This was the second round of Mud Sweat and Beer’s (MSB) four round 2014 championship held at Shuckburgh Hall.
I had won the first round so was in confident mood before it all started to go wrong. Firstly I managed to get a double tyre puncher before I’d even got out of the area I live in. This servilely delayed my arrival time and there was a point when I didn’t think I was going to make it at all but with the help of a local garage I managed to make it 15 minutes before the start.
Without anytime to warm up or have a peek at the course I was expecting MSB’s now customary wooden obstacle structures including their high tower and fun slides but not the fact that this venue brought hills, a whole lot of hills!
They had given a taster of what was to come with one long hill stretch at their last event in Catesby in March but this time the only thing breaking up the hill climbs were obstacles, a lot of them natural ones including a 50m swim across a lake.
There was very little rest bite in this race as any running sections were on thick, slippery mud and before you knew it you were met with either smelly water or another hill.
I found it surprising just how tough this event was considering there were few standard man made obstacles but this was testament to how well the course was laid out and it was also helped by heavy rain for most of the morning which also slowed down my arrival.
As the 10k race started hidden just around the first corner was a sign of things to come with the first long hill. This helped to spread the field out before we reached a large wood full of swampy water wades, climbs over fallen trees and constant up and down sections on thick, slippery mud where I took the lead.
There was then a cargo net crawl before it was up another big hill but this time we were rewarded for our efforts with a huge side to get us back down as I began to open up a gap.
This brought us 10k runners to the half way point of the first of two laps and the first of two swimming sections. This was a swim of approximately 50m and the water was deep enough to mean that wading wasn’t an option.
Swimming isn’t one of my strong points and although I made it across without any issues I found the hill climb that immediately followed partially hard as the swim had really messed with my breathing and the feelings of little twinges of cramp in both my calfs that I had but down to not getting a chance to warm up had started getting worse to a point that I had to stop and stretch them. I did this for a couple of minutes until the second placed runner had caught up then pushed on the best I could.
Just as I had gotten back into my stride I was faced with more water. This time wading was an option and the most affective choice as the water was think with waist tangling pond weed.
During the rest of the lap which was made up with yet more hills, another fun side and some of MSB’s signature wooden built A frames, walls and a tyre crawl along I did my best to keep pace with the new leader as my calfs continued to cause my some real issues.
Then came the high tower which was the start of lap two. My calfs were still tight and I’m not sure weather I was just getting used to the sharp, shooting pains or they were just easing up a little but I was keeping pace enough to still feel I was in contention for the win.
I began to try my luck and push ahead again. I was getting away on the up hill climbs but having to slow going down hill. As we came out of the woods for the final time I began the build a lead again, I cruised through the cargo net as though it wasn’t there then disaster struck yet again. This time in was the final blow.
As I stood back up from the cargo net crawl and planted my foot to sprint off up the next hill it slipped from under me and I crashed to the floor. This is not unusual in OCR’s but I had managed to find the only piece of concrete on the course to land on knee first.
Mud splashed into the face, covering my left eye but I got straight up and tried to push on. My knee wasn’t having it and my run quickly turned into a walk as the pain set in. I looked down and blood was seeping through my mud covered knee and pouring down my leg. I stopped to sit down on a fallen tree trunk and my lead was once again surrendered.
I got up after a minute or so and tried walking up what was a very steep, slippery hill. Running was no longer an option, the blood was not slowing down and the only thought going through my head was Endure 24 in 2 weeks time- the most important race of this year which I have done a lot of hard work for. I got to the top of the hill and with around 2.5k to go I made the decision to pull out.
It was only at this point that I was overtaken again but knowing I had several more hills to face plus the water again it just wasn’t going to happen.
I was gutted for my first OCR DNF but a team mate of mine but things into context with the following quote:
“Don’t risk the war for a small battle”
I hobbled back to the event village which luckily wasn’t too far away and just past the finish line was a large marquee which as well as a purpose-built bar where you could collect your free bottle of drink and medal to open it with as it doubled up as a bottle opener was first aid where I got the knee cleaned up.
I had several cuts, one which was practically deep but the initial shock of pain had eased and it was now just a case of making sure it wasn’t going to get infected. I wasn’t too worried that this was going to keep me out for too long and other than being very sore for a couple of days it was ok.
Another all round fun yet challenging event put on by Mud Sweat and Beer. Of the three I have now done this was by far the toughest, and the others were by no means easy. There were slightly less obstacles than your standard OCR but this was made up for by the cleaver course lay out and brutal terrain.
On a personal note the day was a disaster from start to finish but luckily there was no long lasting injuries and I’ll live to fight another day.