I promised you a race report on this one so here it is……
Some time ago, when it was warm and the winter was a distant memory a lovely friend of ours suggested that we should take part in a new race called ‘The Dirty Devil Stampede’
The race takes place at Bovington on the Army’s vehicle testing tracks so consists of trails, hills, mud, sand, a lot of water, a crocodile pit, scramble nets and a Knife Edge finish!
The race is made up of 5km loops and as mentioned before, when we signed up it was nice warm weather and the 15km race seemed like the best idea for some of us (some were more sensible)! As usual we all got a bit carried away and signed up then got the collywobbles about what we’d actually let ourselves in for as the details being given out by Bustinskin were a bit sketchy to say the least. However, an email or two later and we were reassured that this wasn’t going to be a ‘tough mudder’ style obstacle event but just that we would be running on the Tank training grounds so there would be lots of hills, lots of deep water and a knife edge. They also threatened us with the sheep dip but luckily that didn’t happen.
I was really looking forward to the race but as it got closer we started to seriously wonder why on earth we’d signed up for the 15 when it was likely to be sub zero temperatures and blowing a gale! Then the day before the event was when my Mum was admitted to hospital with chest pains and so I decided that I’d probably not be able to do the event. I emailed the organisers and they said that my team of Tish and Tracey would be able to run without me so that reassured me that I wouldn’t be letting other people down. All this time we were still assuming that my Mum’s pains were just indigestion and that she’d be discharged before long…….
In the morning I heard from Mum with the shocking news that she’d actually had a heart attack. As you can imagine I was in a bit of a state of shock – my Mum? A heart attack? how? what? why? etc. etc. At first I wasn’t going to do the race but then she reassured me that she was actually feeling fine (!!! She really was!!) and visiting times wouldn’t let me into the hospital until 2pm anyway so I decided to race.
I felt quite emotional when I got there and was close to tears thinking that I probably shouldn’t have gone but everyone was buzzing and so after a few lovely hugs from my friends I soon picked up on the atmosphere and was glad I was there.
I can’t actually remember whether there was a hooter or something else to start us but off we went – straight into the woods with firecrackers, smoke and our first icy puddle! From that moment onwards it was a case of mud, water, ice, mud, water, ice, hill, ice, water, mud, ice, hill! It was such brilliant fun, I had a silly grin plastered on my face from the start right until the finish! The terrain was pretty tricky so you had to keep an eye on where you putting your feet and every bit of water had a thick layer of ice to break through on the first time round. It was pretty deep in places too and where the troughs had been created by the tanks you never knew how deep they would be. What was particularly weird was that one leg could be knee deep and then you’d take a step and the other leg would be in the water right up to the top of your thigh! The other weird thing was the sensation of totally losing all feeling in your legs when going through the icy water, then them slightly coming back to life feeling like someone was rubbing them with fur only to get plunged straight back into the next icy pool!
Just before the end of the first lap was the only real ‘obstacle’ a crawl net that luckily we could get under just bent over (rather than crawling). Tracey found this particularly uncomfortable as she suffers from a bad back and the net was very very cold, wet and heavy. She was so relieved to get to the end that she just started running the minute she emerged until we reminded her that it was actually a team event and we could do with a bit of help!!!!
At this point we realised that we were actually very pleased to have signed up for the full 15km – in no way were we ready to stop, we were having way too much fun! Tracey and Tish were having to go quite slowly for me but we were having a lovely natter and I can’t remember laughing that much whilst running ever!
The second lap was pretty much the same as the first except that I managed to slip up in a nice deep bit of water (complete with floating ice) so ended up wet right up to my armpits….brrrrrrr!
By the time we were on our third loop it was quite quiet out on the tracks – most of the teams had signed up for 5 or 10k and all the fast 15km runners had long gone. However, the marshals were still JUST as supportive as they’d been the first time round. There was one cheery chap with a very happy dog who was covered from head to toe in mud. We were giggling about the dog having such fun and then laughed even more when the marshal told us that they were sleeping in a camper van that night ready to marshal the duathlon the next day!!!!
As we completed our third lap we had to climb the knife edge, it looked quite daunting with such cold, tired legs but we all managed to run up it from there it wasn’t far to the finish where the rest of the nutters from our club were waiting to cheer us through the finish.
When we got there we were really pleased to hear that our club had won the 15km and the 5km team events! Well done Tara, Kayleigh and Simon (5km) and Liz, Des and Jane (15km.
What a blast! I’d definitely recommend this as a way to spend a January Saturday, we were lucky as the sun was shining (even though it was VERY cold) but I think even in the rain it would be great fun. My only slight disappointment was that only the first 50 runners back got a medal (a dogtag in this case!) – I’d happily pay an extra pound or two to have one of those!