…just your average Saturday at Born Survivor.
(Photo credits: Christian Houghton and Born Survivor)
Last year if you’d asked me if I wanted to sign up to a 10km, military designed muddy obstacle course (for fun) – I would have laughed in your face and yelled HELL NO!
Skip forward to September 2016 and I’ve just completed my second Born Survivor!
If you’re after a new challenge this is it! Set in various picturesque locations across the country such as the Lake District or Cheshire countryside, with 30+ military style obstacles (designed by ex-Royal Marines) over a muddy 10km – the courses are designed to challenge you physically and mentally.
I was encouraged to sign up as part of a team at my gym and around 50 of us completed it in April (in the Lake District) and September (at Capesthorne Hall). I hadn’t even considered a 10km run let alone with the added sludge and obstacles – it was so far out of my comfort zone it was off the chart!
A lot of people were worried about the 10km element and being able to run that far but it’s broken up by the obstacles so there’s only a little jogging in between each one. I’d say that you don’t need to be super fit or be able to run long distances non-stop but you do need to be up for a challenge and used to some exercise. I didn’t do any special training or distance running other than going to the gym but they did organise a special outdoor training session for us which included a run to the top of Rivington Pike.
So what’s it like? Pretty brutal to be honest but a whole lot of fun! Coming out the other side covered in mud having pushed yourself through those obstacles leaves you feeling pretty epic and like you’ve achieved something special!
You arrive for registration, pick up your obligatory Born Survivor festival style wristband, temporary tattoos and bandanna, have your bag collection number written on you in marker pen and gather as your team for your assigned start time and warm up. This involved jogging on the spot, star jumps, high fiving the person next to you and chanting military style and then you’re off, with a shot from a firing pistol, running through coloured smoking flares and cheers from the crowd.
After a short jog, you’re onto the first obstacles, clambering over wooden posts and jumping down the other side. Not so bad? A bit further ahead you have your first encounter with mud – thick and gloopy – like running through treacle – my tip would be to power through as fast as you can – if you stop the suction makes it harder to start and you’re in danger of losing your shoes! Now that’s the warm up done you can expect to wade through rivers, carry a logs up and down a hill, vault over gradually increasing wooden fences until you need the help of your team for a footing or get on their shoulders to be pulled over and crawl under barbed wire and tyres and through water filled pipes and trenches with just enough room to breath. If that still doesn’t sound too bad, further ahead you’re on for a climb up a scaffolding rig to reach a high platform with a near vertical slide into a 10ft deep muddy bog. Expect to go head under. I screamed like a tiny child and felt like I was under the thick muddy water for ages before I surfaced gasping, covered in mud and vegetation and grasping for the rope to haul myself out. This is one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done but when I crawled out the other side I somehow had a huge grin on my face. You’re given minutes to recover then you’re running off a jetty to jump into another muddy pool – head under again but this time not so scary. With adrenaline rushing you’re gathering again as a group ready to jog on to the next obstacle. By this point the jokes about ‘having a little something in your hair’ were running strong and everyone was laughing at the absolute state of themselves.
Just towards the end, when you’re legs are feeling energy zapped and like jelly you have The Blitz. A 16ft tall 40ft wide curved slippery wall with a muddy run up you’re expected to reach the top. This is a dreaded obstacle , tackle it wrong and you’re sure to face plant and slide back down in an oh so glamorous fashion. This took me 3 ego shattering attempts in April but I managed to power up on my first go this time round. The finish line was close…
Over all it took around 3 hours but this was more down to the size of our team as we stuck together to help and cheer each other on.
You’re then off to collect your Born Survivor t-shirt, pick up your clean clothes and stagger to the changing tents. These aren’t dignified but by this point you really don’t care. You’ll be hopping about trying to peel the mud soaked clothes from your tired limbs as fast as you can, a quick wipe with a baby wipe (if you’re lucky) to extract the worst of the debris before you wriggle into your dry clothes. A pint and some takeaway food is now calling your name and you can indulge guilt free knowing you’ve done something pretty awesome and definitely earned those calories!
Wondering what the hell to wear for something like this? I wore old black Nike leggings, a long sleeve tight black top from Primark with our red Born Survivor RM Fitness team t-shirt over the top, old sports bra, old black socks, old Reebok trainers (which I’d ripped getting my lace caught on a spinning machine but they had good grip), waterproof mascara and red nail varnish in team colours obviously! Haha!
Would I recommend it? Definitely! Hey I did it twice and I’d do another. If you’re thinking about signing up – JUST GO FOR IT!