There would be little point in me reiterating my review of this race with different wording, because my article on OCR Europe summed up my thoughts exactly. You can read that here, and save that link because big things gon’ happen with OCR Europe this year.
For a more personal touch, I’ll just talk about a few more of my own experiences from the Mudnificent 7, because it was preeeeetty emotional.
What a day. I was disgustingly excited for my camping and racing venture, and was packed up and on my way to the venue in good time to set up and chill out before trying to get some shuteye. I poked around the event village a bit with Remy, and met a whole host of wonderful people raising funds for Simon’s Heroes. Simon’s Heroes pick different charitable causes geared towards helping sick children, and as you may imagine, the Heroes themselves are wonderful, welcoming and funny people. They invited me to camp with them, offered me drinks, burgers and cups of tea, and as we all know, tea is the way to my stony little heart. We even played a quick round of cricket/rounders with the kids, and I swear a pulled a muscle within about ten seconds of stepping on to the field, which set me up fantastically for a night on the floor and a 9k race the next day.
Fran stopped by to deliver this delightful little bugger-face, Foglia, who would be cavorting around my tent for the night whilst she luxuriated in a local Premier Inn. With two sub 10kg dogs doing the wall of death around my tent all night, you can imagine how well I slept. I wouldn’t have had it any other way though, and I say this because I had no means of sedating the little shits.
And so, to the race. I’ve struggled with running lately. That is to say, I have struggled with being bothered to run in the first place, so I resolved to merely ‘bimble’ around the course, enjoy the obstacles and treat it much like a sampler day; each section should have been bringing something new to the table, so I wanted to play on the obstacles for as long as possible, and really get a feel for what was going to go on my list for next year.
Despite the curious addition of a meat-strewn crawl, there was nothing that really surprised me in a bad way on the course. You’ll see from my review what I thought of the individual sections, but I didn’t really delve in to the meat-tunnel issue there. To my mind, crawling through a tunnel filled with offal does nothing to test your athletic prowess. It does nothing to test your mental strength. It probably does allow you to show some degree of gastric fortitude, but do you need that to be an obstacle racer? Probably not. The fact that a vegetarian option of a potato crawl was offered was probably the only thing that redeemed Aztec Warrior from what was a total faux pas, but I am still struggling to think why they deemed that obstacle necessary. We are not yet at a stage in OCR where the ingenuity has dwindled to the point where offal crawls are all we have left in our arsenal. Personally, I don’t care about the ick factor. I’ve seen and indeed been covered in much worse than a few plucks from an abattoir, but I can see why people were upset by the spectacle. Lesson: we’re not in this for the shock factor. Try harder to test things that matter to athletes. Until the Olympic heptathlon has a meat-slinging section, let’s leave the body parts in dog food, K?
I had such a wonderful day, trooping at a gentle pace around the course with Fran, Laura, Jennifer and Olivia. At some points our ladies’ day was punctuated with cheeky glimpses of the AWAS pants party, but I certainly didn’t hate that. I have such happy memories of cavorting around on that course, and they’ll last a lifetime.
Not for the first time, I did a bit of a cry on the course too, and that’s because I got the shit kicked out of me by an obstacle. Obstacle 40, Reaper’s infamous out-of-water climb had been brought out of the lake and turned on its head. It looked over us, slick with mud, so it was like an ice rink. I could climb to the top of it without issue, but could I get over the lip? Could I hell. I spent a valiant two or three minutes trying to force myself over the top, but eventually realised that I was in completely the wrong position, and needed to reorientate myself before tackling it again. Unfortunately the only way down was an unceremonious bail where I slid, legs and arms uncovered down the harsh, slippery wood, leaving a good deal of my skin behind. I had to take a minute to have a bit of a chat with myself before declaring that I wouldn’t let it beat me, and reattempting it in rather a lot of pain. At this point, a lovely chap named Nick stayed fast at the top, and helped me to throw my weight over the lip. Nick is a wonderful, magical figure of a man, who represents everything that an OCR gent should be. Humble, helpful, kind and encouraging. Thank you so much, Mr Nick, because if it hadn’t been for you, I would have been a) missing a lot more skin and blood and b) very upset with myself. I blubbed with absolutely no regard for my dignity as I jogged with Fran into the forest. It’s weird where vulnerability strikes, but, but strike it did. Fortunately Fran is blessed with a great deal of empathy and she listened to me whine nonsensically until it was out of my system. She is a princess.
Larking about was the final order of the day, and us girls skipped, swam, splashed and cavorted our way to the finish line with absolutely no idea how long it had taken us. What’s more, we didn’t care – to be out on a fantastic course on a beautiful day with such incredible friends was more than I could have asked for. These people truly make my life Mudnificent.
I hate myself a bit for that pun.
But there you go.