In the last couple of months I have done a couple of these “Obstacle Course Races” or “mud runs”, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to share my experiences of the two and explain how they differed.
The first run that I did was called The Major Series, it’s usually between ten and twelve kilometres long depending on the route (this year I believe it was only ten kilometres, due to the farm owner restricting what they could or couldn’t use) and there are three of them of in different areas of the country twice a year, the midlands one was at the merevale estate, near atherstone. This one was the easier of the two I feel, firstly because most of the running in it seemed to be across open ground as opposed to across narrow, slippery and difficult terrain. Secondly there were fewer people doing it so there weren’t many people to try and get around. Thirdly and finally I felt there were fewer obstacles to tackle and they were as difficult to tackle, the running between the obstacles seemed longer, not just compare to the one I did last sunday, but another major series run I did last year. Although I did have fun doing this run, I did feel like it could have been harder.
The second run that I’ve done this year is called The Wolf Run it’s held in two different places four times a year, twice in warwickshire and twice at stanford hall in leicestershire. This one was a lot of fun and it was a challenge, this is the run I raised money for, I chose to raise money for the mental health charity Mind, they provide services and help to those with mental health problems, having personally dealt with depression I felt that it was a great cause to raise money for, in total I raised £220, so pretty decent going.
I found this run quite challenging, unlike The Major Series a lot of the running was on uneven ground through woods and around the edges of fields. There seemed to be a lot more more mud to get through and not just ankle deep, there were mud sections that were chest deep, they were energy sapping. When your crawling through mud however deep it is, there is only one tactic to getting through it, spread yourself out and try and move as quickly as possible. There were other obstacles as well, including monkey bars, a few climbing walls and hay bails to climb. There were several “water obstacles”, these were several rivers and streams, these like the mud sections, range from ankle deep to waist and even shoulder deep. These were quite fun to get into, but also really cold so it was important to keep moving. I did think my swimming was ok, but these obstacles proved that I might not be the strongest swimmer.
One of the most fun obstacles on The Wolf Run was the Water slide, unlike in The Major Series, it wasn’t just a tarpaulin on a hill with some soapy water chucked on it. This one was a bit more substantial being built on a frame and having a pump to get the water back up to the top. The idea of this obstacle, was essentially to chuck yourself down it head first down the slope and into a giant puddle at the bottom.
All in all I think these types of events are great amounts of fun and a good challenge, both physically and mentally. I would thoroughly recommend doing these sorts of events to those who want to challenge themselves or those who want to give themselves a goal to train for. Thoroughly enjoyed doing it and I want to do more of them now, I have caught “the mud run bug”and can’t wait to get a few more under my belt.