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Newbies take on Tough Mudder

by 1
Monday 2nd October 2017
Tags  OCR   |   Tough Mudder   |   For Goodness Shakes
We sent a couple of OCR newbies, Caroline Newton and Mark Wood, along to Tough Mudder London last weekend, to see how they coped with the mud, obstacles and electric shocks. Completing Team Run247 was OCR veteran, Lou Dutch. 
Here’s Mark’s thoughts on the day:
Last weekend , I left my fears and doubts at home and jumped into a whole lot of mud! As a 54-year old man who likes to keep fit, this was the next step on from doing 10k runs and half marathons. I came away absolutely buzzing, having run the whole 12-mile course and tackled all 20 obstacles.
The running route was a great challenge with a range of terrains: twisty technical tree root covered paths, fast narrow single track, steep up-hill sections and swampy sections with mud waist deep! 
Highlight obstacles for me were the ‘Arctic Enema’: a ride down a tube slide into a skip filled with ice cubes and water.  You go under the water then under a beam and swim up the other side.  The shock of the ice hit me like a train, but once out and running again I felt curiously invigorated.  
The ‘Block Ness Monster’ was another favourite.  I watched it on You Tube before the event looking for tips to conquer this beast. Imagine being up to your neck in muddy water and trying to get over two slippery, plastic covered slow turning rectangular blocks.  Timing was everything with this, picking your moment to grab a corner and get hoisted over.
For me, the vertical wooden walls were the hardest, but everyone had different struggles to overcome.  A muddy helping hand was always offered if I was stuck and it was inspiring to work as a team and to help others along the way.  There was a real sense that we were in the experience together; the announcer at the start said: ‘this isn’t a race’ and that set the tone for the day.
The event was well organised with plenty of staff to ensure things ran smoothly.  The check in and bag drop were fast and efficient.  There was an impressive age range on my event - 16 to 63!
I found the website a bit tricky to navigate, but don’t give up as it is an epic adrenalin-fuelled experience.  I think it will spur me on to do more.  Tough Mudder is about more than just physical challenges; it is about challenging yourself to do more than you thought you could.  I came away with a few bumps and scratches, but they were like badges of honour after the event and I’ve had plenty of stories to tell about each one!

Team Run247 before (left) and after (right)

Caroline Newton’s thoughts: 
Last weekend I lost my OCR virginity and now hold the hallowed status of “Tough Mudder Legionnaire”.    As I sit here counting my bruises, here’s my thoughts on the event and why you probably should have a go (unless you really, really don’t like mud).
It’s as tough as you want it to be.  This event is about personal challenge and I applaud them for that.  There is no pressure to complete every obstacle and no forfeit for ‘failure’.  That said, as far as I could tell, everybody at least attempted each obstacle.  
It’s very friendly.  Camaraderie between participants is second to none.  It’s all about helping each other through the experience.  People laugh, joke and suffer together.  You will hug at least one random stranger before the end of the event (in a good way).
You get to release your inner child - big time! Yes some of the obstacles are tough and I did fail spectacularly on a couple of occasions.  But I also got to run through knee high gloopy mud, scramble in and out of water filled ditches, slide down muddy hills on my bottom and just generally be 8 years old again.  And I have the scabbed-over knees to prove it.
The event itself is incredibly well organised.  All the volunteers were happy and helpful, the course is well set out (the running bits were awesome), there are plenty of toilets, good bag drop, and so on.
You just might surprise yourself.  I never knew that I could make it up a vertical climb or hang upside down from an adult size climbing frame.  I am feeling ‘a little bit Lara’ [Croft] now.
So what are the downsides?
Navigating their website and actually managing to enter the event is the biggest obstacle of all.  Setting up a team will test your patience to the limits.  The day before the event I was getting emails telling me my details weren’t ready and ‘helpful’ links in their emails just sent me to the marketing pages for the next events.  
Personally, I still don’t get the electric shock thing.  They hang the wires nearly to the ground, so there is no way to avoid being hit.  It was quite hideous being plunged headfirst into a skip full off ice, but it was also exhilarating.  I had no such thrill from getting volts up the bum.  But maybe that’s just me.  And I’m fine with that, because I now know that I can hang upside down and that’s way more cool that being electrocuted.

And our experienced OCR veteran, Lou Dutch: 

I have done numerous Obstacle Course races but never the infamous Tough Mudder. It is always the first thing people will ask when you say you have done an obstacle course race..."Was it Tough Mudder?" and make you feel very inadequate when you have to declare it was a different OCR but like Tough Mudder? Or was it? That is why I was delighted when I was able to take part in the Run247 Team so I could actually answer my own question!
I love obstacle course races...as well as being an absolute laugh, being able to be a child for numerous hours and be very immature it is a test of all over body strength both physical and mental. The camaraderie is like no other and they are the only environment where blokes touching your backside to help you over an obstacle is perfectly acceptable and likewise blokes standing on women's shoulders !
Tough Mudder was very well organised and I particularly enjoyed the fun "sexy" warm up getting strangers very close and intimate but trying to embed that  we were all in this together!
Tough Mudder was a great mix of obstacles and running but proper trail running with copious amounts of mud, roots and hills...what's not to like?! A lot of the obstacles were similar to obstacles I had seen before but the block ness monster was a new one with turning platforms . Being neck deep in water and trying to get on to them with numerous other people took some time!
Everest was also a real team effort with a steep but extremely high plastic slope with people having to form pyramids to stand on each other's shoulders to get to the top. Everyone helps everyone which is another reason I love these events! 
I have had electric shocks at other events but I'm not sure I really enjoy it. As got to "Electrotherapy"  i  got a huge belt in my right arse cheek which dropped me like a sack of spuds. But i got up to continue through the hanging wires only to get hit again on my arm but then the finish line awaited! Nice touch with a bottle of cider, for goodness shakes and t-shirt as we crossed the finish line.
Tough Mudder is for everyone, you can be as slow or as fast as you want but if you want a good laugh with your mates and overcome your own personal challenges it is a great way to spend a day(minus the arse electric shock!)


With thanks to For Goodness Shakes
To find out more about Tough Mudder races visit their website: toughmudder.co.uk

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