How to win a rock

Yes, an actual rock, but not the sparkly kind that might come in a blue box tied with a white ribbon…

During the summer of 2015, I entered my first (and so far last) obstacle race.  Nothing as exciting as your Tough Mudder or Spartan type races though – I’m far too much of a wimp for those and hats off to those of you who have done or will do them… This race is called the Boulder Dash and is held locally to us every 2 years.  With a 4 or 8 mile option (I chose the 4 obvs!) you scamper around beautiful Buckinghamshire farmland and woodland and try and make the best job of the natural obstacles in your way.  What this actually entails is wading through thigh-high streams dodging branches, scrambling up and down piles of boulders, running up and down huge ruts in the fields, wading chest deep through ponds (oh the stench of that water), running through cornfields into the woods and then you’re faced with a tunnel where it all became a bit of a blur I’ll be honest, then there was a bit more running and finally, as the finish line appears in front of you (hurrah!) you’re directed by a very lovely marshall to a MASSIVE ROCK PILE which you had to (yep, you’ve guessed it) run up and then down to finish.

I won’t lie, I was flagging somewhat at the end which probably wasn’t helped by quite a few 8 milers speeding past me but the tunnel had been on my mind.  I knew that I’d be able to stay on my feet and crouch through it but I wasn’t prepared for quite how dark it would be in the middle, absolute pitch black.  It was lucky that the lady in front of me had a slight panic attack and was threatening to stop as I was able to gently place my hand on her back and talk her through it.  She’ll never know that she helped me as much as I hope I helped her.  I had to get her through it as if she’d stopped then I would have had to spend so much longer in the dark!

As with any event, it’s the supporters and marshalls that make all the difference.  Having to hide the doubts that might be creeping in behind a smile, wave and a cheery “thank you” is actually more useful to me than they probably realise.  Also, being a local event, having most people know you and be ready to hurl a bit of friendly abuse at you is always appreciated!  As is the official photographer howling with laughter as you heave yourself out of a cowpat filled cesspool…

There are no actual words for the smell of that mud…no words…

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