Tough Mudder

After our Black Rock 5 race on Sunday, we continued our weekend with a spot of Tough Mudder fun! Sadie and I ran this last year and decided to volunteer this year, along with my husband (which also gave us a great discount to run on Sunday!) It was a very early start as we had to be at Dalkeith for 5.45am where we were given breakfast and a typically enthusiastic TM briefing. We had volunteered for the course and got to pick our obstacle. We chose “walk the plank” which consists of a high platform jump into deep cold water. It was a pretty full on obstacle to volunteer on and as well as the three of us were joined by a further 5 volunteers, 2 safety guys, a team of around 6 divers an ambulance and some paramedics and doctors! We were given a full safety briefing and instructions on how to run the obstacle. We took our positions and watched as the divers ran a couple of trial runs hauling their dummy out the water to practise their routine for pulling bodies out of the water and then we were all set, waiting for our first mudder to appear!

We had a good vantage point where we were as mudders ran into the field, did some other obstacles and then ran out again to come back into the field at a later point in the course to do our obstacle. There were some lovely bright fantastic costumes as they started and ran past us for the first time, but as they came to do our obstacle proper, they were all the same muddy brown colour!

We spent the day either on the microphone and loud hailer cheering on the Tough Mudders, shouting “feet first and swim to the cargo net” and getting lots of muddy cuddles or atop the structure sending our mudders off in waves shouting 3, 2, 1, GO! Checking for heads to bob back up, waiting for them to swim clear and sending the next wave off. We watched non-swimmers hurling themselves off and being hauled out by divers, we watched barechested macho men back flipping and somersaulting off (not allowed! FEET FIRST!) We watched a fair few face plants (don’t look down!), we watched terrified people overcoming their fear and taking the plunge and their friends rushing to congratulate them on the other side and we had a few who climbed up, stood and peered into the deep, murky water with race numbers, straw and the odd wig floating on it and try to muster the courage to jump, but then sadly climbing back down, disappointed that they never managed to take that leap of faith.

It was a great experience that certainly shows you the good side of people, the support, encouragement and camaraderie between friends.  Everyone you meet is so full of excitement, anticipation and enthusiasm.  It also had Sadie and I excited for the next day!

Sunday morning saw Sadie and I back at TM, this time ready to take the course on ourselves. As we had volunteered the day before we got to enter for £15, which is a huge saving on the standard price and something I would certainly recommend to anyone thinking of taking part. Tough Mudder may have its detractors but they put on one hell of an event, it takes them about 4 weeks to build it, they put everything into the event and you certainly get your money’s worth (especially if you only paid £15). From the warm up, the 6 foot wall you have to climb over to get to the starting pen to the build up in the starting pen where you kneel in the mud and make your mudder pledge to ” leave no mudder behind” and chants of ooh-rah! It gets you hyped up for what is to come, and then you are off! It is 13 miles of running and obstacles some easier than others, everyone has their own personal nemesis and mine is definitely Artic Enema, a skip full of ice cold water that you have to jump in, fully submerge and duck under a partition and out the other side. This year might not have been as cold, deep or with as much floating ice cubes as last year, but I still struggle to stop every fibre of my body screaming to get out and mentally prepare myself to stick my head under and out the other side, but it’s amazing what you can do when you are sure you can’t. This year there were 30 obstacles, I won’t go into each one, my reports are long enough as it is! But Balls to the Wall, Glory Blades, Electric Eel, Hero Walls are just some of them, each testing something different but this year the mud really came into its own. I don’t think I have seen as many different kinds of mud! We were crawling through it, sliding down it, clambering up it, splashing in it, it clung to us and stuck to us and everyone was smiling and laughing and a fair few just rolling in it for the hell of it, well what else could you do? It was like a bunch of kids let loose. This is not a timed event, “its not a race, it’s a challenge” so I don’t know how long it took us this year, but around 3 hours later Sadie and I made it to the finish line, wet, muddy, cold (well me anyway), bruised and bleeding to be met with a pint and the coveted orange headband but now as we are 2 x mudders we get a green one too! Are we going for our blue headband next? Well all I can say is OOH RAH!

