Tag Archives: monkey bars

Pukka Races: Only Fools Ride Horses

My second and final race in July required a bit of an early start and a long drive, for what was a actually a very short and small race, however knowing how much fun we had at Pukka Races last offering, and knowing we were going to be getting one of the coolest finishers medals I’ve seen yet, we decided to sign up – and It turns out, it was totally worth the trip!

Race Description

Only Fools Ride Horses was an un-timed 4 mile run in Colchester over a cross country equestrian course, with, as you may be able to tell from the name, an Only Fools and Horses theme. The website made it clear in the description that it was going to be a race with very little mud, but that it was going to be FUN!

Me at the start of OFRH
Me at the start of OFRH

We arrived in plenty of time, and the registration process was smooth, leaving us with plenty of time to “prepare” for the race. We took our race preparation extremely seriously, there were photos, then some more photos which were getting increasingly silly, there was a serious discussion about how we were going to tackle the race, most of which came down to us agreeing not to take it seriously, and to try and get the best photos we could. This lead to an even more important discussion about what poses we were going to do whenever we saw a photographer – and the phrase “Poses over position” was born (Quote Vince James)

Us at the Start with Race Director Sean (L-R Kevin Coda, Dominic Wright, Chris Williams, Vince James, Cat Denning, Helen Carrington, Sean McNamee)
Us at the Start with Race Director Sean
(L-R Kevin Coda, Dominic Wright, Chris Williams, Vince James, Cat Denning, Helen Carrington, Sean McNamee)
A bit of piggyback fun With Dom, Kev and Cat
A bit of piggyback fun With Dom, Kev and Cat

In between all the photographs we were enjoying the tunes from the DJ tent, we did quite a lot of dancing prior to the warm up – which was probably a mistake, I was exhausted before we even set off!

After the warm up we got to the front – not to give us a competitive edge, but to make sure we were in the pictures, and then we were off!

In the Starting line up  (Picture courtesy of Pukka Races)
In the Starting line up
(Picture courtesy of Pukka Races)

The Race

This would be a fantastic race for someone who wants to try out an OCR for the first time, there were no scary or particularly difficult obstacles, so this race would be accessible to everyone. That being said, it shouldn’t be underestimated, and was still a challenging course.  We set off over a field and down a hill – which is always worrying as you know you will have to climb back up one at some point.

At the sight of the photographer at the bottom of the hill we jumped into our agreed lunge pose – although we think he may have missed us – and then ran on. As we went through the race we naturally split into smaller groups, and I ran this race with Dominic, Chris and Vince. Despite agreeing to take it easy, we didn’t slouch and found a good pace.

The race consisted of running the cross country route, which was interspersed with horse jumps to clamber over. This was a unique and fun twist on a race. There were also some “Delboy surprises” one of which involved getting whacked with inflatables by two guys dressed up as Batman and Robin as you ran past, and another was getting squirted with water pistols, which was actually very welcome as the day was hot and humid. I also liked the touch of having a few areas with loudspeakers playing Only Fools and Horses clips.

More usual obstacles to navigate were a cargo net crawl, a sandbag carry up a hill then back down, and a slip and slide, which is always a favourite.  Again at the slide we planned our poses and gave it a good go on the way down, then stopped at the bottom for another attempt at the lunge shot.

A final run and a few more horse jumps brought you back towards the start line, where the 35ft of monkey bars were waiting for us – and a 5 burpee penalty if you fell off. All three boys swung across these with ease – and I managed about a third before falling off and doing my burpees like a good girl. We re-grouped at the end of the monkey bars, grabbed hands, and sprinted to the finish line together.

Chris, Vince, Myself and Dom after finishing the race
Chris, Vince, Myself and Dom after finishing the race

Normally this is where I would wrap up and sign off, but I’m adding another section to this one…

The After Race Shenanigans

Once we had watched the others finish, we went into photo overdrive, there were group shots, selfies,  and group selfies. We got ourselves changed into our new, bright yellow, pukka races finishers tees and had ourselves a well earned drink (we had the foresight to stick a large bottle in the car) then we went for the customary after race burger.

After race abs!
After race group shot
After race group selfie
After race group selfie
After race gun show
After race gun show

Instead of heading home at this point, we went back to the monkey bars. I had remembered a work competition to read in an unusual place, so after being able to convince someone to lend me their kindle, and with a little help from my friends, I was back up on the bars having a casual read!

