We woke early at our 'next to the event' park accommodation. Grabbed a quick breakfast and headed ingot eh event. The sun was shining even at 7am, it was going to be a glorious day. I was very great full to be in the first wave, just that little bit cooler. My wave left at 9am so hopefully I could finished before the sun really got his hat on.
I was feeling a little nervous at this point, the average finish time was 3.5 hours. As ever worth here things they build up the toughness of it, but we got the feeling it was going to be a lot more intense than the school playground tough guy challenge we had both done in Melbourne. I was very lucky to have such great support, which would have only been made better with Pom-poms.
There were quite a few people mulling around on the course ready, some guys were wearing just skins (a tight cycling short like garment) on their bottoms. I thought to myself they are clearly on a mission. Little did I know I would be soon joining the 'shirtless' crew.
The race sort of started by us running along and jumping a wall into the 'holding pen' where a guide took us thorough all the details and got us in the mood. There was a lot of testosterone on show all good fun.
Then it started and we were off, the first half kilometre only contained a jump over bails. I was about 40 people back. The first event was a 30m crawl through mud under barbed wire. Thankfully this was more real mud, not the stinky compost we had experienced previously. A dab hand I thought, as we carried on running. I must admit I found the first 15mins really tough, my breakfast kept repeating as did the numerous free sport nutrition products I had greedily consumed before the race.
The next obstacle was straight into the river, explaining the lifeguards we had seen at the beginning. Chest deep in a river we had to wade and duck and swim through the river up stream. upon exiting my number had completely come off bar one pin and so I had to remove it, furthermore my t-shirt was so heavy, I need to get rid.
Back into the main area I managed to give Sarah my t-shirt on the way through. the next obstacle was to jump into the back of a dumper truck of ice, crawl underneath and through the other side. It was freezing, numbing and I climbed out shivering. Slowly heading on my way to warm up the semi frozen muscles.
There was some significant hill running up hill and down dale. The second quarter was a lot of running with some obstacles. To be honest the obstacles blur into one another, and I couldn't tell you the order, or even probably remember all 20. But on route there were lots of crawling through tunnels, wading through mud, climbing over fences and trenches, sliding down mud into water. The second quarter was great fun, I was out pretty much on my own, with a Irish guy, who we talk for a while and he, on hearing we were vagabonds' offered for us to have a shower at his house in bondi when we were done. It was great having company on the lonely trip and giving each other motivation was helpful to keep pushing. I hadn't realised I was going so fast but clearly we had been doing well.
Half way was marked by my least favourite obstacle, carry 2 x 5kg sand bags 1km through mud and deep water (in places). It was knackering. After that though I started to feel really good, and up for it, the fire had increased. A few obstacles later as I jumped over and under wooden poles the attendant said I was in fifth place. Wow I thought, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined being so high up the field. By this stage the Irish guy was starting to flag and so we gradually separated to our own races. By the last 25% they had saved the best obstacles, but I could see 4th place and 3rd place in front. Determination and grit stuck in and i pushed forwards. I could see I was gaining on both guys. The next obstacle was jumping over a hay bail pyramid I shot up and managed to catch up a good 20 yards on 4th. Pushing down the hill to the next obstacle a straight face climb. Which we reached top at he same time. Only happened that there was a 5m drop the other side into water. I asked how deep the water was and being told 3m I jumped straight in. 4th place (now 5th) was far too cautious and I managed to get well ahead and closing my sites on 3rd.
I had caught 3rd by the next obstacle, a climb over 3 12ft walls. Which I jumped up grab on and pulled myself over. Thanking a 'fortifying your upper body workout PDF' a friend has sent me, it definitely had made the difference. After the walls a look back showed two guys who were closing in about 50ft behind. After the walls we headed down to the much talked about eels obstacle, a crawl through water with electric fencing dangling down. there was little choice but to crawl through, you couldn't avoid the wires and so had to take the shocks, which were pretty strong, especially with the water. Mostly i was ok with the pain, as it was like being hit by the stallion fences we had encountered riding, strange where training comes from. At the end of the obstacles I copped an electric shock right in the face which made my head go fuzzy.
I must have got shocked between 10-20 times, but the only one which hurt still was my face. However, it had taken it its toll on my energy levels, I had gone from buoyant to exhausted in the space of the 5m crawl. Thankfully I had Sarah support screaming me on which as lovely and helped my tired body push onwards.
But what was next was a few killer long hills and massive inclines. A quick look back showed a couple of guys were catching. I dug deep and pushed for the top, my legs burnt but I was in 3rd and determined not to relinquish my 'bronze' position. Pure grit and determination got me up the hills, but these guys were so fast, they had caught me near the top, almost as soon as they had caught up and overtook, they started walking, which wasn't much slower than my run at that point. At the water station at the top of the hill I pushed on fast and they didn't follow as quick. As we headed down the hill I looked back to see one of them folded over and out of the game. I could also see 2nd place 500 yards in front. So I pushed on to see if I could catch him, feeling safe from challengers behind.
I ran straight up the face of the 'Everest' a clear sprint up climb and then down onto the monkey bars. I was catching second place all the time, but by this stage my body was struggling and every step was a painful reminder of the many before. Sarah was also running alongside pushing me onwards in loving taunts. Finally the final obstacle a run though more of the electric fences this time dangling down with no water and the finish line the other side it was a piece of cake.
I was exhausted but delighted to have finished what I thought was 3rd place, only 10 yards behind second. Only after being forced a can of solo and a beer for the photos as well as my finishers headband did i realise that there were 3 people having their photo taken for the top three. So I was in fact in 4th place, then winner was so quick apparently, that the woman must have been confused when she told me I was in 5th. I was so gutted, having fought so hard for what I thought was third. It failed to dawn on me at that point that finishing 4th out of the 500 I started with was pretty dam good. Instead I was left really disappointed. Strange if i was told that i would finish fourth before the race i would have been ecstatic. The disappointment soon left and exhausted but happy we headed back to the van.
we headed back to dee why in syndey, where we caught up with friends talking all about our Australia travels as well as enjoying hot showers. I went for a little rest whilst Sarah went for a swim.
We finished the day, after a snooze/swim with a classic Sunday roast and a few drinks at the social club. A massive not for profit bar/ casino/ bowling hall. It's an amazingly big venue and very cheap. Having relaxed thoroughly it was time for bed. Having had a very eventful and good fun day.