Monday, 3 December 2012

Grimmed and Dared It!

On Sunday the 2nd December 2012 at 10:30am about 2,000 people, in various degrees of coldness, stepped over the start line of the Grim Challenge. This year was the 10th anniversary of the original Grim, an 8-mile race over Army Training grounds in Aldershot typically involving a large number of icy, muddy "puddles", a few nasty hills and a couple of cargo nets. 

I was meant to take part in this in 2010 but due to snow blocking the access roads it got postponed and I couldn't make the new date. I transferred to sister event Beast In The East but had unfinished business here. 

The race organisation was very good. My pack was sent out a good two weeks in advance, I got extra travel instructions in the week before and the event was very well sign posted. There was a key/baggage drop, changing tents for men and women, a good number of porta-loos which meant queuing was minimal, and a few reasonable catering stands. The course was enthusiastically marshalled and the only complaint I've got is that the 7 mile marker was quite clearly NOT at 7 miles. That was the longest mile of my life. There was some music piped out at a couple of points around the course which I rather enjoyed. The atmosphere was fantastic though, as I'm beginning to find with this kind of event, loads of spectators, lots of banter, some cool costumes and generally a lot of fun. The goody bag had a couple of snacks, some shampoo and conditioner and a pain-eze gel. The race t-shirt was cool but would have been even better made from a technical fabric.

It was a dry, bright day but very cold. The event is run on both the Saturday and the Sunday so although the ice had been broken on the water the day before, there was a good fresh batch on the Sunday too. The Brutal 10 I completed two weeks previously had stood me in good stead for this one. The course was far easier in many respects, despite being two miles longer. I am a little out of shape when it comes to distance running and I'd expected more mud to slow me down so the amount of the course that was "run-able" came as a bit of a shock. The lack of thick mud made this far less draining on the legs, but I was still knackered on the last mile. Going into the ponds wasn't so bad but coming out hurt like anything as the cold air evaporated the water and everything was slippery. 

The guys in this video (watch the left hand side right the way through) certainly threw themselves into it though!

I didn't get nearly as muddy as at Brutal though, which may have been a blessing. 

My friend Anita ran this with me and, bless her, we stuck together the whole way round, hanging on to each other through every pond and mud patch. She pretty much had to drag me through the last pond when she could have easily taken ten minutes off of her time instead. It made such a difference having someone to go round with. This was her first cross country event and I'm glad to say she loved it! So much so she's signing up to tackle Tough Mudder with me!

The winner came in at around 50 minutes so all credit to him. Anita and I finished in 01:37:22, much faster than I completed Brutal in, and a couple of my friends came in around ten minutes faster than us, despite injuries, which was great. All in all, a great event. Now I'm just looking forward to seeing the official photos.

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