Triple Tough Mudder
If you mention obstacle course racing to anyone who isn’t in the know they will give you a puzzled look. Mention Tough Mudder and the vast majority will then know exactly what you are talking about. It’s by far the world’s biggest OCR brand and although not billed as a ‘race’ but a challenge all about ‘team camaraderie’, something that can put me off a little due to my competitive nature, it was coming to my home county so I felt I had to be there.
It also fell at a time, only two weeks after my 24 hour race, where I was happy to not be pushing my body to its limits again so soon. That said, what was planned to be a relaxed Sunday run around the 12 mile course turned out to be a full weekend involving 3 laps (one with an extension) getting progressively faster as I clocked up 37 miles and earned 5 of the event’s trademark headbands.
I’d told a friend that I would run with him on Sunday but only a few days prior to the event I was told my media pass was now for Saturday so after swapping a few things round and rushing through work Saturday morning I made it to the venue and met up with my Muddy Race team who I was going to be doing the course with. There were 6 of us in total and two of the guy had hand held cameras to shoot some footage for the website (www.muddyrace.co.uk) as we went round. Because of this it was quite a leisurely pace and we were lucky enough to be able to have a go at some of the obstacles several times. My favourite, Hang Tough for example, which I managed to complete three times in a row.
It was a great day running round while catching up with Muddy Race’s chief editor Rob Foulkes who I’d not seen in person since Tough Guy in January and getting to know the other guys from the team including Conor Hancock who at 20 years old has already put in some race performances to put himself right up there as one of the UK’s best at this sport and I’m looking forwards to racing with him in a more competitive environment in the future.
We ended up finishing the course in around 3 & a half hours where I was rewarded with my first famous Tough Mudder orange headband and a beer. It was a beautifully sunny day so it made a nice change to just be able to hang around soaking up the atmosphere after an OCR rather than having to rush back to the car to get out of my wet clothes and desperately try to warm up.
It was a really good course inside the lovely Boughton house grounds. There was a lot more running than I expected of a Tough Mudder course but the big obstacles I was looking forwards to certainly didn’t disappoint. I absolutely loved the giant water slide, walk the plank and the hang tough obstacles and also the cage crawl which involved submerging my head and whole body under water to get into the cage then laying on my back underneath metal caging with only my face free from water and pulling myself along for around 50m without being able to see where I was going and where the end was. I thought I would hate this but once I’d got myself in I actually enjoyed the feeling of gliding along the water.
I enjoyed myself so much that before leaving I went to the media tent to find out if I could use my wristband to get in again the following day to which they said I could so on Sunday I was back for more.
This time I was in the first wave at 9am so had a clear run in a more familiar ‘race’ situation being in the first few but kept to the pace of my team mate Steve who had also ran Endure 24 solo two weeks previous. He had the advantage of having my knowledge of the course from the previous day and as crazy as it sounds we had planned to do two laps (24 miles) but when we arrived at the Everest obstacle it become apparent as to why this was a team challenge.
The previous day the top of this obstacle was lined with fellow Mudders pulling each other up but this time it was just myself, Steve and one solitary volunteer. Steve made the first attempt in vain then I had a go. I thought I had it but as I jumped for the summit expecting the volunteer to grab by hand but he didn’t and I was back down for attempt number 2. This time he did catch my reaching hand and I was up. Steve tried, tried and tried again but his 5 foot 4 inch figure just didn’t have the reach to clutch our fully stretched out arms. One attempt resulted in a face plant back off the boards and then his sixth and final attempt resulted in a nasty landing which kept him down for several minutes needing medical attention.
To his credit he got back to his feet and jogged the final mile even running through the Electric shock therapy obstacle as we finished in a very respectable 2 hours 20ish. Steve had to go to hospital a day later and found out he had several broken ribs so full credit to him for finishing but this obviously ended any ideas of another lap. I on the other had was still feeling pretty fresh and as another wave had just started I went straight off to do it all again.
I was feeling very strong as I overtook runner after runner and decided to hit this lap hard. Other than avoiding the two electric shock obstacles (twice is more than enough in one weekend) I cruised through each and every obstacle with no problems and pushed myself on the running sections. I swung through Hang tough for the fifth time, and savoured the moments as I flew through the air from a great high and hit the water on my new favourites Walk the plank and the huge side.
I ran through the finish line and was awarded with my third orange headband which I could show in the finishes tent to collect a green headband for x2 Tough Mudders and a blue one for x3. Not bad for a weekends work.