Little Runner Gal

Running, eating, sleeping and all the bits in between


on November 23, 2013

Anyone that knows me, or has seen my antics on social networking, will know that I love a good trail event. So how else would I be spending a frozen Saturday morning but running up hills, through mud and across freezing cold lakes at the Brutal 10 Long Valley?!

Brutal runs are 10km runs that use only natural obstacles such as hills, water obstacles, mud and uneven ground…sounds fun eh?!!

Arriving early, we crunched our way across the frozen ground of the “car park” to collect our numbers and Brutal t-shirts. By the time we reached the portaloo queue we couldn’t feel our feet and our teeth were chattering, so we were already pretty confident that the lakes we’d be wading through would be only slightly warmer than freezing.

To really get in to the spirit of the event, we joined some of the other competitors at the start line in daubing our faces like we meant business!
A quick military style warm up and we were ready to go, still shivering.

The crowd of people set off and we were stop start up the first couple of muddy hills, before the crowds thinned out a bit. The ground was still thick with mud so this area had thawed out nicely. Or so I thought until I hit the first water obstacle. I just had to throw myself in, it was now or never…! The thick muddy water was waist high and the ground below the icy surface very uneven, but the line of us ‘Brutaleers’ waded across at varying speeds and out the other side. Phew at least that was out of the way. Oh no, less than 100m later there was another, longer stretch of water. I emerged with all manner of bog debris lodged within my shoes and very little feeling in my feet.

Then came the hills. Rocky, muddy, steep, uneven and massively calf burning. No one was getting up them very quickly and every summit was a mini achievement in itself. At one point a niggling knee started to bother me but slowing down a bit (and the incremental icy dips) seemed to be keeping any real pain at bay.

The longest lake was next. A good 4 minutes wading across, waist deep. By the time I reached the other end I had no feeling in my lower legs. How they started to move again I still have no idea, but they had some kind of auto pilot thang going on so I left them to it. Luckily feeling returned before the steep climbs along the bog grass trenches up to the steepest point of the course. After that I was running with a good few pounds extra on each foot, but that was easily shaken off.

One of the marshals said only 1km to go and that it was easy downhill from here. My previous experience in these situations left me sceptical, but I was proven wrong and not too far down the hill and a sprint finish later, I was there with my head in a tin of finish line Quality Street! 01:19:56 official finish time, which is 26 minutes longer than my 10km PB but this event really wasn’t about that. It was an amazing, freezing, leg burning experience which left me buzzing.

If you get a chance to do any of these crazy obstacle type trail runs then I would definitely recommend them, however long it takes you to get round, it’s a character building experience!
So the next couple of weekends are cross country and then The Grim….another “character building” one! Wish me luck!





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