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5 comments on Tough Mudder

  1. Rob says:

    mein Gott as the Germans would say
    sounds bloody amazing!!!

  2. gilly says:

    Well done Mark, you did well to get up Everest with broken ribs, it’s hard enough without any injuries! Hope you heal quickly and manage to start your marathon training.

  3. BillB says:

    You’re all mad!

  4. Mark Dawson says:

    Great event report Gilly. I also ran on Sunday with my friend Billy Dickson. The Saturday volunteering was a long shift but great fun to see how so many people reacted to the sign at the side of our obstacle ‘Danger 100,000 volts!’ Some just blasted through, others had about five or six runs at it before stopping point blank, and then finally doing it, others ran round. We got called every swear word I could think of as I think the electric shock obstacles were the ones most people feared the most. The Electric Eel obstacle kept getting mentioned, so I was quite worried about that one for the next day when I’d be taking part for the discount price of just £15. The 10 hours at our post did drag quite a bit in the afternoon but then we were off to get our discount code for tomorrows event. This didn’t work when I got back online at home, but was quickly resolved manually when we turned up at 9:00 on Sunday. We saw Gilly and Sadie at the start and were properly fired up by the event guys telling us all about the course and getting us ready for the quagmire that was before us…. “Ooh-Rah!!!” The amount of mud was crazy! It was a constant battle to keep your trainers on but great fun sludging around all over the place, scurrying through tunnels and up over various obstacles. We finally came to the dreaded Electric Eel and lots of Mudders were getting zapped hard with 10,000 volts. Well it had to be done, so we clambered down into the water and down on our chests, head down as low as possible. I thankfully managed to avoid getting hit here but cries of “Ahhhh!…That’s much more sore than I thought it would be!” was making me think I’d not be so lucky at the second of the two electric obstacles. Also I was thinking I’d not feel like I was a real Mudder without the full shock treatment! I was pleased to just plunge off Walk the Plank that Gilly and Sadie were volunteering at the previous day, quite a drop just flying down! I just looked forward and leaped off without trying to think too much about it. We did fine with all the other obstacles until it came to the Heroes Walls, where I took a lunge upwards to pull myself over the top of the first wall and felt my lower left ribs crick inwards as I rested my full body weight on the top before trying to get my legs over the other side… Ooyah! I knew it wasn’t right for the last mile of the course but it wasn’t stopping me doing each obstacle. The next one was Everest, which was huge and you just had to run as fast as possible up it, and jump as high as you could to catch somebodies hand to pull you over! Billy went rolling all the way back down to my left as I took a leap and thankfully caught a firm hand, and then two, to take me over. It took Billy three goes so I was pleased by ribs didn’t get hit any more. I kept thinking I want this second electric shock point out the way but it was right at the finish line. Lots of rows of dangling down 10,000 volt cables and only one technique of getting through, full throttle and take the hits! I had a nippy zap in mind but oh no, it was a full blast right up my arm, surging down through your body, ricoshading off my hip and down my right leg, fully earthed each time! I’m not sure how many zaps I got, but at least five with a total shriek at each one! A fine spot for the photographers at the other side. We washed off as much mud as we could, then went and got our famous orange Tough Mudder head band and technical Finishers T-Shirt. We also passed the Medical tent and I thought I’d check if my ribs were broken or cracked to see how long I should take off before starting Yorkshire Marathon training, which should be this week. I was in there for about half an hour as they wanted to make sure it wasn’t my spleen that was damaged since it was on my lower left side. Thankfully it wasn’t that and there’s nothing they can do for cracked or broken ribs, so off we went. A crazy day with some of the most radge people I’ve ever come across. I’ll probably do another, Jan is eager to have a shot at it too…..Ooh-Rah!!! 🙂

  5. Sadie Kemp says:

    You bet we are doing it again next year! 🙂

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