I woke up bright and early on a sunny Sunday in June to head back to the Nuts Challange course, where Pukka Races were holding their World War Run race this year. Collected by my friend Vince, along with my training partner Linda we had one of the funniest car journeys up to the race, with a lot of silliness, and snapchat banter as we were joined virtually on our journey by the gorgeous Tim Lovett, and the day was off to a cracking start before we had even arrived.
We had opted for two laps of the 5 mile course, and neither Linda nor I had put in that kind of distance for a while due to injuries, so we quickly decided to run this one together, take it a bit easy, have fun and help each other round. We joined by one of the RPCC Warriors Graeme Harrison, who also fancied taking it easy, and we set off for a reasonably leisurely run round the course. That being said, we weren’t exactly slouching either, finding ourselves overtaking quite a few people, particularly on our second lap.
It was a beautiful day, and we spent most of the race laughing as we waded through thick mud, clambered over tyres and jogged through woodland.
After two laps I was really happy that apart from a few twinges in the mud my bad ankle had held up really well, but having also been suffering with a bad back, this was really starting to make itself felt and despite the fun of the race I was glad when we were on the home straight. We had lost Graeme by this point, so Linda and I grabbed hands and did our best sprint finish, and managed to come in joint 9th girls even though we hadn’t really been racing.
Once we had, rather unsuccessfully, cleaned off some of the mud and got changed we hung around in the sunshine and sunk a couple of beers, chatting and generally messing about, until it was time to sadly call it a day.
I have kept this blog reasonably short, as I was also asked to review this race for the excellent Muddy Race website and should you so wish you can read that version here.
Having finally recovered from running the Hastings Half Marathon followed the day after by the Nuclear Races Virtual 5k, Kevin Coda and I met in the park to run a virtual 10km put together by the guys at Muddy Race.
This brief asked you to run 10km anywhere you like, with 15 reps of a different exercise each kilometre, to simulate different obstacles in a race.
You can complete the run as many times as you like in the 4 weeks that the race is open and log your times on the leaderboard, if you are of a particularly competitive persuasion, I, however, will only be doing it once, I just want the bling!
We set out on a meandering route around the park, not really worried about where we were running as long as we covered the distance, when Kev’s watch beeped us we stopped to do our walking lunges before carrying on. It was a nice day for a run, really windy but the sun was shining and in sheltered parts of the park it really was quite warm.
As we headed up towards the back end of the park we couldn’t resist hitting some of the trails rather than sticking to the paved areas, although both of us were soon shouting about wearing the wrong shoes for this! Another kilometer down and we stopped to complete our press-ups before moving on.
As we made our way down one of the trail routes we found that the aforementioned wind, which had been howling around Hastings for the last 24hrs at least, had brought down a rather large tree in our path. Rather than turn back we opted to find our way over and through it, although this rather messed up our time, it was more fun and neither of us was bothered about our place on the leaderboard.
We eventually got past the fallen debris and completed our next set of exercises, finding a nice muddy patch to sit in and complete our sit-up twists.
The rest of the run was reasonably uneventful, other than having to dodge numerous dog walkers and slip sliding through some more muddy patches with more shouts of “Wrong shoes, Wrong shoes!”
We completed each allocated exercise every kilometre, looping round to the entrance of the park a few times to make up the distance, finishing with star jumps at the end by the park gate.
We logged a time of 1:11:43, not too bad considering the tree pit-stop and the fact that neither Kev nor myself are particularly quick or gifted at any of the exercises. This was a fun way to train, with a medal to come through the post as an added bonus.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
(Most photos courtesy of Rob Foulkes from Muddy Race – check out their website for everything OCR)