A few weeks ago my fellow blogger keep it simpElle had posted on Facebook she had a spare ticket for Mens Health Survival of the Fittest. I was volunteering for the day and it fitted perfectly in with the end of my shift so I asked if I could join her and she said yes! I have to admit in the lead up to the day I was incredibly nervous. I’d done the Muddy Race Training Day last weekend and found my upper body strength severely lacking! Knowing that MHSOF would involve walls and god knows what else I was very nervous. Especially when they said they were bringing the Rat Race Dirty Weekender obstacle which contains 3 separate walls that must be about 7-8ft in height to get up. The thing looked terrifying and when I arrived on site at 7am Saturday morning it didn’t look any less terrifying! I then found out my position for marshalling was going to be obstacle 1, haybales, positioned adjacent to said wall. All morning I was watching people navigating it and wondering how the hell I was going to do it myself! Marshalling was awesome and I got to see some of my instagram buddies running the course as well as the Muddy Race team go through. Then it was my turn!
I met Danielle and we got ourselves dressed and ready to run. I knew from watching all morning that our wave would start on time and ours was significantly smaller than the rest of the days. We weren’t however the last wave which was good as when our wave had deserted us and got ahead we had the back waves catching us up and able to help when needed.
I could write SO much about how amazing the day was but I’ll try not to take too long! The course initially took in the area around the green car park of Wembley stadium before moving off onto the concourse, which involved something like 4 stair climbs before we were allowed to stay on the concourse. By that point we had already traversed some scaffolding, crawled through water and under a net. We eventually made our way around to the water slide where my friend Louise was marshalling, she kindly videoed my slide!
After that we faced a stair carry holding onto a traffic cone, then onto more scaffolding and monkey bars before we made our way out and onto the industrial estate around Wembley, one turn which involved a blind corner, no marshall and a tiny arrow wasn’t all that great but we got past it with a mad sprint across the road praying a car wasn’t coming! We were then in Brent park and could see people wading through the river but were told we were still running on up the park. The park seemed to go on for miles and miles of boring running before we eventually came to the inflatables, guttingly the marshall told us people had burst what appeared to be 6 of the inflatable obstacles and we only had one we could go over! I’d been looking forward to that so was a bit upset! I think after that came the sandbag carry. I grabbed the smallest I could find! We had to climb up a hill under some metal fencing, along the top and back down the other side, I decided to slide down on my bum which produced rather muddy trousers but felt safer! We then made our way to our first river crossing. It started out ok and then it got to waist deep, one guy told Danielle she could hop on his back which she promptly did whilst I tried to feel my way along the riverbank and up the side! Before long we were back in the river.
I think we were in the water on 4 separate occasions with a few walls, cargo nets and pallet obstacles in between times! The final time we went into the water it turned out it went on for what must have been about a km before eventually we were signposted out! It was draining on the legs but fun, once your wet you don’t really mind anymore!
Once out of the storm drain it was a quick run into Wembley with one quick dip into a warehouse for a smoke and strobe light show, I was glad that didn’t last long as I’m not a fan of strobe lighting and it never makes me feel too great! Then we were back into the green car park and dozens of walls ahead of us. Thankfully there were plenty of men around who helped get us up and when there weren’t we took turns helping each other. The cargo net was exhausting and slow. I conquered a climbing wall with the help from a couple of brilliant marshalls who helped me feel safe enough by supporting me whilst Danielle helped haul me up.
There was more water to crawl through under wires. More scaffolding to climb through. Walls to climb up and get back down again. A inverted wall which is not fun! Tyres to crawl through. Beer barrels to carry. And then it was onto the BIG one. Thankfully some men were milling around and I was not at all shameless in asking for assistance! I just wanted to get to the top. Between 2 and 3 two very helpful marshalls assisted me up, the one at the bottom giving me a leg up and then telling me to stand on his shoulder and the one at the top pulling me up. We made it, had a quick pic and then it was time to get down again. I knew from watching that most people had taken one section facing the steps and slow and steady which was the method I took. Then there were 2 walls to slide off, I took the stomach and facing in technique both times. They were too high for me to go forwards, I knew I’d land on my face! Then we ran around to the final 2 obstacles! A leg up from my friend from marshalling earlier in the day and we were on the platforms. I slid myself in first and then Danielle followed and hauled ourselves out the other side. Finally there was the last wall. It doesn’t look that high but once your up there the drop feels really high. I’d watched dozens fo people jumping down and slipping so I took the slide on your belly and have people to catch you technique! And then we sprinted across the finish deliriously happy!
We both agreed it had been an awesome race! I’d loved every single second of it. Our chip time was 2hrs 15 mins and 48s. I’d told myself I would be happy to come in under 2hrs 30 so was very happy with that!
The medal is also a bottle opener too which is pretty neat and the goodie bag contained goodies from Durex as well as aftershave and mens moisturiser and some food sample products. The goodie bag may be very male orientated but this isn’t a race just for the men! Women can and do do it too! Don’t be put off by the name!
Overall the race was really well organised. Waves started on time. Majority of marshalls were brilliant. Only a select few were less enthusiastic and came out with ‘we cant help you’ lines, which was a load of rubbish as 95% of marshalls were helping! I was gutted most of the inflatables weren’t available and also a water slide in the park wasn’t open when we got there, it looked so fun! These were only minor downpoints and I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up again as overall it was the best race I’ve ever done! Next weeks Kingston 10k is going to be mega boring in comparison!
Thank you Rat Race for the courtsey place!