Still reeling from having had actual fun whilst actively competing at Mud Monsters, I went in to Ram Run thinking I was going to have a good time whilst aiming for a top ten position – people spoke favourably of the course and organisation. I really wanted to place, and after tootling around the Spartan Super for fun the day before, I felt pretty sprightly.
I was invited to do the Ram Run by Wild Ram himself, on the proviso that I offer up my dog, Remy, to accompany him whilst he started the waves and commentated. This ticked two boxes for me – I get to bring my best friend to a run, and I get to race a fantastic course created by a very passionate and accommodating team. The minute I walked into the compound, the tannoy boomed ‘Ahhh, my little helper is here’ and Remy was whisked away by the single most extroverted, outspoken and hilarious bloke in OCR. Startled, I went off the register before checking whether my dog was adjusting to the mild peril she had been exposed to. She was, thankfully, chilled as ever.
The Ram Run will forever hold a place in my heart for several reasons, but one superficial one I will point out now, is that this is the first race I have done in my adult life in shorts. I’ve had a long battle with my perception of how my legs appear, and, ridiculous as it may seem, it was a pretty big deal for me to get them out. This is the most scantily clad I have ever been in a sporting endeavour outside a swimming pool, so I worked hard to put my self-consciousness aside.
A well organised start line and an extremely vocal RD made for a very painless start. I quickly arranged myself into the front of the pack, and ran flat out into the first obstacle, a sodding log carry around a track. Selecting the first log I came to meant that I basically carried a tree around, and I lost my position in the female race to two ladies. I quickly regretted carrying a log the same height as me, and I was a bit dismayed that there were some veritable twigs masquerading as weights, but never mind. Carry over, we were launched into more fields and then into the relative calm of the forest, where I overtook my marks on the surprisingly difficult cargo net. The forest provided lots of natural obstacles in the form of slippy terrain, felled trees, loose branches and ninja nettles. It felt fantastic to be out in front, and I was accompanied by a fab gentleman named Rob, who paced me and kept me sane until we re-entered the event village. I had seen some silage bales creeping up, and the dread began to build, as I know how slippy they can be and how much energy they sap. I think there were around eight of them or something stupid. Needless to say, I was about as sprightly as a dead frog by the time I got to the fourth or fifth one, and I employed a very generous Rob as a human stepping-stone to get over two of them. He was a total gent, and I’d have lost a serious amount of time and dignity without him.
A cool rig set-up in the village then spat us out into the surrounding parkland again, where we took adrenaline-spiking dips in and out of the river, through interesting forest 4×4 trails and off a bridge. No big deal. (No seriously, we jumped off a bridge into an actual river and it was amazing). If I’m honest, the rest of the race was a blur of water crossings, avoiding drowning-by-reeds, pulling myself through clarty mud and running as though I was being chased through tall bushes with literally no thought for my legs, that were being shredded by thistles and brambles. I was having a fantastic time – there were loads of water stations and jelly baby stops, and everyone was friendly and encouraging. I managed to catch up to the wave in front, and that made for some cheerful chatter, as I often found myself alone in the woods, which in retrospect was probably quite creepy. The walls in the last section of the event village were absolutely brilliant fun and struck the right balance between challenging and do-able without embarrassing myself. Wild Ram was tireless in his efforts to commentate, encourage and entertain, and it was just an all round fantastic experience.
The only hiccup came when I was unsure of the course after the boundaries switched from tape to gate, but, switched on as they are, the team at Ram will be sorting that out in time for the next race.
All that remained was a sprint finish and a much craved cup of tea and hot pork sandwich (this is becoming a habit…).
Special mention goes to the showers for their ACTUAL AMAZINGNESS based on the fact that they were warm, private and had SHELVES FOR YOUR STUFF in them. I almost cried with happiness getting into them fully clothed. It was seriously one of the top ten moments of my whole life.
- Nike Pro shorts (IKR?) – Cycling shorts on the inside, baggy running shorts on the outside. Perfect. Rode up a bit, but don’t know whether to blame the shorts or my thighs wanting to make a bid for freedom
- Team Tech vest (rubbed the shit out of my arms on the wet seams. Was devastated)
- Compressport calf sleeves (my first foray into calf sleevage – absolutely spot on)
- Salomon Fellraisers (Perfect apart from got a bit clagged with mud. Don’t really know what to say or do about that)
- Sports headband and bra from PINK at Victoria’s Secret (this bra is magical – it dries in seconds and accommodates gels comfortably)
Run clips, free photographs, chip timing (lightning fast results), and a brilliant medal.
Do this run. Oh my god, do this run.
PS: I came in as second lady. I has a happy.