Tag Archives: Pukka Races


I started June in a caravan in France, with my family, stuffing my face with endless french baguettes, washed down with plenty of french wine and I came home feeling very chubby and unfit, so I dived straight back into training and eating well – and that lasted at least a week before my motivation took a little dip, and a few nights out crept in, but you have to have a life! The weekend after we got back from France though it was time for another little race, in my local park, the 10km Race for Life.

Hastings Race for Life 2016

Last year this was run in beautiful sunshine, but this year couldn’t have been more different, with torrential rain before we started that lasted the whole run. This year I was also missing my running buddy Linda who was off on her holidays, but who had left me strict instructions to come first this year!

I headed off and to my surprise did actually find myself quite near the front, felt quite good running for a change and just set off in my own little world. As I started my second soggy lap I was joined by a gentleman on a bike, who was actually a marshal pacing the front runner all the time it was safe to do so, and who told me I was now in first place, as everyone in front of me had been running 5km. I pushed on, but soon hit the first of the 5km walkers, so had to slow down and do a lot of weaving around big groups holding umbrellas, while panting “excuse me, excuse me” as I tried to get passed! No one overtook me though so I did actually manage a first place, if only race for life was actually a race! Better than this though was the fact that I had run my fastest 10k, and know I could have shaved some time off that without the ducking and weaving.

Despite the rain, it was still a fun day, with a great turn out, raising money for a good cause, which is always worth getting out of bed for.

Race for Life 2016
Race for Life 2016

Following Race for life came another couple of weeks of overeating and maybe a few two many nights out, and a complete dip in motivation when it came to training, but I did manage to run a half marathon distance in a storm one day, so this month hasn’t been all disaster, despite what my mean old bathroom scales are telling me. It was time to do another race, this time my third World War Run.

World War Run

I had chosen to do this race because I had had so much fun last year, but I was extremely nervous as the day came around as It was to be my first obstacle race since I quite publicly declared myself out of the world of OCR at the beginning of the year, and my ability to actually do obstacles certainly hasn’t improved in that time!

Before the race with the RPCC guys and Christie Wright Photo by Epic Action Imagery
Before the race with the RPCC guys and Christie Wright
Photo by Epic Action Imagery

Still the moment arrived when I found myself on the start line with some of the guys from RPCC including the main man, Richard Pringle, himself. We set off and I actually found myself running with Rich for a bit, slaloming up and down round a field before it was into the first ditch, quickly followed by a series of extremely muddy trenches, where Rich kindly helped haul me out of the slippery mud pits. I lost him at the tyres at the end of the section as my foot got caught up and I took a while to untangle myself, then it was off into the woods and into streams. I was quite enjoying myself so far. A not surprising failure at the monkey bars and hang tough rings, but everything else negotiated fairly easily and I was quite enjoying myself.  I had all the normal wobbles on anything high, especially as things were also slick with mud, but I quite surprised myself by doing the firemans pole without any hesitation (before plummeting too fast to the floor as this too was slick and slippery!) and  struggled to haul myself up a set of metal tubes with the help of the rope, but I got there in the end with the help of the marshal.

My enjoyment dipped quite a lot at the paintball gauntlet, I couldn’t see though the mask I was handed and it’s so hard to breath, and run, in a full face mask that you can’t see through, all the time wondering when and where you would end up getting shot. I actually managed to get around without taking a hit, but I felt myself on the verge of a panic attack and was so relieved to hand the mask back and move on.

I really enjoyed the longer stretch of running, after the sandbag carry, switching back through the woods, then through some streams, bushes, and mud. I seemed to have lost everyone at this point, I even wondered if i had managed to get myself lost, but it seemed I was still on the right path as I came round to the beginning section again, back into the trenches we had started with to get re-coated with mud that had seemed to get even more sloppy and sticky, then round and over some different types of walls to the start line, to do it all over again for the second lap of the 10mile race.

Negotiating a muddy stream. Picture courtesy of Geoff Caten
Negotiating a muddy stream.
Picture courtesy of Geoff Caten

I did start to question my decision to do the longer race, I was tired and aching, and it had been a very long time since I’d pushed my body in this way, however as I made my way round for the second time it was great to run into some people that I knew who had started running later and were mostly just doing 5miles. A quick hello to fellow RPCCer Tracy Archer as we met at they tyre wall, where I also saw Nuker Scott Smith as I came back down. The best mid-race hug, possibly ever, from Mudstacles very gorgeous Tom Nash at the paintballs, Wrongen leader Vince James and his beautiful lady Brigita (whom had got me to the race in the first place) were run into at a second tyre wall, my RPCC friends Zoey Jenks and Sinead Jeavons accompanied me over a couple of cargo nets and through some very muddy ditches, and finally a second pretty awesome and much needed hug from race director Sean McNamee at the final wall before the finish.

All in all I was so delighted to see that finish line, I had enjoyed myself, but I had found it tough, and a lot less enjoyable running alone than I had the year before running it with friends. A day on and I’m aching all over, and not sure that any race is worth the lack of mobility I’m suffering though today but turns out I did managed 12th place lady which i’m pretty pleased with and I had a great day, therefore I have decided that although I will certainly do more OCR’s in the future now, it won’t be on the scale of the past few years.

