What can I say about Tough Mudder? First thing is…
DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT!!!!!!!
So to try and help persuade you, here is a quick Q & A I have prepared…
- Will it be hard? Yes.
- Will it make you push yourself harder than you ever thought possible? Yes.
- Does it give you the biggest buzz of all time that you’ve felt from an organised running event? Yes, it’s even akin to a marathon that is twice the length! (would say it’s better, but come on, 26 miles)
- Can it be completed by people who don’t exercise all the time? Yes, BUT if you don’t usually run, or you have NO UPPER BODY STRENGTH (like me, before training), then get yourself running (start here), and down the gym sharpish. Tell a PT what you’re up to, and they will give you the guidance you’ll need.
So now I have you IN, locked and loaded, ready to sign up – let me tell you all about my experience…
My boyfriend’s best friend asked if I wanted to take part with him around Christmas time. Having completed Brighton Marathon the previous year, and looking for a new challenge I thought, what the Jeff, sign me up! I had heard of these Tough/Muddy type events, and had even done a 10k version in Malvern a few years back, so thought… how hard could it be?
As it got closer, I thought I would take a gander at what it was all about…
Ohhhhhhh… this is not just a run in the mud… there is like electrocution, ice baths, waist deep mud and vertical challenges… hmmmmmm. Perhaps I had underestimated this.
LUCKILY FOR ME (and this is the important bit), Tough Mudder is all about COMRADESHIP, and you sign up in groups. So myself and Dan became Team HH.
I figured with his sheer brute strength, and my zippy running skillzz we would be ready to take it ON!
And I was not wrong! Our Tough Mudder was 25 challenges along a stretch of 10-12 miles that tested your mental and physical strength, set on the VERY HILLY grass route near Henley-on-Thames.
It happened to fall on my BF’s birthday, so him and my sister sat with Guinness and delicious meaty highlights from her work’s charcuterie, (she is lucky enough to work at Harvey and Brockless – ARTISAN CHEESE) in the sunshine waiting for us to take on TOUGH MUDDER…whilst we trudged off to the start.
WHY WERE WE DOING THIS AGAIN?
We started in specific timed groups, so beforehand we all jumped around to some Drum and Bass (yes), in the warm-up, and took a communal PLEDGE to look after and help anyone in need during the run.
It was a wonderful warm feeling. It felt like we were all in it together (not in a horrible Tory austerity bullsh*t cuts type of way, more in a Corbyn ‘let’s do this’ for the many not the few, type manner). (And yes that was a tiny attempt to bring in some political essence to my blog. What are you gonna do about it?)
Anyway, interestingly this is NOT A TIMED EVENT, which is handy if you’re competitive like me, as it stopped me from focusing on anything other than getting round and having a laugh.
There was 25 challenges. I might not remember all of them, but these are the ones that stuck in my mind! I have collated some that are similar for easy reading…
- Wall climbing – x2 massive wooden walls at an angle, too high to just climb up – lucky I had trusty Dan to basically throw me over. He then proceeding to help another five or so people, being the gent that he is. Another one was even higher, again I was chucked up, and then had to jump down the other side. I landed a bit funny on my ankle, but carried on regardless!
- Hills – TOO MANY HILLS TOO MANY MANY HILLS, WE NEED SOME MORE SLOPES IN HERE – I had planned to run the whole time, but you like…just couldn’t. They even made some of them official challenges, zig zagging up and, well UP. Thighs… burning!
- Cargo Net/Barbed Wire – Get down on your front and crawl bitch. With an arse like mine it was touch and go getting caught out, but with the lack of breast I could slither through both!
- ICE BATH OF DEATH – Seriously, you climb up the steps and there is a slide, my inner eight-year-old is like yaaaay, a SLIDE! Plus I am pretty sweaty at this point, so like, how bad can an ice bath be?
BAD OH SO VERY VERY BAD! I slid into the freezing depths and it went over my head, I came up for air and couldn’t catch my breath, like my lungs had reduced to about a third of their normal size. To get out the other side you have to go BACK UNDER WATER. I wasn’t shivering, I had frozen. I thought my body was shutting down. Dan grabbed me and pushed me through. I climbed out, it was like someone had punctured my lungs.
“Keep MOVING” Dan was shouting, so we careered up a hill, with my pink body unsure of what the hell just happened. I suddenly had even more respect to anyone that survived the Titanic. That was the hardest challenge for me.
- Back in the water –
- One challenge you climb through a tunnel and splash through knee deep water, another there is heavy water above you and you have to squeeze through. Neither particularly horrendous, just muddy fun.
- A tough one for me was the monkey bar extravaganza (no upper body strength) that I simply dropped off and swam across – and got rid of loads of heavy mud in the process – bonus!
- Another really fun one, was where you slid backwards up a tunnel, and came out arse first. You have to drop backwards into the water and halfway spin as you go. It was actually quite majestic if the swamp-like water didn’t go up your nose and down your throat. Yummy!
- Finally, there was a rotating triangular wall within the depths of the water that through team work you could spin over, meaning the next lot had to help those ahead of them. Dan basically did it on his own for about six rounds of people like some kind of muddy INCREDIBLE HULK! Everyone was super impressed.
- Teamwork –
There was one called ‘the pyramid’ where you had to lay flat and basically climb over each other – you quickly made new friends with anyone at the top that could drag you up. It was just so… British – lots of ‘sorry’s’ and ‘cheers, thanks, nice one, ace, thanks’ as a group of Essex lads pushed you over the top by your arse.
- Wooden pole carry thing – bit pointless if you ask me, we put a long wooden heavy pole over a collected five shoulders and took it round a course. We made new friends.. maybe that’s what it was all about?
- Piggy back! You get to a sign that says, ‘Pick up a partner and carry them 100 metres’ – without missing a beat Dan hoisted me up and we ploughed on… until it said ‘And now swap’.
For context, Dan is 100 KILOS! And my legs were burning, and I just thought NO CHANCE, but we gave it a go. You know what? I had totally underestimated myself! I carried him over halfway before he jumped off and fireman lifted me, running past everyone showing off as I squealed. GREAT FUN!
- And the biggie ‘Everest’… I don’t need to explain this. Just watch in the link below.
I MANAGED IT IN ONE GO YEAHHHHHH!
- Mud – Yup, you guessed it. A whole load of mud to wade through. It got stuck EVERYWHERE! There must be some health benefits on your skin, or immune system or something…
- The finale – I have possibly and definitely missed a few… but this is the one that everyone is waiting for. THE ELECTROCUTION! This is no joke, you have to run through a load of electric wires hanging down that can give you a VERY DECENT shock…
We had watched others before our allotted time running the ‘gauntlet’ if you will. And the trick that seemed to work was putting your hands in front in a sort of ‘prayer’ – you run through mud and over hay bales, hearing YELPS and SCREAMS around you.
I got about three shocks. Man that was a weird experience. Like it vibrated through you. POW POW POW.
But the SENSE OF ACHIEVMENT as you come through the finish line. Yeah man! I am like some kind of invincible GOD. I grabbed a Guinness, toasted with Dan, and jumped around buzzing for the rest of the day.
Like I said… DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT DO IT! Details below…
LOCATION: Various, although I hear the Midlands course is flatter. Head to the website here to find out more…
COST: It is spenny, over a hundred, but Dan kindly paid for me. I intend to pay him back, but he might have to wait a while or I will pay him back through lovely cooking 🙂
STAR RATING: 5/5 DO IT DO IT DO IT!