Two weekends ago on Sunday 23rd June, I took part in my second mud/obstacle run, the 10km Back 2 The Trenches in Redhill, Surrey. I won’t bother to review the run itself – you can read the one on the excellent Mudstacle blog, which covers all these types of events. What I did want to talk about, though, is the team, which you can see here in all their muddy glory…
I have to confess that I’ve never been one for team sports. Truth be told, I actually have a fear of relying on other people that borders on pathological. But via training buddy Chris, I’ve found myself part of Team Mudstacle, which is actually run by his old friend Pete. It is with various members of the team that I go for the weekly long (c. 15km) training run at either Richmond Park or Box Hill. Until recently my goal was always “don’t slow everyone down”, and beyond that I didn’t really think about us being a team – just a bunch of people who went out running together.
Although the event was only 10km, I, fresh from hospital the previous weekend and struck with a pesky case of anaemia, wasn’t really in the best state to run. Indeed the first few kilometres – all uphill – reminded me of my only experience of exercise at altitude – climbing Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia many years ago, which involved a lot of heavy breathing for not very much effort at all. But not only was I a bit broken, but two other members of the team – Pete and Haimish – had spent the previous night taking part in Brutal 10 Enduro – an overnight trail run in which teams (or, if you’re completely insane, individuals) try and acrue as many kilometres as possible within 12 hours. They had both run 30km each, and hadn’t slept. In fact there were only a few hours between them finishing one run and starting the next, something reinforced both by the fact they arrived at the event a bit late and the speed at which Pete burst from the car and headed towards the bushes to relieve himself.
So I started off happy in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be the only “weak” team member, but actually as the day went on I began to see it was about more than that – about the team working together, having fun and trying our best, and not about trying to smash it in the fastest time possible (well, not today at least). We got muddy and wet, chatted and cracked jokes whilst we waited for everyone to catch up, and in my case pitched ideas for the mud run I’d design if I was calling the shots (it involved pits of frogs, lots of electric fences and some large cows, in case you were wondering).