RPCC finishers super selfie
RPCC finishers super selfie

June has ultimately finished how it had started, over eating, and over drinking, and feeling a bit un-fit, but I’m giving myself a mental shake today, I’m stronger than my demons, and I’m pulling it back in July… So far I’ve got a calendar full of social engagements and no races, but I’m going to sort that out and start making an effort to eat clean, at least in between all the socialising, as in one months time I would like to head into August feeling fit, not fat… watch this space!

Pukka Races: Only Fools Ride Horses 2015 – Zoolander Style

You know what I love about Pukka Races? They don’t have ridiculously early start times! This means that despite the two and a half hour journey to Colchester, we didn’t need to get up at 4am to take the trip.

Being that we are usually some of the first to rock up to a race, it was with some surprise that we ended up in quite a long registration queue, it moved fairly swiftly though and it wasn’t too long before I had my number ready to go.

I decided last minuet to join in with some friends doing a “Zoolander” run, rather than go it alone, and I was quickly handed a headband and found myself having face-paint smeared over my cheekbones!

Blue Steel!
Blue Steel!

Due to the registration queues the race start times were pushed back by 10mins or so, but we were soon setting off in the second wave, with a little light jogging and a lot of strutting, and posing for photographs.

"I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking..."
“I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking…”

The run itself was a 4 mile loop around a cross country equestrian course, where most of the obstacles are made up of the horse jumps, meaning a variety of different, lowish hurdles, well spaced and fairly frequent. In addition to these were a wooden frame to climb, a high metal A-frame, a cargo net crawl, sand bag carry, 8ft vertical wall, an inclined wall and some monkey bars.

Oh, we were supposed to jump these?
Oh, we were supposed to jump these?

As we, very slowly, made our way round the first lap there was a lot silliness as, at any moment, our leader Darren would shout out “sashay” and we would have to go into our best catwalk walks until told otherwise, and if you have watched the film Zoolander you will know that he cannot turn left, so at each left turn we came to on the course we would have to go right in a circle to navigate the corner, much to the amusement, or bemusement, of other racers.

As we came to the wooden climbing frame and metal A-frame we hit some obstacle queues, so rather than get bored, we ended up making a pyramid of bodies with some of the people around us, as you do!

Queue for an obstacle? Make your own!
Queue for an obstacle? Make your own!

Once we had cleared the obstacle queues it was on round the field until we were confronted with Batman and Robin holding foam pads blocking our path. We unleashed the “Blue Steel” on Batman, who promptly fell on his back unable to withstand the shear amount of beauty that was before him, Robin however was less moved by our performance and put up more of a fight, he was no match for 9 Zoolanders though and we continued to the cargo net crawl.

"Well I guess it all started the first time I went through the second grade. I caught my reflection in a spoon while I was eating my cereal, and I remember thinking "wow, you're ridiculously good looking, maybe you could do that for a career."
“Well I guess it all started the first time I went through the second grade. I caught my reflection in a spoon while I was eating my cereal, and I remember thinking “wow, you’re ridiculously good looking, maybe you could do that for a career.”

After the cargo crawl we hit the sandbag carry, and a few more horse jumps and then it was time for the slip and slide, we shot down the soapy wet tarpaulin in pairs landing in a grassy muddy tangle at the bottom.

"Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty."
“Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty.”

After the slide it was the home straight, just a few more horse jumps and then you were back in the starting field and faced with the two walls, the guys helped me up and over and then we were off down to the monkey bars. I hopped onto these not really expecting much, intending to give it my best shot and fully anticipating falling to the ground as usual, but this time I just didn’t let go, it took a while, and I thought it was game over in the middle where I found a slippery bar, but I clung on, swung my legs, and eventually I was at the end. I had made it, for the first time ever in a race I had finally conquered a set of monkey bars!

"This has been an emotional day for all of us. I think we should get naked"
“This has been an emotional day for all of us. I think we should get naked”

We then sashayed to the finish line and posed, before 4 of us set back out again for our second lap.

"Derek that was unbelievable!"
“Derek that was unbelievable!”

The second lap was much quicker, we actually ran, and we didn’t get held up on any of the obstacles this time, the slip and slide was now even more muddy, leaving me pleasingly filthy despite this being a race low on the mud factor. Around the last fields, over the last few horse jumps and up and over the last two walls.

Hauling myself over the wall with a little help from my friend Ben
Hauling myself over the wall with a little help from my friend Ben

Finally it was onto the monkey bars again, I didn’t think I would do them twice, I was tired now, and the first time was a bit of a fluke  matched with pure stubbornness of will, but I surprised myself a second time by not only completing them again, but doing it quicker than the first time.

"Oh, Snap!"
“Oh, Snap!”

Then it was a run down to the finish and finally across the line this time. Once again this was a race that was full of fun and laughter and a whole lot of silliness. Pukka Races delivered yet again, and it’s why we keep going back for more.

" Just because we have chiselled abs and stunning features, it doesn't mean that we too can't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident."
” Just because we have chiselled abs and stunning features, it doesn’t mean that we too can’t not die in a freak gasoline fight accident.”


Pukka Races World War Run 2015

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.

Vince, Linda and I on the way to World War Run
Vince, Linda and I on the way to World War Run

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.

Graeme, Myself and Linda posing for photos mid race
Graeme, Myself and Linda posing for photos mid race

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.

Team work makes the dream work
Team work makes the dream work

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.