I came 6th in the Mud N madness adventure race yesterday, it was a fantastic event where they some how managed to combine a very tough physical challenge with adventure and a lot of fun. They did this seamlessly it was so much fun I was laughing a lot of the way often through gritted teeth because of the burning in my legs or shoulders on the 600m canoe, and it genuinely felt like an adventure with so many new and unexpected challenges like archery, canoeing , sumo wrestler fighting and more…
Me, Pawel and Aleksandra from Crossfit stags & does arrived early with the temperature at a chilly 3 degrees. On the walk to the changing rooms we got quick look at some of the obstacles we would be tackling, the water on the river crossing was completely frozen.
As always I managed to squeeze into the first heat, unlike other races we got a quick briefing on Archery (which paid off later) and how to put on a life Jacket properly and at speed.
Then there was no mucking about a 10 second countdown and we were off. Charging straight up and down a hill, then on to our first obstacle descending a large hill on a space hopper. This was my first real interaction with a space hopper on steep hill & I managed to subdue my hopper (I chose a red number) through a combination of intense concentration and bouncing. I made it down the hill with out being over taken by too many clearly gifted space hopper enthusiasts.
Once at the bottom me and a guy everyone was taunting on the hoppers called Lee sped off as we climbed another hill through trees, Lee was a quick runner and clearly one of the favourites so I tried to stay with him. After dodging several more space hoppers tied to trees and around 800m we came to a corner we came to a bit of a crossroads with a moments deliberation where I agreed left “looks good to me “ we carried on and encountered some serious mud and a lot of frozen puddles. We continued on up and down hills across the mud and ice until we came to the river. Lee had a 15m lead by this point but we both wadding across and then across a pontoon, lee had by this point dived into the water and swam to shore, but the race marshall informed me I could just stay on the pontoon so I chose this warmer option. As we both came out at around the same time 2 more marshall’s waved us down and informed us we had taken a wrong turn and should not be approaching the finish line just 8 minutes in.
We both laughed and opted to restart the race with the next wave.
So it feels a bit like ground hog day, back to the start, brief chat about the archery and life jacket then 10,9,8,7,6…
This time we start a little slower, and my space hopper skills have not improved but Lee (clearly a quick study) is flying on the hopper. Back to the woods, the hoppers in trees and then the crossroads, this time its obvious, why did we go left? We are back into the run and I am determined to keep up with Lee at least until the first main Challenge the Canoe, I suggest in between breaths that we team up and get a 2 man canoe to make up some ground. So I’m sprinting after lee so I don’t hold him back.
We both skilfully slip on the life jackets (more of a struggle in my case), and hop in the two man canoe, steering was tough as we made our way around the two red buoys either side of the massive lake. But we had plenty of time to rest our legs and had a relaxed chat about obstacle races, which Lee’s wife informed us later was comedy to listen to. We made up some good ground in the Canoe and I sped off and told Lee I would see him in a mo when he over took me. Which he promptly did and then I was largely on my own for the remained of the 4km course.
The next highlight was spotting and chatting to Pawel & Aleksandra as we ran along.
Now came the woods and loads of fun signs and random obstacles, On entering the land mine zone?! I first smelt and then passed the man who kindly shared his deep heat with me earlier in the changing room. Next signs informed me I was approaching a sumo zone? So I kept my eyes pealed for sumo wrestlers in the bushes waiting to pounce. Until I spotted both of the large lads blocking the path 100m ahead of me, I immediately took on the roll of an exhausted runner, right up until the last second where I side stepped left then right and boshed through the middle of both of them. Back to running again, the next challenge after at least a 1km run was the ice river crossing. I opted for the rope bridge for the first crossing then the wooden wobble bridge on my return. They really slowed me down as you just can’t go quick on incredibly unstable rope. So I had a good laugh with the canoeing marshals whilst doing this.
Next it was straight into the assault course jumping over and under logs, and through some very stinky tunnels, which I was dreading but quickly passed through, under some pretty severe barb wire, swinging across a ditch on a rope and then on to the Archery.
In order to move on on this challenge you had to get at least a blue on the target. So I calmly took on the poisoner of Kevin Costner in Body guard (kneeling down in the woods and shooting the assassin with his eyes closed) I knelt down and breathed in and released, Just clipping the blue line which I was informed “would do”. Next a real random bit of fun I was informed I had to dodge 4 quick kids to touch a wall behind them, if I was touched i would have to start again. So again I brought out my trusty side step and managed to make one lad fall over then Back to running.
Now was the hardest slog running wise it was around a 2km run through some seriously mud and ice. The staff were great though and I even got a high five from a kid. I decided to kick on and start running here and found my legs again.
Finally I was back to where me and Lee had been 40 minutes earlier, the lake this time my mate and race organiser Adam was there to spur me on. I ran across the tyres in the river back on to the pontoons and up a hill to the army Zone, with Adam spurring me on and a coach shouting at me I pushed hard through the 10 press, 10 burpees, 10 sit ups and 10 jump squats. The Jump squats were really tough and my legs were not chuffed at all.
Then down a hill over a few obstacles and to the crocodile run.
This was great fun and someone with a good sense of humour must have come up with this surreal scene. I grabbed an inflatable crocodile and ran out into the middle of a lake & back on a very unstable piece of foam.
Next the final stretch, a maze of metal gates and into the beer tent, I was not sure what to expect as pre race I had heard talk of downing a pint here. So my stomach was relieved to see I had to run a full barrel of beer 20m and back. I popped it on my shoulder and managed to over take someone on this one.
Next it was a sprint to the finish, diving over a hurdle of flames and across the line.
There was a great crew of athletes at the end as there always is after these fun and challenging events waiting to chat and laugh with new friends and old as they crossed the line. I had a good laugh with Lee who I later found out runs Muddy Kit (and came 2nd overall) & thanked Adam for his support.
After a shower (yes a warm shower! this event really is well organised!!) and putting on some warm clothes I met up with Pawel and Aleksandra and we grabbed a well shook up beer from the tent and went over to the Crocodile run to watch several people fall in and reflect on the fantastic fun we all had on this event. We chatted some other competitors who had taken quite a few attempts on the archery and one poor lad had to redo the run with the kids 3 times before they eventually let him pass, apparently the stubborn sumos had been reluctant to let any one pass and had been pinning quite a few people down mid race which definitely wouldn’t have happen to ex judo champ Aleksandra and 6 foot 5 tall Pawel. I must remember to ask them on Monday what they did when confronted with the wrestlers…
It was such a fun event I highly recommend it, it was also incredibly well run by One step beyond, all the marshalls and helpers made in a lot of fun. Ill definitely do this one next year, and ill maybe spend a little more attention to the directions.
Mud N madness race: http://www.onestepbeyond.org.uk/mud-n-madness-adventure-race.php
Facebook page: Muddy Kit https://www.facebook.com/MuddyKit.co.uk?pnref=lhc
Muddy Kit website: http://www.muddykit.co.uk