Soon enough the event had arrived and on the morning of Sunday 20th October we all made our way to Eastnor Castle. There was a mixture of nerves and excitement as we warmed up, double bowed our trainer laces and made our way to the starting line. This year due to the huge volume of people entering the event there was a staggered start with 5 minute intervals between each group of runners.
We had shuffled down to the front and were in the third group of runners, within a few minutes and to the sound of a claxon we were off. We started with a gentle jog and within 100 metres we had crossed through our first river, up the bank the other side and had properly begun the race.
Although we had all made effort to undertake some form of training for this event it soon dawned on us that this was not for the faint hearted. Despite wanting to stay together as a team and help each other through the course it quickly became apparent that this was every man/woman for themselves and the group dispersed into the crowd of runners.
We all knew the course was going to be muddy but the extent of this came as a shock to everyone. If we were not ankle deep in muddy tracks we were wading through waist deep, murky puddles. This terrain would then quickly change into some of the steepest hills we have ever had to walk up, let alone try and run up, but this was where everyone helped each other with a few push and pulls ensuring that everyone made it to the top. As quickly as we had reached the top we were then sliding down the other side before hitting yet another deep muddy puddle. It was utterly exhausting but we soon all got into the swing of things, forgetting quite how muddy and wet we all were and focusing on finishing in once piece.
With the insane amount of mud came the inevitable slipping and sliding and it was this which made the course so much more intense, because we had to concentrate on just standing, let alone trying to build any sort of pace. I was probably one of the most unstable on my feet, falling (usually face first) into the mud on numerous occasions, again it was at times like these where a complete stranger would hold out their hand and put you back on your feet. I was certainly not the only one as I also witnessed some of the most spectacular falls of all time, the soft mud being the cause, but also the soft landing which was required.
It was at these times where runners who had sensibly arrived wearing football boots or fell running shoes broke away from the trainer wearers as they were able to grip in the mud. Jon and Kane were two of these sensible runners and recorded the 2 best times from the equimedia teams.
Soon enough (well after 2 or so hours) we started approaching the finish line. By this time the crowds of people had gathered and the early finishers, as well as supports, lined the last few hundred metres of the course, clapping and cheering everyone on. There was of course one last hurdle in the shape of a deep, fast flowing river to wade through before a final sprint (or that’s what we were planning) through the finish line where we were greeted by water, foil blankets and Mars Bars!
Each member of Mud Sweat and Tears and Search For Rambo (minus Jon) successfully finished the race and after the initial relief and a few days recovery we are already planning our next event!