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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