This past Saturday, I, along with 4-5,000 other daring and slightly idiotic souls decided to tackle the first Rat Race Dirty Weekend Challenge. Rat Race runs a number of events throughout the year, the most popular being the Men’s Health 10k survival run in Battersea in early November. Having done that race for the last two years, I thought I’d knock it up a notch and go for the Dirty Weekend.
Dirty Weekend is designed to be a weekend of camping with the race in the middle. You have two choices: the half-Mucker which is 15 miles and 150 obstacles, and the full Mucker which is a 20 mile course with 200 obstacles. Basically the course is the same until the 13 mile mark where you can choose to “Bail-Out” or go for a 7 mile detour.
I had fully anticipated bailing out as I’ve never run more than 13 miles and my training was limited to a few 3 mile runs and one 8 mile jaunt on the treadmill. The day started off well with the first runner making it through in 2hr 51mins. Inspired by that feat, I set off in the sunshine.
The first few miles were pretty straightforward with light rolling hills and a lot of fences and cars to jump over – perfect for warming up in the slightly chilly weather. 4.5 miles in, the first water obstacle reared its head and we found out why this was called a Mucker. A combination of crawling through half submerged pipes and scrambling over mud-slicked banks left me chilled to the bone and covered in a thick shell of ooze. And it just got worst from there.
The next 8 miles wet ea blur of jogs through beautiful fields punctuated by towers of hay bales, skips full of sludge and wood chips, and of course more mud than you could ever ask for. Special note must be given to the 110m monkey bars which proved near impossible for all by 3 of the Muckers.
At the bail out point, I was feeling good and the sun was shining so I opted to keep going. Epic mistake as the next 7 miles were plagued by cramping muscles, injury, and pouring rain. Still, the feeling of scaling the last tower and crossing the finish line was incredible.
Looking back, I’m definitely going to do it again next year and this time aim for a winning time. After all, the fastest person gets £1500! But I think a bit more training is in order and also a group to camp with for the whole weekend. For now, it’s time to get in gear from the ManVMountain race which is 20 miles up and down Mt. Snowdon and even has a section where you jump into a quarry and swim across. Anyone want to join in?