“Does anyone fancy doing a mud run and obstacle course?” said someone at the exercise class I attend at my local gym. It sounded like a bit of fun, so I said I might be interested. However, when I googled The Nuts Challenge, I realised that it was going to be much more than a bit of fun. That was when I decided that, if I was going to do it, it would be for charity – and the one closest to my heart is Life Support. I bullied another classmate into being my race buddy, and was delighted when she too decided to do the run for Life Support.
Having signed up and paid the race fees, we decided that, in addition to just getting fitter, we needed to get some practice in actually coping with the obstacles, so in June we attended a training session, which we thoroughly enjoyed. But the instructor did warn us that conditions would be very different on race day, when 2400 people take part, with staged starts every 20 minutes.
We had enjoyed a fabulous summer and we thought the mud would not be as challenging as it might have been. Wrong! For 7 days before the race, it rained every day and we knew it was going to be very slippery underfoot. We just prayed it wouldn’t be raining on the day.
Praise God that race day (30 August) dawned bright and sunny and the weather was perfect. We arrived at the race site (near Henfold Lakes, in Beare Green) in plenty of time and soon got into the spirit of the day. We got our race numbers (which we had to wear on the front of our tops) and also number recognition tattoos which had to be strategically placed in case our large number came unstuck and fell off (which mine did!) And we had timer tags which we had to attach to our shoes. I just hoped that my trainers would not be sucked off in the mud, because we had to pay a penalty if we failed to hand our tag in at the end!
Eventually it was time for our warm up and start and we were off! The course covers about 7km and there are around 100 obstacles all together, ranging from climbing over tree trunks and farm gates to sliding down fireman’s poles, crawling through tunnels and, of course, lots of water and mud.
We walked a lot of the way because it was so treacherous underfoot. The atmosphere on the course was fantastic; everyone was helping one another out of ditches and over muddy banks. We just laughed the whole way round, at ourselves and at others.
We were quite relieved when we realised the finish line was in sight, but the course veered off and we had to tackle another 3 or 4 obstacles, including wading, chest-deep, across a lake before we eventually ran up the home straight. Our tags were cut off, we were given a foil blanket and then our medals! We were both very proud that we had stepped out of our comfort zone and completed the course.
The money is still coming in but I think that we will have raised around £1600 (including gift aid) – maybe a little more. But I appreciate that my running around in mud would not benefit the kids at Eden Farm without the generous support and sponsorship I have received from so many colleagues and friends – and I am truly grateful to each and every one.
And would I do it again? Not on your life! 🙂 Val x