What an amazing run!
We set out bright and early from north london, 6 of us in various states of wakefulness……
The weather was not great, overcast with occasional shower, but the BBC had said it would rain and the showers would then blow over so I was happy for the rain to be happening while we were in the car.
The journey to Tunbridge Wells was easy enough but the little town is not made to withstand 2000 people in cars passing through it on a Saturday morning. This bit took us close to an hour, but on out the other side we’d arrived at the site of the event.
Our wave of the race was 10.30 we had about 30mins to park the car, queue for the loo, hand in car keys for safe keeping and get to the start. We made it just in time to see Jel warm up our wave of the race as only he can.
Then we were off! It was chilly in the wind so it was good to be moving. We set off at a gentle jog over the 10km course. We, consisting of me, Nikki and her mum were not expecting to run the whole way – a mixture of my injury and Nikki’s mum not being a huge fan of running (not that she isn’t capable!)
The obstacles have now all blurred into a mass of tyres, mud, water, muddy water, a mud bog, electricity (although thankfully not tough Mudder style) mud, crawling in mud, and water.
Several key things stick in my mind, firstly it was a beautiful run through really pretty countryside.
Then there was the mud (have I mentioned that?) it was involved in a lot of the obstacles.
The best/worst being a massive wide pathway of knee deep mud that we were advised to run straight through the middle of, which we did until various people ahead of us stopped and so we had to stop and then we were stuck…. Nikki was off to one side and had to drag her foot from the mud, but leave her shoe behind, she tried to dig the shoe out but sadly it is stuck forever, but with only 1 shoe she managed to get to the side and out…. Next up was Nikki’s mum, stuck in front of me but slightly too far in front for me to be able to reach her and help, several attempts to gain freedom were interspersed with her just sitting on the mud (later revealing that it was warm, comfy and that she knew eventually someone would come pull her out) eventually Nikki decided it was time to stop laughing and sprang into action. Second shoe came off and back in she came, this time with the help of a lovely man the two of them managed to unstick the stuck and out she came! Finally it was my turn to be rescued, I think the problem was that once both feet sunk in the mud the suction had you, the whole run through the middle thing worked as the suction couldn’t get hold, but it had got me and so Nikki had to wrench my leg/foot from the mud and then I managed to get the other one out and get going again – stressful times all round.
Poor Nikki had to continue with just 1 shoe, Nikki’s mum had been truly stuck in the bog and then my turn came for ‘disaster’. I was half way over a big hurdle thing (some kind of a horse jump) when a man bumped into a man behind me who the proceeded to knock me over the jump and onto a combination of my head and my back, thankfully after a few seconds all appeared ok and I was back on my feet thanks to the man who’d bounced me over the jump, apologies all round and we were on our way.
There was also a lot of water, into and out of streams, up banks, sliding down very muddy paths and banks into more water and muddiest of all wading almost chest deep through a really murky stream – imagine water full of bits of rotted woodchip and mud and you’ll have an idea!
I have to say I loved all the water and mud, infact all the obstacles, but the best was saved until last we had to climb up the side of a steep hill over a water and fairy liquid covered tarpaulin (not that exciting) but at the top we were greeted with the cheeriest of familiar faces – Josh – one of my favourite (but mean) BMF instructors. I treated him to a massive hug and the we ‘ran it in’ together to the final challenge – sliding down the hill on a similar piece of tarpaulin – mission accepted – the fun-est thing EVER, all the way down and over the line!
It had, at some point in the run started raining, gently at first and then more persistent, not that we really noticed, but as we headed up the hill to collect out medals and goodies we started to notice it. Then we realised we’d done it, we’d finished and yet they still made us climb a hill to be truly done!
The top of the hill brought a final surprise – the lovely Jane of Slinks fame – it has to be said not in her Slinks in a muddy field in late October, but still looking amazing as ever, there she was handing out t shirts and in return for my not handing out another muddy hug agreed to take our photo!
I have 2 minor moans about the run, 1) they ran out of cups at the first water station, thankfully there was still water, so in true BMF style we drank from the bottles (not letting them touch our lips of course!) 2) the men trying for a good time – they felt it was totally acceptable to just barge between 2 people and push them out of the way, no ‘excuse me’, or ‘coming through’, or ‘sorry’ as people were scattered left and right in their wake. It was a shame as over the rest of the course everyone was so friendly, stopping to help people stuck in mud or to help each other out of the rivers and onto the banks
3 other highlights were seeing our friend Mel out on the course as a marshal, the 2 BMF guys with jelly babies near to the final run up to the finish (an amazing sugar rush) and one obstacle where the marshal described our actions as ‘unconventional’ and ‘not at all how the obstacle was supposed to work’. It was team work at its best- a series of floats across the water- a bit like how they divide lanes in a swimming pool, we were supposed to have to climb over them or duck underneath, instead they were picked up, held over our heads and passed backward, so all anyone had to do was walk underneath them!
We managed to complete the course in 3 hours, quicker than Nikki and her Mum had done in March earlier this year, so happy all round, we had gone out to have fun and we’d achieved that 100%