Securing Qualification in the Funnest Possible Way.
I’m all entered and paid up for the OCR European Championships in Holland at the end of June but one thing was still outstanding- my qualification. Every UK qualifying race on the list clashed with something else baring Mud Monsters Run so the decision made for me to enter. I needed a top ten finish.
I’d never done a Mud Monsters Run before mainly due to the fact that it’s a 240 miles/ 4 and a half hour round trip from home but I’d only heard good things. I made the long journey expecting to face some impressive technical obstacles such as the ninja rings which I’d done both at Judgement Day and the OCR UK Champs where it was a guest obstacle and plenty of mud as the race had won ‘Muddiest event’ at the Mudstacle awards and that’s exactly what I got.
I was really looking forwards to getting my teeth into a new race and it didn’t disappoint. The course was a one lap 10k route which came back into the main event area several times where the bulk of the technical obstacles were before spells of extended trail and woodland running which involved plenty of deep muddy pits and river wading.
I started off steadily settling into third place but soon found myself in the lead without having to fight to get it. From there I increased my pace to create a gap and made anyone who wanted to make a race of it work hard to do so. We soon reached a tyre carry which went up a hill the back down so I got a chance to see how much of a lead I had. It was about a minute but once I dropped my tyre back off I put my foot down to extend that.
I was feeling really comfortable and relaxed going through the woods. I was running at a good pace but taking my time going through the succession of mud and water ditches. There were lots of cut backs and for a long time I couldn’t see anyone behind me. Then came the serious mud!
Every few hundred meters another ditch appeared amongst the woodland and each one seemed to get muddier and muddier. This was the type of mud that your whole body sunk into and if you didn’t move quickly you wouldn’t be getting out of without help. Every step was a fight to pull a fully submerged leg another step. Some had ropes aids, others didn’t. Just as I’d finally heaved myself out of what was the longest pit I glimpsed back to see second place jumping in to it. This was a real surprise as I thought my lead was a lot bigger than this. All I could do was get a move on.
By this point there was only a couple of KM’s left to go and with all the mud I didn’t feel as though much ground could be made up but it seemed I was wrong. I couldn’t workout how this guy was getting through so quickly but I later found out that he worked for the event and had helped set the course up so I assume he knew where all the best routes through were and which bits to avoid.
Luckily the bulk of the final kilometre was back in the main event area and obstacle heavy. I arrived with enough of a lead to be safe in the knowledge that if I got through all the obstacles without a hitch I would take first place. I managed to do this cruising across the monkey bars, the ninja rings, the swinging rings and the hanging tyres and after a little more running a crossed the finish line to take the win by 2 minutes and 12 seconds. Qualification secured.
What had already been a really enjoyable morning then got even better as I got to watch my daughter whizzing round the great kids course and loving every second of it.