fully submerged in the icy water. After the storm drain there was some balance beams, which were tricky as they were slippery, and then it was into the Wicks building again, I think this could have been one of the most treacherous parts for me, with the balance of a giraffe on ice and the floor slippery from wet shoes (*note – I actually have no idea how a giraffe would balance on ice, I may be doing them a great miss-justice here!)

While inside the building there was a tyre mangle to crawl through and a high wall to get over. On the top of the wall I had a bit of a moment where I couldn’t get down, I keep having mental blocks on walls, and I had to beg someone to help me down, and I still managed to land badly, luckily I think my feet were so cold that I couldn’t really feel the pain, as later when I got home and warmed up I was hobbling around for a good few hours!

Back in the event village for the last little stint there were a good few obstacles, including a hang tough made of beer barrels, a hang tough made of the more usual rings, (however this was shut due to someone coming off and getting injured – hopefully they are OK), some very high containers to clamber up and over, with a cargo net to help you down the other side, and a large structure that you had to climb up then jump off onto a huge inflatable pillow. No matter how hard I tried though I could not convince myself to get over the edge, I was up there for quite a while trying to get up the nerve to do it, It wasn’t even that it looked that bad, but I couldn’t do it – sometimes you really do need someone else there to encourage you, so in the end, I climbed back down and walked around it, feeling a bit like a failure.

At the top of the ledge, before I climbed back down
At the top of the ledge, before I climbed back down

By now there was not to much left to do, a crawl under some netting that also contained some giant balls, a hoist, a rope climb (that no surprise I didn’t complete) the large survivors wall near the finish where I had yet another melt down and needed a stranger to help me get down, and a travelator which had a massive massive queue. Right at the end was a large inflatable water-slide which was sadly closed, I heard the marshal say that it had been blowing and flinging around in the wind and was unsafe. This just left a run down the side of the slide to the finish line.

Stuck on top of the survivors wall
Stuck on top of the survivors wall

It’s fair to say I didn’t enjoy this race as much this year as I did last year, that being said I would still do this race again, but I would try and make sure I had at least one person to run it with. At some point I will be back to try this again, as I have a score to settle with that jump. In the mean time, I think I need to practice getting off walls, just need to find one to practice on!

Rat Race: Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest

Up early on a cold and damp Saturday morning in November meant another race day had dawned, so it was on with my kit, bag packed with supplies and off to the train station to meet up with some friends before travelling up to London to take on Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest with Team Muddy Race.

Race Description

Survival of the Fittest London is a 10km urban obstacle race run around Wembley Stadium. Three trains and several dodgy conversations later and we were at the registration tent, where we were told by one of the volunteers that we knew that the Muddy Race team were gathering in the bar so once we had got through the well organised registration we headed off to the bar where we were greeted with some rather lovely cakes (Muddy Races 3rd Birthday) and a lot of hugs and laughs.

Team Muddy Race getting ready to run
Team Muddy Race getting ready to run

With cake and maybe a little bit of beer before we started off, it was clear that we were all about to take this race really seriously, so with game faces on we made our way to the warm up area.

Taking the warm up seriously
Taking the warm up seriously

The Race

We waited until the back of our wave to allow for pictures of us setting off, then jogged up to the first obstacle which was a set of hay bails, followed by a vault up and over a lorry. It was clear from the offset that this race was going to be nothing but fun, with a group of 12 of us all sticking together and generally being a bit silly.

Team Muddy Race bringing up the rear
Team Muddy Race bringing up the rear

This was a great venue for a race, weaving your way around the iconic Wembley stadium, up right around the outside, we stopped to pose for the go-pro in front of the “Green Car Park” sign, then a giant cone carry up and down some of the many stairs. A slip and slide down one of the ramps and a quick pit stop on top of the hay bales at the bottom to pose for an official group picture, somewhat annoying the guys behind us as we blocked the obstacle a bit – oops.

After this we headed out away from the stadium where they even found some mud for us to get dirty in and some water to wade through.

A sandbag carry under some fencing, through mud, up a slight hill, with road shoes on was more difficult than it should have been, but a slide on top of the sandbag back down the other side was quite fun (probably not the way you were supposed to do it). A bit of criss-crossing some water, getting out through some slippery mud. A slide through some inflatables that must have been a bit more impressive earlier in the day as when we got there most of them had been deflated.

As we came down one section I was told by one of the guys who had already run once that next up was a basket ball dunk – I thought this was a joke as we were about to pass a small court, however that was exactly what you had to do, three attempts to shoot a hoop – I failed!

A bit of messing around on top of a table and a stop off in a play park to go on the slide (We thought we would add in a few more obstacles) and we were having a blast, and impressively managing to keep all 12 of us together.

There was a climb down some ladders into a stream to wade through, which gave me a wobble from the height, a really dark storm drain to run through, with everyone around whooping in the dark. A little later I was told we were going into the disco room – again I thought this was a joke, but into an industrial unit we went, which was dark, filled with smoke, pumping music with strobe lights. We danced our way through and back out again before heading back towards the stadium.

The obstacles were packed together towards the end, we climbed up and down tall towers, up ramps and over platforms, always finding time for a cheeky photo opp.

Bit of a pose on top of an obstacle
Bit of a pose on top of an obstacle

As we weaved around the final obstacles, we were taken into the beer tent carrying a keg, and then we hit a lot of walls. With a big team it was no problem, helping each other up and over walls and up the big pyramid at the end.

At the bottom of the pyramid
At the bottom of the pyramid

We had a crawl through a tyre mangle which looked like it had claimed more than its fair share of peoples race numbers (thankful for my X-Racewear shorts as I’ve not lost a number all year) and a splash through a pit of water and we were nearly done.

Popping out of the tyres
Popping out of the tyres
About to take the plunge
About to take the plunge

Finally all that was left was the Wall of Fame, we all helped each other over, in fact I was lifted bodily from the ground by Mark Allen and Ben Weeding pulling me up by my arms, then we gathered for a group finish.

About to cross the line
About to cross the line

I can honestly say this was one of the most fun races I’ve done. It seemed to take no time at all to cover the distance, and I barley noticed the miserable weather.

When we were finished there were more cakes and drinks before we headed off for a well earned team Nandos!

Enjoying a Muddy Race Birthday Cake
Enjoying a Muddy Race Birthday Cake

(Most photos courtesy of Rob Foulkes from Muddy Race – check out their website for everything OCR)