Anyone who follows my 24 Events 24 Months facebook page will know that I was apprehensive about this race. Usually I watch all the youtube videos, read race reviews etc, to prepare for whatever I’m taking on. But because The Eliminator Race was brand spanking new there was none of that to prepare me! Pippingford Park has quite a reputation and I knew there was potential for brutal hills.
The journey there is only about an hour but we got a bit sidetracked chatting and took a wrong turn so took a tad longer but we soon found a queue of traffic that lead to the entrance of Pippingford, I’m sure the locals were loving us! After paying our £5 we parked up and headed for the toilets and registration. In a way the fact we were a tad later was nice as it meant we had just enough time to get everything sorted and then head to the start line! Although the organisers had lost £5k worth of marquees which were going to be the heated changing area they still managed to provide a small bag drop which was great as it meant we could leave our dry robes there to put on as soon as we finished. Once we had deposited them we ‘joined’ the warm up in the sense that we jumped about and watched everyone else. I also had a quick hug with my buddy Muddy Crossfit Girl who was working the finish line.
We started pretty much on time, and I remembered to start my garmin! Bonus! The first stretch was downhill, for quite a while, but we knew it wouldn’t be long before we were going back up again and we were right! The first 10 minutes were downhill and then after that we came to a HUGE hill, all we could see as we looked up was a steady stream of runners meandering their way up! Garmin shows me it took us 10 minutes to get up it, as we looked back we could see across the valley to the event village, it was a fab view there was no denying that!
At the top of said hill we came to our first plunge in water. There was a queue for getting in and as usual a few queue jumpers. Whilst we were waiting one guy went charging through and then suddenly dived straight in head first, none of us knew why…. until we were in there! Turns out there were two massive trees under the water and as I was leading us through the water I hit them both with my shins and have some lovely bruising to show for it! Whilst in it I hadn’t realised how cold the water was but when we got out and I couldn’t feel my legs I realised it had been pretty chilly!
From here it remained flat on top of the hill for a short time before heading down about 100m and then back up again, I hadn’t noticed when I was going down that next to us there were people going back up! I’m glad I didn’t see that! Downhill running is usually something I love but on this terrain you had to be so conscious of where you put your feet so I never picked up much speed. It was then downhill again and into a wooded area which provided plenty of thick oozy mud, I spent much of my time ‘mud skating’ and decided I was going sideways as much as forwards! The woods brought a few more dips in a stream, a couple of them had some really high banks which was hard work, including one which came out the river and then went so ridiculously steep that I was on my hands and knees and just couldnt get any grip to get up, we ended up having a chain of people who managed to pull me up! More woods after that before we finally came out into the boggy fields. We had just been commenting that there really wasn’t very much water on this course when suddenly we came across a nice muddy pool and then two ponds!
The finish was uphill so no sprint finish and I dread to think how the finishing photos will look like! I spotted Muddy Crossfit Girl handing out the medals and ran into her arms for a huge hug!
Once we had our breath back we grabbed a tshirt and headed to the bag drop to pick up our dryrobes before dashing to the car to change. I’ve got to admit I don’t know what I’d do without my dryrobe!
When we were dry we popped back to the Event village to grab a hot chocolate, there were two catering vans and I decided on the shortest queue! Hot chocolate is hot chocolate after all! Obstacle Race Magazine, Muddy Kit and Mudstacle also had their tents in the event village along with a medal engraving service. There were plenty of toilets and overall it was a well organised event. My only grumble was that the course wasn’t 5 miles and I’m not the only person who’s garmin clocked less than 5 miles! I made it 4.3 miles which is significantly shorter :( Overall though a well organised event, more water would be nice but the course was certainly challenging and throughly enjoyable. We finished inside 1hr 15 which I’m happy with, it was faster than I thought we would be but then we didn’t run as far so swings and roundabouts I guess!