Sunday, 18 November 2012

Brutal 10k Race Report

On Saturday I took part in my very first Brutal race. Brutal is an ongoing series of cross-country 10k races renowned for being especially muddy and nasty. I lost two nights sleep over the most recent one in Bordon, worrying about everything and nothing. What should I wear? Would I hate it? Would I come last? Would my car key survive the mud?

My overall impression was that it was a very well organised race. The event was well signposted from the road with plenty of car parking, an adequate number of loos and and good tea/coffee/bacon sarnie stall. There was the opportunity to buy technical souvenir t-shirts for £9 and buffs for £5. There was key storage and a decent race brief and warm up which everyone took part in for a change (usually it's just the girls). I met a couple of friends there and was cajoled into wearing camo paint which put me in the mood.

There were around a dozen entrants with dogs who were set off a good 10 minutes ahead of the rest of us and only around 260 entrants overall. A fairly detailed description of the race had been sent out in advance but nothing really prepared me for what lay ahead. It was (unusually, I'm told) a two lap course which was especially depressing as I realised that whatever horrors lay ahead I'd have to do twice. It was the most exhausting and mentally tough event I've ever taken part in. There was sand, pools, bogs, swamps, streams and terrifyingly steep descents with matching ascents. It was less of a run, more of a wade and scramble. The wading tired out my legs so much that when I had the opportunity to run I very nearly couldn't. There were plenty of marshalls, all in excellent humour, a water station at 5k and squash, bananas and chocs and the finish. No goody bag but a free branded buff for all finishers. For £16 entry in advance I thought it was pretty good value, all things considered. I got round in 1:36 while the winner finished in 46 minutes. How he managed it I have no idea whatsoever. Being at the back of the pack was no bad thing for a novice though as there was plenty of banter and everyone looked out for each other.

Despite all of that I can honestly say I enjoyed it. I think is mostly because I managed to change my attitude towards the event. It wasn't a race, it was a challenge. Once I got up to my calves in mud it was a case of "in for a penny, in for a pound" and by the end I was caked almost up to my waist, my shoes and socks were full of silt and grot. There was a fantastic camaraderie and atmosphere. It was great to do something different and for once I don't care about my time, I was just glad I took part.

No comments:

Post a Comment