The Pit of Eternal Stench

For those of you that read my last blog, you’ll be aware that I have set myself a challenge of completing one OCR, Mud Run, Trail Run each month for the whole of 2018. Whilst that might not seem much to the majority of readers, it is a serious step up for me. This blog series is to report back on my experiences and to hopefully impart some lessons learned to those that might be considering completing one.

Round two, ding ding! After my first experience in January, I was quietly confident that not much else would be as challenging and therefore I may have been a little too confident when lining up at the start of the Winter Warmer put on by the Muscle Acre team. I had spent the past week making sure I had some clothing that might make me a little more visible when scanning the 100’s of photos and as I was completing this one with a close friend, I had convinced him the night before that a couple of pints wouldn’t hurt. I wouldn’t say I was being cocky, but I was definitely overconfident.

Winter WarmerWhilst walking around in my fancy new brightly coloured top, I kept hearing people murmuring “go out fast, you’ll need it when you get to the skips”. Now, to my ignorant mind and new-found confidence, this sounded foolish and I knew better. Everybody knows that at a start of a run you go out slow and steady, find your rhythm and settle into a groove. Cut to me 15 minutes later with my nether regions skimming the top of ice cold water filled skips, multiple skips, with lots of freezing (literally) water and I knew why running fast at the start to get your core heat up was a sensible strategy. Lesson learned, I am still a rookie in this game

The race itself is more of what I was expecting an OCR to be, some interesting running (I think it’s called technical running), lots of obstacles, both manmade and natural, and an amazing atmosphere. Whilst MacTuff was a complete shock to the senses, I was able to “enjoy” this race a little more and with that, I managed to complete more of the obstacles, albeit the rope climb still has me defeated. The one thing that really set this race apart from MacTuff were the bogs and one especially, one that was kindly named for us by a fellow runner as we asked him the most asked question during any OCR race “how much longer do you think is left?”. This guy’s response was “only a couple more Kilometres, but you still have the Pit of Eternal Stench to do!”.  Nervously laughing, me and my mate cracked on getting through the kilometres and obstacles. Then it hit us, I don’t know how long it was, or what cruel mind came up with it, but it seemed to go on forever. The water in places chest high, the mud knee high, but the stench was on another level. It smelt of pure evil. Yet, it was probably the highlight of the race. The camaraderie, the teamwork (from complete strangers) the laughs and swearwords were awesome in all senses of the word.

Winter WarmerEventually, we managed to wade, crawl, drag ourselves through this “obstacle” and got back out onto the final stretch of running and a good 8ft wall climb. I managed to cross the line in another “Mr Average” time of 02:03:39 and with my bright, fancy new top completely covered in mud and unrecognisable from any other of the 222 runners that completed that day.

In total, this race trumped MacTuff for number of obstacles clocking in at 49 obstacles over a 12km course (see below for the list). The most memorable would be the Manure Mountain (literally a mountain of manure, like something out of Dante’s Inferno) and the Pit of Eternal Stench (I believe its official title is Pond Spawn). This was an excellent race and one I would do again if it wasn’t so far away. It was 3km shorter than MacTuff with the average time was over 50 minutes quicker. So although the frequency of obstacles was much higher, the race was a considerably quicker one. That is not to say it was easy. Not by any stretch.

Next month is going to be the legendary Mighty Deerstalker www.ratrace.com/mightydeerstalker

Time Stats

Runners in the 12km race: 228
DNF: 3 DNF, 3 runners dropped down to 6km
Fastest time: 1:04:41
Slowest time: 3:33:20
Average time: 2:04:52
My Time – 02:03:39

Obstacles

1) Tyre Fields
2) Skip Dip
3) Crossover
4) Manure Mountain
5) Spiders Web
6) Under and Overs
7) Monkey Around
Dirty Ditches
9) Mud Pit
10) Rage Stunts Wall
11) Creepy Crawl
12) Pyramids
13) Mr Sand Man
14) Dad’s Treehouse
15) Barriered Out
16) Tree Trunks
17) Pallet Alley
18) Car Crawl
19) Rope Climb
20) Number Cruncher
21) Camo Crawl
22) Bluebell Pond
23) Tanglewood
24) Jerry Can Carry
25) Sandpit Scramble
26) Blue Muck Truck
27) Mangle
28) Barriered In
29) Destroyer
30) Tyre Flip
31) Orange Trailer
32) Irish Table
33) Ford
34) Postman’s Walk
35) Parallel Bars
36) DAG Zig Zag
37) Hangover Wall
38) Sternum Checker
39) Cargo Net
40) Log on
41) Tyred All Over
42) Wilderness Rig
43) Wilderness Slatted Wall
44) Wilderness Wall
45) Wilderness Ladder Wall
46) Pond Spawn
47) Balance or Dip
48) Pig Stys
49) The Wall

My top tip.

This time round I’m giving you two!

1 – Get warm dry clothing ready for you at the end. After MacTuff I realised how important this is. So, this time round I got my hands on a Dryrobe (www.dryrobe.com)! What a piece of kit. I threw it on whilst still covered in mud and whipped off all my kit down to my birthday suit. I was so warm and dry I didn’t bother putting anything back on and drove home exactly as I was. A remarkable piece of kit that I will be using for every race (That’s wet and cold).

2 – If you can, run with a friend. You’ll probably find out like I did that your weakness’ and strengths cancel each other out. My mate Chris is a much better runner than I am and helped drag my sorry ass round when I was starting to flag. I had been working on my ability to lift myself over stuff, so helped him when he got into trouble. As the famous philosopher Jack Black once penned “That’s F%$ing teamwork”.

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Written by Alistair Marsden