May 12, 2013 by Mark Burton
I survived! Worship me, I am a Colossus!
Obviously I’m not, but since I got over the line I’m going to at least pretend that I’m a physical god for the next 24 hours or so. Don’t worry, it’ll wear off.
I’ll be honest, it didn’t start well. Tall flatmate and broad flatmate were in charge of buying food for a big carb-loading dinner, and bought beef burritos instead, which was a ridiculous choice really and I’m going to call them out on it. They also decided to make a pasta salad, a la Nigella, to act as pre and post race fuel. I refused to touch it given that it was based on tuna and sweetcorn, two of the most inherently evil foods on the planet, but by all accounts it was almost inedible. We also had no proper means of transporting the 1kg of it we made, so broad flatmate had to lug it round the event site in a large mixing bowl, prompting odd looks and arm cramps. Poor form.
We met up with some workmates at the start line and it was heartening to find that they were bricking it as much as we were. Tall flatmate almost pulled out at the last minute due to a complete lack of training compounded by contracting what might actually be AIDS in the buildup to the race and spending all of Friday night vomiting. In his own words, “If my head goes below my heart it will fall off.”
As with the last event I did the warmup almost killed me, so 13 miles wasn’t entirely appealing in truth.
I think the course could be summed up in the following three words: Sadism, pain, distance. All three were to be found in abundance, but there was a good smattering of fun involved too.
Overall we ploughed through 15 zones. After a mile jog down to the opening one, our first instruction from the marshals was: “Pick a car. Now climb through it.” This rather set the tone for what was to come.
In the next zone, we had to climb through a half inflated bouncy structure and then found a rugby team waiting the other side with pads to batter us. Light comic relief was provided by one rugby person who was too fat to chase us and had to politely ask for us to run at him. We then encountered a straight 10ft wall to navigate, which I effectively ran straight into and bounced off. One of the marshals had to give me a leg up. In my high heart rate delirium I told her I loved her, and meant it.
Tall flatmate was starting to struggle, understandably, by mile 3, and was being shepherded by broad flatmte. So I gallantly ditched them both and pushed on with a quicker group of friends. This really sums me up as a person.
The water zones were ridiculous. The first one was fine, through a reservoir about waist deep. The aptly named ‘Wipeout’ zone was a bit more of a slog. We had to wade through about half a mile of lake which was neck deep at the shallowest, through 2 or 3 feet of silt and other gunk, which was properly draining. Thankfully some of the big inflatables had blown over so we didn’t have to do them, otherwise I would have added my own hot tears to the lake’s plentiful water supply. Then we had to jump off a big platform about 15ft above the water – I executed this rather too well and almost didn’t surface. The final water zone about 11.5 miles in was a real struggle – by this point my body was no longer my friend so I had to rely on the kindness of strangers to grab me by the arse and chuck me over some of the higher obstacles to save me from flopping like a dying salmon.
By mile 10 broad flatmate had also gallantly ditched tall flatmate, caught us and overtaken us. He’s not human.
By mile 11 my legs were fucked. I’ve not run more than 10k ever, so it felt like running through treacle after so much punishment and I guess I was jogging at walking pace.
The last mile was dreamt up by somebody who should be in prison. They put the three toughest zones right next to each other at the finish. I stacked it on one of the sprint ramps (think that thing from Gladiators they have to do at the end) and received encouraging jeers from the watching crowd. Then there was the world records zone.
This included 110m of monkey bars – I managed 2 before slipping off, I blame wet hands as opposed to a chronic lack of strength. The forfeit was to climb over about 150 interlocked barriers shaped in a zig-zag, the kind they have at gigs and events where they close roads, each about 4ft high. After 12.5 miles that was a real killer. Then there was the world’s largest wall of hay bales, which was actually quite fun because I climbed it next to a man dressed as Thor, complete with hammer.
The last obstacle was monster – a big structure of half pipes and 6ft walls that you had to scale before hitting the finish line. A random Welsh bloke gave me a helping hand on those so I’m eternally grateful to him.
And that was that! Over the finish line, pouring with rain, legs no longer working.
13 miles, 150 obstacles, all done.
Overall time was officially 3:46 but we probably lost about half hour to bottlenecking and queuing for obstacles.
This morning, after 14 hours sleep and a steak, I feel moderately ok, but haven’t got out of bed yet. I tested one leg a few minutes ago and it wasn’t pretty. I do get the feeling ingesting so much lake water might not have been good for me.
Never thought I’d say this but it was brilliant fun. I encourage everyone to get involved in this kind of thing because it’s just such a unique experience.
I’ll try and get some photos up in due course so you can laugh at me falling over things.
Going for another nap now…
P.S. I hope literally everybody else in the world had fun at the Rugby Sevens yesterday, you luck, luck bastards.