Another weekend, and an obstacle race I’d agreed to months ago- the Gauntlet Games– had suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
Almost a year before this race, I did my first muddy obstacle race- The Nuclear Rush. It was a HUGE challenge and a real struggle to finish. I enjoyed it immensely and was so proud to complete it, but the memory of mud, rivers and a distinct chill had left me kinda fearful about what lay ahead at the Gauntlet Games!
After Nuclear Rush, I’d had to throw away my trainers and arrived back in shoreditch like a woman who’d lived in the woods for 20 years.
This time I was overly-prepared for that mud. I took 3 towels, a stack of bin bags, spare clothes, water to clean with… I arrived with this all in a 65 litre rucksack. I looked like I was heading off to travel the world for a year!
I needn’t have worried my little head…
The weather was a lot better this time round. Instead of sliding through pits of mud I’d mentally prepared for, the Gauntlet Games saw us diving through bouncy castles and through baths of bubbles like a giant child!
Don’t get me wrong, the 10k was not to be taken lightly- there was a lot of woodland running and I was was exhausted at the end, but the Gauntlet Games is a race I’d suggest you use to break yourself in, if you’ve not done anything like this before!
I did the race with 4 other gorgeous fitness pals- Kate, Sophie, Rachel and Claire. This was Rachel’s first ever race and so we had made a pact to stick together like woodland warriors. This race was going to be about having fun and messing about on a Saturday morning with our gal pals, not about getting PBs!
The race was in Trent Park- at the end of the Picadilly Line- Cockfosters! Did you know there is a BIG ASS park there? It was HUGE and actually gorgeous. I was so surprised to find it up there!
The queues to pick up race numbers were pretty long, and we were worried we would miss out 10.30am start time. Needn’t have worried- this is London. Fashionably late is fine by these guys! There were a few different start times, 15 mins apart, and if you didn’t make your specific one, it was cool to just jump into the next.
We knew that “Gladiators” woudl be hiding at obstacles in the woods, ready to wrestle/attack/hit us with giant beach balls. So, we thought it was best to get to know the enemy before we embarked upon our mission. This dude is loving fratanising with the enemy.
We were off! Kate and Claire have the energy of excited baby chimps and bounded off into the woods. Sophie, Claire and I took it at a more steady pace, and held up the rear, watching Kate and Claire karate chop leaves and playfully swipe at fellow racers (usually big groups of terrified looking men) with sticks. We managed to build up a reputation of fear in the woods as we pounded through, causing havoc! Rightly so.
The obstacles were brilliant- I can’t describe how much FUN! We had a 150m slip’n’slide down a hill (I nearly peed my pants laughing while I went down it) bouncy castles hidden in woodland, big pits of giant inflatable balls…. and gladiators jumping out at us and hurling buckets of painty water all over screaming groups of racers. Seriously, we were crying with laughter on our woodland trail!
I think the above is my favourite photo of the whole race- five little bubbly bodies leaving a trail as we pelted it to the finish line, crying with laughter and screaming raucously. And Simon- Sophie’s lovely bloke who took these photos, put up with all of this screaming and excitement when we eventually sprang out of the woods. He was a very patient cameraman indeed. Thanks, man!
I honestly don’t know how we had enough energy to pose, though. At least here you can see what the hell we’ve been crawling through. Dem thighs were rubbing togehter in wet leggings by the last bit of the race, I’m telling you, pah!
So in conclusion then? This was infinitely better than hanging with your friends down the pub. It was a huge bonding experience, and even during the tricky running bits we were having a blast. And we finished by lunchtime- so we schlepped to Broadway market in our medals, to chat about out feat and while away the afternoon sharing some more laughter. I absolutely 1000% recommend getting the girls together and doing something like this for a bit of a different experience. Until next year, Gladiators! We’re comin’ for ya.