The Shropshire Mud Run – just another step in the right direction – Kathryn’s Blog
Shropshire Mud Run Series – Hawkstone Park 2013
Epic, Gruelling. Hills, Mental, Fun, Challenging, Crazy…Just a few words people have used to describe the first Shropshire Mud run…
I’ve been training with Tom from Ultimate Fitness Experience for 12 months and have spent this time pushing myself out of old habits and comfort zones so when I heard about the mud run series I knew I had to enter. This event seemed to have a good feel about it , despite having a competitive edge it was marketed as being fun to do and knowing how Ultimate Fitness Experience work I knew it wouldn’t disappoint.
Registration for the event was hassle free as the website was user friendly and it was a quick and simple process, meaning there wasn’t much time to change your mind whilst registering! The website also gave a good insight into the race as well as a sneak preview video.
As the mud run got closer, I had my fears, it wasn’t the distance of the run, it was the mud, water and obstacles I was having reservations about, I really wasn’t a fan of any of these. The week leading up to the event seemed to send my Facebook time line into melt down, everyone was talking about it, the people who hadn’t entered seemed to be regretting it and now wanting to be part of it, this made me realise I was going to be part of something a little bit special!
The day of the event had a real buzz about it, from the minute I arrived at the Hawkstone Park Follies there was a real feel of excitement and anticipation, I don’t think anyone really knew what awaited us! Thankfully the weather was just right, not to hot and sticky and not to cold and wet! The checking in process was smooth and quick, a race number and chip were allocated and everything was set to go!
Everyone made their way to the start line for a quick safety briefing and warm up, ready for a prompt 10.30 start! I have to admit at this point I was little bit worried by the steepness of the surroundings, I’d never been to the Follies, (I didn’t even Goggle it prior to the day!).
The first part of the race started with some flat running, which made me feel a bit more at ease, and it did amuse me how many people were running round any mud at the beginning! Not long into the run and a few screams could be heard, this meant the first obstacle was coming up…..a run through muddy bog. There was no avoiding the mud here; while you could manage to keep your top half dry, dousing your shoes and socks in thick, gooey, mud was quite inevitable and you know you need to get through as quickly as possible when there’s already a man searching for his trainer…….No wonder we had been doing High knees at every Bootcamp!!
Straight after this the running through trees, dirt tracks, and uphill began and I don’t think we had even run 2km yet but I had at least forgot about my soaking wet shoes and socks! Avoiding the tree roots soon became second nature and I soon became glad it hadn’t rained too much leading up to the event as these banks were evil enough when fairly dry!! Along came steps followed by more steps and bigger steps………….there was no denying it was tough! There were lots of natural obstacles to negotiate to which meant you had to be on the ball!
Next step was the caves and I remembered from the advert this was all in the first 4km!………… I didn’t really know what to expect with the caves but I have to admit it was my favourite bit, despite not knowing when I would next see daylight! Thank god for the chains by the cave steps, at least my arms could help my legs a little bit now! The narrow bridge seemed to be a challenging a few peoples fear of heights and I have to admit it was a long way down below, I was just thankful I got through the gap, before my 12 months with Ultimate Fitness Experience I’m not sure that would have happened!
After all this came quite possibly the biggest, never ending uphill road I’d ever seen………….but I conquered it and things soon started going downhill! Going down soil banks is much easier than it looks.
As I ran past the finish line, I thought I had got away quite lightly I was dry by now and not too muddy……..little did I know what was round the corner and it was not the finish! it was the 4 X 4 tracks! Running up and down these was probably the most gruelling thing I’ve ever done but I was actually enjoying it, everyone was encouraging each other to give it one final push.
Then we came to it……..the bit I was dreading from the preview video, jumping / climbing over a tree obstacle. There was no way I could stop by it and think it through or I’d still be there now, thankfully it was fairly clear of people so I could go straight up and over……..although I don’t think the end result was actually that graceful I got over it somehow. I knew we were close to the finish now, but knowing how Tom and Simon work there was going to be a twist and final hurdle to overcome.
Here it came…………..a bog of mud followed by another bog of mud, which included logs that would require either a limbo style manoeuvre to stay relatively dry and clean or for the less agile of us a full on dive below them as quick as possible!
I soon learnt that the reason everyone was going through the middle of the first bog was going up the sides would result in waist high water and sinking quickly in mud, but I somehow managed to survive with both shoes still on! The last obstacle wasn’t quite so graceful, I realised a limbo style attempt was out the question so the only option was to go in and under as quickly as possible! It didn’t matter how quick you were though the result was exactly the same! The run to the finish may have only been a short distance but whilst soaking wet and muddy it wasn’t easy!
How would I sum it? …………………………. Epic, Gruelling. Hills, Mental, Fun, Challenging, Crazy, Exactly the same as everyone else did!! Within 3 days I had signed up for the next one in Marshbrook and all I can say is I highly recommend this run for anyone, athletic or not! You will be pushed a bit outside of your comfort zone, but it is all in good fun!
If you are considering taking part and think you wouldn’t complete, the last 12 months has taught me your body will do whatever your mind tells it!
A big thanks and congratulations must go to Simon and Tom for organizing and putting on this event, it was unique and fun whilst maintaining a competitive edge….I bet everyone wanted to see what position they finished?