I used to love running.
Whilst at school I used to relish sports days and county meet ups. I was mostly a sprinter but enjoyed cross country too but when I left school and went to College and University running got replaced with a new found love of anime and gaming.
When I got engaged, like most brides to be I started a fitness routine and started jogging again. It was also about this time that Chris got coerced into the Spring Wolf Run. One of his best men was running it in aid of the Stroke Association with some of his other friends and Chris had foolishly mentioned to him that he was wanting to get in shape for the wedding.
So in April a group of about 8 of them ran the course at Welsh Road Farm getting rather muddy (as you’d expect) and cold (as you’d expect again) whilst I stood at the finish with a cup of tea cheering them on. Chris enjoyed it more than he thought he would, he wasn’t really that keen on running beforehand, but decided that he wanted to do the Summer one and that I should do it with him.
I contemplated it.
It did look like a laugh and focused on team work and getting muddy rather than competing against each other, I was just worried that my Rheumatoid Arthritis would stop me doing some of the obstacles. I don’t have as much movement in my wrists as I used to, I can’t do press ups as I physically can’t support myself on my hands.
I decided to have a look on the Wolf Run website to see if I could find out more about it and between the photos of people covered in mud but still smiling, I came upon a blog entry entitled “The week that will define the rest of my life”
It is written by a man called Ewan Stutt who completed the Spring Wolf run, including the lake swim, and he suffers from Parkinsons, PARKINSONS! And here I am thinking I can’t when there are people who suffer with such awful conditions and they complete it, not just once but season after season.
Screw it, I’m in!
The only downside to this decision. The Summer Wolf Run was 5 days before we get married and four members of the wedding party were running it – fingers crossed for no broken legs.
So the day of the Wolf Run rolls round, after a breakfast of porridge and scrambled eggs we head off and I must say I at least look the part in my running gear complete with finger-less gloves.
Once registration was completed, time for some stretches and soaking up the atmosphere which was pretty electric. My nerves were building until we were called for our safety briefing and warm up and before I know it we are counting down at the start
3…2…1…HERE WE GO! and the nerves were replaced by exhilaration, as I hurled myself into the first water obstacle.
There was water followed by liquid mud followed by giant tyres followed by more mud. Crawling under bushes, running through trees and climbing up walls.
I managed all of the man-made obstacles except the first wall and the monkey bars. Both were far too slippery for me to get a grip on (even with my super gloves) and I didn’t have the upper body strength to pull myself up the wall or get the momentum on the monkey bars.
However, I did manage to climb a wall with the aid of a rope and clambered up a steep river bank, crawled at a fair speed through a dark tunnel and only managed to slip over once. As exhausting as it was we did get a bit of rest bite when we reached the water slide due to people queuing for it. This was one of the obstacles I had been quite nervous about, I’m not sure why but it turned out to be one of the best. Even the muddy pool of water that you crash into at the end was almost refreshing.
Music pumping kept us going as we approached the drink stop at the half-way mark and after a short drink and a bit of a water fight we pressed on.
It was then we came to the infamous “Mud Sucker” I starting trudging through it with the guys but soon found that I was better off nearer the edges. I temporarily lost my trainer, even though I had double knotted the laces. This was my least favourite part of the course due to how tired I was and how much effort is needed to pull yourself out of it. I was glad when we got past it onto more solid ground with both of my trainers still on my feet.
More mud, hills and then the swim. I decided to run around it with the rest of the guys wanting to do it. I then had to wade part of the river to re-join the course but unfortunately lost the guys in the process. Whilst I had jogged down to the next obstacle they were waiting for me where the river met dry land so 10 minutes later, we found each other again half way between the cargo net and the river.
That might have ruined the wedding if the bride or groom had become lost in the grounds of Stanford Hall.
Up and over the cargo net (one of my favourite obstacles), more running well jogging/walking by this point, and it turns out the river the guys “swam” earlier was actually more of a wade and there is an actual river swim near the end.
Once we are passed that, without losing each other this time, the final obstacle was a pier like structure that wobbles beneath you as you run down it and jump into a body of water. I couldn’t quite get the speed I wanted as there were people in front of me and we were all having to walk along it to keep our balance. If you can get a clear run, I imagine you can really throw yourself in.
Finally we posed for one last group photo before sprinting over the line together.
I remember feeling elated that I had finished, feeling proud we had all made it through without any major damage, except for a few scratches from the odd branch, and surprised myself when I turned to Chris and said
“I want to do the Autumn one now”
And I am, along with Chris, Craig, Matt and Mary, on Saturday 3rd September.
Bring it on!
Are you thinking of doing The Wolf Run? Read this post from Ewan Stutt about his experience of the 2016 Spring Wolf Run at Welsh Road Farm, and you may just get inspired to give it a go.