Sometimes I sign up to things without really thinking about the actual event. Over the past few years I’ve seen friends post photos of themselves during and after Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest, they’re wet, muddy and tired. I’ve always thought I couldn’t do the race. Yesterday I proved to myself that I could!
We opted for the second wave of the day, with a 9.15am start. If I do another obstacle course I will always choose an early race where the course is still in good condition, plus it means we have the rest of the day to relax and recover (as well as nabbing a parking spot easily- Wembley can be a nightmare to get to on public transport). Tom, Tony and I started at the back of our group knowing we were taking part to have a good time, rather than a fast time. Quite quickly we overtook people on the first obstacle, stacks of hay bales that you had to throw yourself up and over.
The first part of the course looped around the car park just outside Wembley, it included numerous obstacles, such as the hay bales, hurdles, climbing through trucks and tyres, crawling on the floor under grates whilst being sprayed by a fire hose, plus getting almost fully submerged into a vat of water.
After completing these obstacles, we headed up onto the concourse around Wembley where we took on some more challenges, including carrying giant cones up and down stairs, monkey bars, a mini maze, and climbed over fences before making our way down and out of the Wembley area. We ran about 2km to some local parks, where we carried sandbags, jumped over high walls, threw ourselves through bouncy obstacles and ran through a freezing river and canal. It seriously took your breath away it was so cold, it reached up to my chest; another girl and I held hands to keep ourselves upright! There were another two stretches of canal running after the deep one, including a stretch that took us through a pitch black tunnel. I was so glad not to be taking this on alone, and made Tom hold my hand through the tunnel. I didn’t mind running through the water, other than the stabbing pain from the icy cold water. We were so glad when the water was over!
Once we hit 9k the route took us back into the car park area, where there were a few more obstacles to tackle before the finish. By this point everyone was exhausted but also on a high as we could see the finish line.
I nearly tried to skip this tyre obstacle, it was a series of three tyres that you had to push yourself through and I was worried I’d feel claustrophobic. As I was trying to sneak around the side Tom shouted at me to come back and just do it. I’m glad I did as it meant I completed all of the obstacles (if you count falling off the monkey bars both times!).
Jumping into a tank of water…no big deal.
For me the worst obstacles were the high wall style as I physically couldn’t get myself over without help. My favourite bit about the whole course was the friendliness of the other runners, they were so willing to help each other on the obstacles. A lovely girl helped me on a few of the walls that weren’t as high, and she got her boyfriend to catch me as I jumped down from one of the really high ones! I loved having the boys with me for these walls, it took help from both of them to get me over some of them!
Finishing together and earning our medals (and pub lunch!)
I can’t believe how much I enjoyed the challenge of Survival of the Fittest. It’s so different from running a normal 10K course, where I’m usually focusing on the time. We finished in 1hr 45mins- double my normal 10k time, but having had a complete full body workout. I am sore all over today! It was so much fun to do this race with Tom and Tony, my stepbrother. He’s just getting into running, and in particular obstacle course races- I don’t think this will be our last.
I was given complimentary entry to Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest, but I would gladly buy my own entry to a future event! Well worth it.