On Saturday 22nd March 2014 I made the short journey to Catesby, Daventry for Mud Sweat and Beer (MSB) obstacle course race with positive expectations having competed in their last event in Adstone just 3 months previous.
There was a long drive way to the event HQ were I got a preview of some of the course and obstacles that were to come to wet the appetite further before reaching the warm up area then heading to the start line.
Both the 5k and the 10k (which I was competing in) started at the same time so with the wave of a giant Great Britain flag by the event organiser all 219 runners were off.
From having a quick look at the early parts of the course during my warm up I knew that there was a narrow ditch coming very early on so I made sure I was among the early leading group as we reached this which was closely followed by an early dip into chest deep water.
A muddy running section followed which spread the runners out before reaching a swamp to wade through and a bridge to crawl under where i moved into the lead and started to pull away. Then the real fun began with a huge slide! This was followed by a swim across a lake, some cargo net crawls, then up and down some hills in a wooded area.
Next up was a stretch along a muddy, wet trench with a whole succession of man made wooden obstacles that have become an MSB trade mark and I though these were really well placed to break up the running. At the point I’d built up a good lead and was really enjoying myself without feeling any pressure.
It was then along the drive way which headed back to the event village area and another slightly different lap followed which began with an MSB classic, the high tower.
This was where the course took a different route to the first lap which was a clever move to stop any congestion in the later stages. This lap featured another water side and an interesting section by a disused railway tunnel before reaching a huge hill on thick, ploughed mud that brought the course back onto the 5k lap. When reaching the top of this hill I was able to look back and see that nobody else was in sight which gave me the confidence to know that I wasn’t going to be caught.
This allowed me to let up on the pace a little and enjoy myself even more than I already was and this was a great course to do that on with the sides and water sections that were well placed for supporters to view.
As I ran through the finish line and handed in my chip timing tag there were showers to clean the mud off and a barn to warm up in where free Bulmers cider was on offer which could be opened by a very unique medal that doubled up as a bottle opener.
I stayed for a couple of drinks to celebrate what I later found out was a win by 5 minute and also another team victory for my group PJR who also won individual and team gold in the 5k so it was a great day all round.