Running the Men's Health Survival of the Fittest in Battersea Park, London was a real eye opener.....running a 10km race is somewhat easy for me these days (never thought I'd say that) but throw in an assault course on route and you've got yourself a whole new ball game!
Entry into this little beauty was organised by my good buddy Chris Gately-White (aka Whitey, original hey?) and was [unofficially] sponsored by Jack Daniels (hence the t-shirts). The team was made up of mainly boys but we did manage to rope in Nikki and Amy (Mrs Gately-White) for some serious punishment.
Had I known what I was in for that day, I wouldn't have started the day with an 8 miler before heading into London. In hindsight this wasn't good preparation but I'm a bit of a stickler for getting my mileage in and that day was a 13 mile day according to the plan, so I needed a pre or post race topup.
The course was around Battersea Power Station on the South Bank of the Thames, a slightly weird yet interesting venue for what was a massive event (7,857 entries day, 1,379 entries night). Waves of individuals and teams set off at 15 minute intervals all day, ours (#27) was the last daytime wave, departing the start line at 15:30. There was also a night time course starting after ours but it was a cut down version and not the full monty!
I'd like to report that we had a fantastic team spirit and that we helped each other over all of the obstacles but that would be a complete lie. We set off together and I think we managed to stay together for the first 5 minutes or so but then it turned into every man (& woman) for him/herself. This self centred approach to the team work was spearheaded by Whitey, who decided he needed to prove to everybody he could get around the course quicker than any of us. Remember Whitey, there is no "i" in team!
There were a number of interesting items to climb over, under or through, including a car and countless skips, including some which contained iced water and in case you thought you'd get away dry, they had a huge fireman's hose to wet you down. The final challenge a 10 foot wall. That wouldn't be a problem for a team but they'd already rushed ahead to the end whilst I assisted my wife over the wall (and some of the other obstacles), along with countless other damsels who needed a boost over the wall. How on earth was I going to get over this wall? I hadn't realised Nikki had called for some help and most of the team came running back around the wall and I was lifted in to the air like Excalibur rising from the lake. I was over the wall in a flash and Nikki & I crossed the line together in a respectable 1 hour 8 minutes 49 seconds (full results).
A great day out with mates and certainly very different from just running 10km, although I'm not sure I was prepared for all the bruises. I'm sure we'll be back for another one of these in 2013 but for the time being I'm off to find the beer tent.......