(I am holding the mother of all Lincolnshire hot dogs in my outstretched hand – earned!)
Mudnificent 7 truly took its name to heart, Ive spent the whole of Sunday scrubbing to get muck out of every orifice you can think of (aye all of them!). This was a fantastic first event by the squad from Obstacle Race Magazine, I was there from Friday and could see the village begin to take shape.
The start line was full of energy for the first heat, a great practical warm-up and then some great words by THE Mr Mouse to get us off. The start was a brief run around the edge of the lake and into a field to spread out the runners, this probably could have been a little longer and that would have been sufficient to reduce the queuing we had, even in the first heat.
Stand-out Zones and the Disappointments:
Each of the 7 zones was hosted by a different race company,
Zone 1 – Aztec Warrior: Great ideas but alot of bottlenecks, there was certainly a controversial obstacle with a chamber filled on one side with ‘offal’ and the other was with potatoes. I luckily chose the vegetarian option, I have to admit to a few gagging moments at the other side as it was all crushed under numerous trail shoes.
Zone 2 – Airfield Anarchy: Without doubt! The MAHOOSIVE slide where I may have wet my pants before I even got wet . . .
kidding, kidding! But not about keeking myself. There was a decent queue to get on here but well worth it for the WOW factor, the safety brief was repeated consistently, clear and concise. We had a delay after a lady had a bit of a freak-out at the top but well done to her she did it with true OCR support. I understood why when I got to the top – ‘Holy S**T!’ it was a vertical drop and I can tell you my ass didnt make contact until the slide curved and then you were flipped off the end in true style. I swear I was breathless from this obstacle for the next mile, we hit some more bottlenecks where there was tunnels with only single person access.
Great ideas but not ideal with the numbers and so early on in the race. We also hit some water dips here, some lovely gentleman kindly gave me a helping hand – did I mention already I hate water?!
Zone 3 – Tough Guy – I was looking forward to how this would run, I know Alex ( Brass Monkey Events ) put alot of effort into setting up the Tough Guy section. It’ll hopefully have let everyone see what we will have in store for you all coming north to the brand new McTough Guy event!
Anyway, there were great balance beam sections taking you into the main section, those at Mud 7 were priviledged to get a taster of carrying the ‘Jesus Crosses’, only a select few have done so within the Tough Guy events ( I Iook upon these guys in awe!). There was some decent running between the osbtacles which spread folks out, they highlighted TG obstacles perfectly, they were simply but truly effective. There were cargo net crawls, ‘torture chamber’ (classic), water dips (another classic – I also think Alex was winding me up as he had said it was fairly deep – actually not too bad). This was one of my biggies as it was for Airfield anarchy – did I say I hate water? But Empo and Marnie were on hand to give me encouragement, I think thats what it was 😉 Not only this but the Ghost Runner squad were on hand to beat their drums and they did so allll day!!
Zone 4 – Bigfoot Challenge – These guys made great use of rope obstacles, different obstacles that I had seen in other events but never so focused, which I quite liked. We had lateral traverses between trees, more traditional hanging traverses created in a V-shape.
Zone 5 – Ram Run – Im afraid to say nothing really stuck out for me here
Zone 6 – Reacher Events – I thoroughly enjoyed this section, these guys took mud to a whole new level, some really original obstacles (well at least ones I have never seen). Another slide but with a different approach, using climbing wall parts, and smaller but you know what? It didnt matter! Low cargo net crawls, A-frame climbs with increased difficulty created by wet and super muddy shoes/ bodies, followed by a fling yourself at a cargo net climb. I have to say the marshalls here were great and really interactive, one young lady let me wipe my eyes on her high-vis – I didnt need to see anyway haha! And then I found another gentleman with a Reaper T-shirt that was waaay too clean so I helped him feel a part of the mud-fest. Not only that, one of the great marshalls also wanted a hug so naturally I had to oblige, hahaha!
Zone 7 – Bear Grylls – I have to say, once again, nothing here stuck out for me, it struck me as very spartan and nothing original which I would have expected from the big deal being made about Bear Grylls. Particularly at an expo which is to showcase what a course has to offer. However, the final section of their zone challenged me big time – the water crossingS, yes bloody plural! The first one I could bob along on tippy-toes, just keeping my head out of the water, talking to myself all the way, ‘Its alright Louise, just keep moving Louise, Its okay you’re nearly there’. I think the guys on the boats could here me as they just kept smiling at me encouragingly, you have not idea how close I was to tears. I really just don’t get why I freak out so much when I can actually swim. Onto the middle island, under a cargo net and then straight into the water.
Oh God! Oh God – I couldnt bob on this one! Oh God, even typing this my heart rate has gone up several notches!! Again, there were nearly tears, only this time they were so much closer to erupting but I sucked it up and told myself I would be okay and started to swim. Then along came Lisa (from RPCC – based in England for those that dont know the team), what a lovely lass. We had met earlier in the race and I had the opportunity to help Lisa over the walls and I kept encouraging her as we headed toward the water. I’m glad I was able to do so, as I really feel like I haven’t been able to repay her support over the second crossing but at least I feel I helped her alittle in return. She offered to stay with me, as Lisa could swim and was really very relaxed. She told me to remember to relax, it worked a treat as I had obviously started to tense up alot without realising it. I was getting really breathless, I think because I was real tense, we paused so that I could chill out alittle and then we headed for the finish line and crossed together – amazing! I can’t thank you enough Lisa!
This was a fantastic event and what a great way for the OCR community to come together without competition but support of each others races to work together to provide the ultimate of experiences for the participants. I loved every second, well nearly – when I wasnt peeing my pants! But, having been asked a few times what my favourite bits were, I couldn’t say categorically that I had one but all of it in combination. The chance to do the best obstacles that each event had, to experience potentially what you could experience at each race. I get that people were disappointed with the queues and bottle necks, yes disapointing and yes not what we want at a race BUT this was not a race and not an ordinary get together at an event. All the event providers really worked hard to put the best they could out there for all of us, no racing just taking part and supporting each other. I met some truly awesome people, witnessed truly inspirational acts and was able to support others, nearly losing my heid helping a baywatch beauty (Ill leave that one to the imagination and I dont mean a falling out), seeing far too much exposed (sorry Pamela, the baywatch dude, but what I witnessed on those ropes really will never be erased!) but also being helped to really face my fears and helping others while doing so. That is the true essence of the OCR community!
Couple of drawbacks as mentioned were the bottlenecks (it was constantly mentioned this was not a race on the tannoy), using timing chips creates some perception of wanting the best time possible and therefore people want to move through obstacles as quickly as possible. The posting of results also creates the impression that there was positions which there cant be if it was participation event. The results themselves dont mean much except for the first handful of people due to the bottlenecks and folks constantly skipping obstacles/ queues. These are basic points which didn’t detract from the event itself for me, simply points to keep in mind. I quickly cooled my heels once I realised this wasnt going to be a typical race and really didnt push hard but challenged myself but conquering all obstacles and thoroughly enjoying myself!
Definitely get it onto your fun – to-do list for #MUD2016! Get your mates along with you!