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Getting down and dirty at The Stampede

If someone had told me a couple years ago that this year I would partake in my first obstacle course run, subjecting myself to mud, climbing over walls, crawling through mud that was quite possibly mixed with a good dose of horse poo – I’d have quite seriously questioned their sensibilities.  Damn, if someone had said that to me even six months ago I would have laughed at them.

But here we are, late October 2014 – and TICK!

Without further ado, I bring us to my latest in my series of “fun fitness things to try” – obstacle racing.  Sometimes known as mud runs.  Very, very muddy runs.

The Stampede - 10k, 31 obstacles and a whole lot of mud!

The Stampede – 10k, 31 obstacles and a whole lot of mud!

I have never, ever been so dirty in my whole life – and I have had a mud bath before.  Three days on, I am possibly the most bruised I have ever been in my whole life.  And what a blast it was!

On the weekend I partook in The Stampede, held in the Glenworth Valley, about 45 minutes north of Sydney.  Convinced by a work mate to join in, I found myself facing a 10k course, covering 31 obstacles.  Some of the obstacles were relatively simple – maybe wet & muddy, but not particularly difficult (hopping over creek crossings, or wading your way through mud).  Some of the higher ones were a challenge – climbing up and over a tyre wall that I feel was about 4-5m up, but in reality was probably only about 3 (it felt like a long way up hoisting myself over that to climb back down).

My favourite two obstacles were the rope swing and the giant slip’n’slide.  Rope swing involved swinging on a rope from the top of hill, to cargo net, catch the cargo net & climb down said net (entertaining to watch one of my colleagues get to much height on his swing that he nearly clocked himself on the wooden frame holding the net).  Giant slip’n’slide followed – and as the name suggests, it was a giant slip’n’slide – complete with steep section at the bottom to really launch yourself into the muddy lagoon at the bottom – people were actually getting air born off it.

Climbing over a bus.  As you do.

Climbing over a bus. As you do.

I was glad to have done this with some work mates who were prepared to work as a team – I certainly wouldn’t have made it through if I didn’t get a boost for some of the climbing challenges and a hand up when I got stuck in one of the numerous mud pools.  Although we had two runners in our group of five, they would run to the next obstacle and wait for us slow ones, so we all finished together as a group.

I was pleased to see just how far my fitness has come this year – although I don’t train cardio too much (sprint intervals once a week), I was happy to see that I wasn’t coming in miles behind the runners in the group.  I’ve also found that where the others in the team were complaining about muscle soreness in the following two days, I really wasn’t too bad – although my bruises are quite sore!

Me - before and after

Me – before and after

The bottom line

What: The Stampede

Where: Glenworth Valley, approx 45 minutes north of Sydney (near Gosford) – although as an annual event, possible that it might move around

Would I do it again: Yes!  Was a lot of fun – I am battered and bruised, but really proud of myself for getting through it all.  However, I would only do it though if I had a team to do it with – a lot of those obstacles I would not have been able to get through on my own.  Comments from a few other participants that have done Tough Mudder were that Stampede was a bit more relaxed and fun (think of Stampede as a fun run, versus Tough Mudder being a competitive marathon).  Note to self: don’t even THINK about doing this during comp season – the bruises are pretty messy!  🙂

The bruises were looking a bit shadowy the following day - by two days later were BLACK!

The bruises were looking a bit shadowy the following day – by two days later were BLACK!