Tough Mudder Cheshire
Published: Thursday 22nd Nov 2012
Written by: Natalie Barker
By running Tough Mudder Cheshire we’ve raised over £900 for Cancer Research UK. Thank you to everyone who sponsored us (if you still wish to sponsor us our ‘Just Giving page will remain open until 18/12/12 www.justgiving.com/heatherpricetoughmudder).
Setting off from the Lake District at 6.30 on a Sunday morning, to take part in an event which you know will leave you exhausted, bruised, cold & muddy isn’t everyones idea of a good time. By 9am Heather & I were approaching the site of our run, trying to ignore the car thermostat telling us the temperature outside was only 3C. The walk from parking to registration gave us chance to really appreciate just how hard packed and icy the ground was before we changed into our running gear and got ready to go.
Unlike regular trail runs ‘Tough Mudder’ likes to make life that little bit more difficult with every step. To reach the starting area you must climb a 6ft wall before joining the rest of the runners for pre race hype/warm up. At 10.20 we set of down a hill and into our first mud field, ankle deep and a sure test of lace tying technique, on to an uphill crawl under barbed wire before facing the first water dip of the day. The ‘Arctic Enema’ is a fearsome obstacle filled with ice & water for us to wade through before hauling our frozen selves out from the far side. There is no way to warm up after an experience like that except to run it off. So on we went over a hay-bale stack then through about 3 miles of calf deep mud, into a waist deep bog and dark underground tunnels (crawl space only).
The camaraderie at these events is fantastic with every individual or team willing to help those around them. Everyone has their true challenge and for Heather it came about 4 miles in, upon reaching ‘Walk the Plank’, a 15ft drop into ice cold water before a short swim to get out. Not a fan of heights or cold water Heather took this obstacle at speed without giving herself any time to ‘talk herself out of it’. No sooner were we out than we found ourselves back in a long muddy trench crawling under barbed wire. By this time we were both getting very cold & needed a long running section to get warm again but Tough Mudder HQ had other ideas, who in their right mind puts two 9ft walls in the middle of a trail run.
The next few miles passed in a shivering blur as we tried to push through the cold barrier (missing one water obstacle for our overall safety). the most difficult point of the day probably came around the 6 mile marker as we had to steel ourselves for the second half of the run. More obstacles each designed to sap strength and keep us cold & wet followed. Wading through mud, carrying large logs and crossing balance beams (tree trunks) all kept our wits sharp. Criss-crossing a narrow river and finding ways up and down the steep bankings sapped strength from the legs. Nearing the end of the run Tough Mudder organizers throw in their signature obstacles, ‘Electric Eel’ require competitors to crawl under a framework of electric wires (each carrying a 10,000 volt shock) through a 2 inch deep puddle.
Suitably ‘bump started’ we carried on through yet more mud and over more hills, by this time we could hear the announcer at the finish line and knew there wasn’t far to go. One more run through another framework of electrical wire and the finish was in sight. Crossing the line together was important as Tough Mudder is not a race, everyone is encouraged to help their fellow runners (mudders). On a day when the temperature never really got above 6C many runners were undone by the cold with hypothermia being the main cause of failing to finish.
Heather & I finished together in 3hrs 22 mins. Getting dry and drinking hot chocolate has never felt so good!
We must thank not only those who have contributed to our fundraising but also those who have helped us with time off, training and equipment. Thanks to Mum & Dad for babysitting our youngest children, thanks to Aimee, Joe & Dean for ‘dogsitting’ whilst we took the day off. Thanks to Mark Blackburn at Run3 in Ambleside for advice and help with kit, and a big thanks to all at Pete Bland Sports in Kendal for advice re footwear and for having a fantastic ‘bargain bin’ for us to get our running clothes from (because there’s no point buying expensive when facing Tough Mudder).
Lastly a big thank you to Paul & Julie (Heathers brother and sister-in-law) for living nearby the event and allowing us to use their shower to get clean (no hot showers at the event). We hope we didn’t clog up the drains with all the mud :-)