A couple of months ago my friend Dawn asked if I fancied doing a race for life event, but not just a regular race for life, she wanted us to do a Pretty Muddy one…… yep muddy!!!! The 5k run includes obstacles and a whole lot of mud. I jumped at the chance, well not quite, but I thought why not, it’s for an amazing cause and I lost my wonderful Mum to cancer 4 years ago. If I can help even a little bit to fight this awful disease then I will do.
(Thanks Hubby for the photo bomb)
Race for life is now a national fundraising event for women only organised by Cancer Research UK. The events vary from 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon and pretty muddy. The first event took place in 1994 in Battersea Park, London and raised £48000 and since then it has built up to nearly 300 events per year across the country.
We signed up and received our packs complete with sponsorship form, some information about the event, race number and back sticker and some pretty cool temporary tattoos, which in fact needed a good scrub to get off afterwards!
As with any form of running you need to train and this started well, heading out 3 times a week with Dawn and my sister often joined by my loopy spaniels Oakley and Tash. Even Each came out running with us a couple of times, helping his rather unfit Mummy with his words of wisdom. ‘It doesn’t matter you came last Mummy, as long as you are trying your best’… hearing my own words echoed in his made me super proud, but also made me realised that I’m no athlete…..
Anyway, on with the training we went, until slowly one of us had a reason not to go out and of course if one of us couldn’t, then there is no way the rest of us could, right??
We decided to make it a family event taking our Hubby’s and the children, plus having support is all part of the day. We both made the family a picnic to enjoy but also to keep the kids entertained.
Our event took place at Burghley House, a beautiful sixteenth century house in Lincolnshire. We arrived to a packed field of cars. Following the noise we made our way to the starting point, armed with our race numbers and back signs. Seeing everyone with their back signs dedicated to their loved ones made me really quite emotional, it was really something to realise just how many people have been effected by cancer.
Time for a warm up which was a fun dance that included various star jumps, squats and stretches. Lots of laughing to be heard from all the ladies, some with awful coordination skills……… it would appear I was one of them.
After the warm up the DJ from Heart FM gave a the count down 5,4,3,2,1 and with a cloud of pink smoke we were off.
Of course we started well, running with confidence down the straight to the first bend rounding the corner to see the first obstacle getting closer and closer. Giant pink balloon hurdles…….. they must have been around 2.5 feet high and about the same wide. Being 5 foot I had to clamber over each of them while the taller ladies just jumped them with ease. Laughing over each of them we carried on before deciding we should save our energy and walk for a while.
Over the course of 5k we came face to face with pink tyres, a run through the lake, a cameo net tunnel, drain pipes, the cargo netting we had to climb over, then the small walls we had to climb over into mud pools and hanging giant balls we had to get through without getting one to the face. By this point not only were we cold, wet and muddy but we still had to face the last obstacles: the muddy crawl, which was basically a giant paddling pool filled about 1.5 feet deep of muddy water that you had to crawl through on all fours, so as you can imagine it was the muddiest we had been so far. Although for this we did have about a 40 minute wait as only 6 people could go through at one time, so we chatted to other ladies about their day and their personal experiences with cancer, including the different ways they had raised money.
We ran on to the last obstacle seeing the children’s smiling faces watching us! We went over for a quick photo and made sure they were enjoying it all. They had been hanging out at the Virgin Fitness stand and had their faces painted and been given goodie bags.
Nothing like saving the best to last, another massive pink balloon was waiting for us, this time in the form of a ladder the with inevitable slide into ….. yep you guessed it a pool of mud. We laughed and screamed our way down into the muddy pool. Then ran the last 100 yards, people laughing and clapping each lady as they arrived at the finish line.
We were met by some volunteers holding big foam hands ready to ‘high 5’ us as we passed. They gave us a much needed bottle of water, some shower gel and the cute little dog tag style medal.
I can not begin to tell you how muddy I was, soaked to the skin. I had taken towels to put in the car and wrap around me and took my trainers and socks off before getting in. We knew there wasn’t any showers or changing rooms so I thought I would just sit on towels until I got home, Dawn however was more organised and took a change of clothes, her hubby holding the towel round her while she changed.
Getting home I stripped off in the bath, as by then the mud was drying up and cracking, so at least I didn’t have too much floor to clean after. The shower gel came in handy as I used a lot of it, I was disgusting!!
Doing Pretty Muddy was a such a fun day, raising money for Cancer Research UK. I would recommend it to you all. Next time you and your friends are planning a day out think about getting together and doing something for an amazing charity. Just remember to take a couple of towels as you will need them!