Mud, fancy dress and sandbags

Muddy Furlong Christmas Cracker was designed to be a fun OCR staged just after Christmas. Only 5k in distance and with everyone wearing a choice of an elf, snowman or Father Christmas suit. It wasn’t at all competitive, there was no timing and no results published so finally a chance to just enjoy a race and take it easy. Unless you’re a Parklands Tough Running member that is.

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We decided, as we so often do now, to make things even harder for ourselves. After all we do love a challenge. So along came five 30 KG sandbags, a 70 KG railway sleeper and Tarquin the tyre (of course).

I reluctantly gave Tarquin to team mate Damian to carry and ‘volunteered’ to take one of the sandbags. Now I quite regularly train with a 20 KG bag but this was a completely different beast. Those extra 10 KG’s were heavy enough but immediately from the start were a succession on trenches filled with water and as soon as the bag got wet it added a further 10 or more KG’s.

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For the first mile I really struggled. Once the weight was on my shoulders it was just about bearable but constantly having to put it down to get over, under or through an obstacle then hoist it back up was a massive strain.

As the race went on though I began to acclimatise feeling stronger with every kilometre that passed. It was a cold winter’s day and the course involved a huge amount of water meaning whenever I was on dry land I just wanted to keep moving to stay warm. This isn’t an easy task when carrying heavy objects thought and it was very much stop/ start throughout.

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The four ladies (well three and Stephen) were doing a great job getting the sleeper round and it was us sandbag carriers that were holding everyone else up for the majority of the time. With some excellent teamwork and a lot of determination though we all made it to the finish in one piece.

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This certainly wasn’t an easy task and without the comradery from such an awesome team all the way round it wouldn’t have been fun at all.

In the end though it was a job well done. Massive respect to my fellow sandbag carriers Grant Millar, Andy Eastment, Kev Robinson and Grant Nixon. The awesome foursome of Becky Dixey, Catherine Danns, Natasha Howlett and Stephen Croft who lugged the sleeper round and Damian croft who accompanied Tarquin the tyre as well as my wife Becky who ran with us all the way helping out whenever needed.

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