My entry into my works summer reading competition
My entry into my works summer reading competition

Obviously we couldn’t stop there, so we spent a bit more time “monkeying around”

Cat, Vince and Chris "Hanging around" after the race
Cat, Vince and Chris “Hanging around” after the race

I enjoyed this race so much, there really was a great atmosphere and I got to spend the day with some lovely people. I will leave you with one last picture – us all just hanging around.

Hanging around at the end of the race
Hanging around at the end of the race

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!

Warrior Run

The third and final race for March took place on another sunny day, along with my training partner Viki we were also joined by Phil Carrington, Garry Stapley and Rachel Poile to complete this 6km obstacle race located near Brighton.

Race Description

Viki, Phil and I had run this race before back in October, which was all of our first obstacle race. In October I had set a time of 1h9mins and my aim for the day was to beat this time, although I knew it was likely to be tougher this time round, as it was wetter, colder and they had added in more obstacles.

We arrived in plenty of time and got ourselves registered, this was fairly well organised into different heats and it was easy to get our race packs and timing chips sorted. Since we had some time we then headed back towards the cars to take a look at the main obstacle field.

Warrior run selfie while we wait to start with Phil Carrington, Viki Stapley, Garry Stapley and myself
Warrior run selfie while we wait to start with Phil Carrington, Viki Stapley, Garry Stapley and myself

 

 The Race

It’s fair to say that I was not feeling well this day, I had a stinking cold and if it hadn’t been for charity I would probably have dropped out, nevertheless I was excited at the start line, as I had really enjoyed this run back in October.

Right from the off we could tell they had changed the course a bit, it wasn’t straight into a stream this time, but the hurdles and then a clamber over the hay bails were the same although as a twist this time we also had to clamber over a truck!

Then as before it was a run up a hill, a log carry and onto a long stretch of running, this is where I realised how unwell I was feeling, I was feeling sick and worried that I would have to drop out – so I gave myself a mental shake, I told myself that this was for charity, I decided that it didn’t matter one bit if I beat my time or not, and that I just needed to get myself to the finish.

The log carry (Pictures from Sussex Sport Photography)
The log carry
(Pictures from Sussex Sport Photography)

There was a section through some woods, and a nice crawl through a wet muddy tunnel and some monkey bars to navigate (penalty press ups for me as I fell down!)

There was an added section through some pretty deep mud, up and down some muddy hills, and onto the obstacle field.

The obstacle field included several walls to get over, a high tire wall, a fire jump, rope clime (more press ups for me) some crawling and a wall to traverse.

The Tire Wall climb (Photos from Sussex Sport Photography)
The Tire Wall climb
(Photos from Sussex Sport Photography)

Then it some more hills, a pretty epic slide, more crawls and then another section of up and downs. There was a pretty shear bank to abseil down which was pretty scary, and then some deep water filled pits to jump in and climb out of, which I happened to reach at the same time as my hubby, so we got some great pic’s of us leaping together into the murky water.

Phil and I taking a leap into the unknown (Picture Courtesy of Sussex Sport Photography)
Phil and I taking a leap into the unknown
(Picture Courtesy of Sussex Sport Photography)

After this there were some more ups, downs, crawls and running through water. The winter rains had definitely increased the amount of water to get through. Towards the end the water had been pretty deep the first time, but there had been something of an island between two pools, not this time, it was one big pond to swim across, before hauling yourself with the help of a rope, up a steep incline.

Just coming out of yet another steam  (picture from Sussex Sport Photography)
Just coming out of yet another steam
(picture from Sussex Sport Photography)
Swimming through what was an island last time! (Picture from Sussex Sport Photography)
Swimming through what was an island last time!
(Picture from Sussex Sport Photography)
Pulling myself up the bank (picture from Sussex Sport Photography)
Pulling myself up the bank
(picture from Sussex Sport Photography)

After you had made it up the bank, it was a short run round to the finish, but before you crossed the line it was over two more big obstacles, including trying to get up a tarpaulin covered slope that was wet and slippery.

Once I had crossed the line I went to check my time, sure that it would be way over last time, but to my surprise I had actually knocked 11 mins off, and I had just about managed to do it sub 1 hour with a time of 58mins, which just goes to show how much fitter I am now, despite being quite ill on the day. When the final results were released It transpires that I also came 9th woman and 34th overall for the 6km.

This is a great race, and good for beginners too. You can also push yourself more if you want to with 12 and 18km options.

Me and Viki rocking our medals
Me and Viki rocking our medals