We are only about a mile and a half into the 10K event. I’m knee deep in mud wondering for about the 10th time already whether I’m going to lose my trainer as I try and take the next step. Ahead, two of my team mates are trying to release another from the mud. She’s pretty much stuck and they’re on their hands and knees digging her out. Further ahead still another team mate is on the floor looking similarly stuck. He’s lost his race number – the mud has claimed it.
A race marshall looks at me and says – “it would be easier to crawl I can promise you”. So that’s what I do. Onto my hands and knees to crawl through the mud. We all make it to the other side laughing and joking with smiles on our faces.
Welcome to the Major Series Midlands. An event organised by the people behind British Military Fitness. Billed as the UK’s most friendly obstacle race, there were 5k and 10k options, both courses littered with all kinds of obstacles, hills, mud and water.
I was part of Buckley’s Battalion. A team of people who have all completed Julia’s original Fat Loss Programme – The Fat Burn Revolution: Boost Your Metabolism and Burn Fat Fast
Most of us are now doing her Extreme Inferno programme. We talk and interact on Facebook daily but it was the first time that I’d met a few of them in person. For a few it was their first obstacle race and something that most of us would never had considered prior to starting Julia’s programme.
So as we all gathered in a field in Warwickshire last Saturday morning there was an air of excitement and in some cases apprehension about what lay in store. I was feeling unusually calm. Having completed Tough Mudder this year I knew that there was no way that this could be anywhere near as difficult. It was half the distance for a start. Knowing I’d finished Tough Mudder in one piece and that my fitness levels had improved even more since June gave me a lot of confidence going into this course. I would be fit enough and tough enough to deal with whatever it threw at us.
And what it threw at us was mud, and hills, and more mud, and a lake with water up to our necks, and some hills, and some barbed wire to crawl under, and some more mud, and some more hills and then a bit more muddy water up to our necks and some more mud, a muddy tunnel, a bog, a cargo net and some more hills.
And a great big water slide.
It was without a doubt the most fun event I have ever taken part in. We ran as a team, we stayed together and helped each other all the way around. The course was timed but this was never an issue for us – it took us as long as it took – the important thing was getting around the course together and enjoying ourselves. And that’s exactly what we did.
Taking part in this race has made me realised just how far I’ve come. I felt comfortable the entire way around the course – keeping pace with the faster members of the group, only walking when the hills were really tough or the terrain underfoot meant it was safer to walk than run. I embraced every obstacle, didn’t chicken out of anything and helped other people around the course as well. Wind the clock back just a year and all that would have been almost unthinkable. Yes, I’d completed a marathon but my fitness levels were still relatively low and I wouldn’t have had the self confidence to take on an obstacle course.
In comparison to Tough Mudder this event was a walk in a very muddy, very hilly park. But it was all the better for it. It made it more inclusive and more fun and meant that a much wider group of people were prepared to give it a go. Which ultimately made for a brilliant day out with an inspirational group of people. I loved it. Thank you once again Julia!
If you’re thinking of giving obstacle racing a go then I’d really recommend the Major Series as a good place to start. It was difficult without being ridiculously challenging and you could definitely have completed the course on your own, if you wanted to.
Much more fun to be part of a team though I think, especially a team like Buckley’s Battalion!