The Major Series 10K

“KEEP moving those legs otherwise you’ll get stuck and I’m not coming in to get you” – British Military Fitness.

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There’s little I love more than a challenge, especially when it’s a muddy one!

Last weekend my top teammate Dane and I tackled The Major Series at Leeds Bramham Park, a British Military Fitness (BMF) trail race voted the best in the UK.

Dane and I were signed up to the 10K race which actually turned out to be 12K and after an early start we arrived in time to set off in the first wave of the day.

Over that 12K we tackled nature’s obstacles from hills, mud, water and ditches to ropes and even bright pink space hoppers! This wasn’t my first muddy trail race, I ran Tough Mudder last year so I was interested to see how this was going to compare.

In short the obstacles in The Major Series are, in my opinion, better for a trail race than Tough Mudder as they use the environment rather than manmade structures.

Keeping your trainers tied tight was VITAL as you tried to wade your way through the Stench Trenches. The smell of fresh mud hits you instantly and as the BMF volunteer said its best to keep moving otherwise you will definitely get stuck! My legs felt as though they were moving through thick treacle as I tried to drive my knee up through the mud. When you’re waist deep in a bog of black tar like mud trying to claw your way to the other side on tired legs it’s easy to get stuck and Dane had to pull me my leg free at one point.

Getting ready to set off!

Getting ready to set off!

There’s plenty of mud in Cooper’s Crawl too which requires you to showcase your best commando crawl – Dane takes first prize on that one – as you keep as low to the mud soaked ground as possible. There’s also Spike’s Mud Crawler (the picture at the top of this post) where you’ve got barbed wire to contend with.

You’ve got to get low again to avoid some dangling electric fencing wire on one of the obstacles where there’s actually an escape route! And yes they are on – my left buttock can testify to that!

Aside from the mud there are plenty of logs to jump over, ditches to crawl out of and amazing trail running over mixed terrain. Oh, and there’s LOTS of water as well. My legs and feet were numb from wading through streams, under bridges and through bogs.

Then came the obstacle I was dreading most. Since Tough Mudder, Arctic Enema has haunted me so I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy Martin Marine’s Zone. There are two barriers you have to swim under and with the volunteers urging you to do it in one that’s probably what I should’ve done. Instead I swam under the first one before coming up for air and tackling the second one – it’s like a giant brain freeze!

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My favourite obstacle by far though was Sander’s Slide where Corporal Sander is ready to give you a good soaking before you take a run up and slide down the hill on your stomach much to the joy of spectators.

Last but not least, remember space hopping when you were younger? Well the last obstacle before you run over the finish line is the Breast Cancer Campaigns pink space hoppers.

Waiting for us at the end was a well deserved goodie bag full of a Moma! porridge sachet, a Coco Pro protein coconut water (which was AMAZING), a Beet It bar, dog tag medal and a £25 voucher for a health food website.

All in the entire race was so much fun and Dane and I finished with a massive smile on our face which we’d pretty much had the whole way round and we both said how much we enjoyed it.

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The only thing I would’ve like to have seen was foil blankets waiting for us at the end as it was FREEZING and maybe some power hoses to rinse off afterwards as it made getting changed a bit of a nightmare.

To find out more visit majorseries.com.

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Never has the phrase ‘après mud party’ excited me more

Photo credit to Tough Mudder HQ.

Photo credit to Tough Mudder HQ.

Today I got overly excited at reading the phrase ‘après mud party.

Not just because I like to be muddy – although I do when it comes to running –  but because that phrase means that Tough Mudder Yorkshire is just over one week away.

When the Yorkshire Tough Mudder Volunteer Programme pinged in to my email inbox this afternoon I wasted no time in getting familiar with what I’d be doing on the day as a volunteer and reading all about the perks that come with it.

Running Tough Mudder is an experience in itself, as my best friend Liana who ran the course last year told me, but we’re getting the complete Tough Mudder experience over two days this year. On Saturday, August 2 we will be volunteering on the course, cheering people on and helping them along the way before running the course on Sunday. The gazebo has been purchased for maximum socialising on Saturday night and after much deliberation our outfits have been planned right down to the colour of our shoe laces – neon yellow for Liana and bright red for me.

We can’t wait to don our TM volunteer t-shirts and really get stuck in to help make the event a success and enjoyable for everyone. Not to mention we are so excited to run the course ourselves.

As Liana put it, it’s essentially a weekend away for us. It combines all of our favourite things as well; adventure, challenges, being outdoors, running, lifting, socialising and wearing gym clothes. Bring it on!

Marathon training & some other challenges in between

After weeks of thinking about it I’ve finally devised myself a training plan for the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.
With just under three months to go I thought I’d share my training with you as I work up to running 26.2 miles and take on a few different challenges in between. 

Here’s a little about what I’ve got coming up:

Saturday, July 19: The No Ego Trail Challenge – Conquer the Forest half marathon at Dalby Forest
Just five days from now I’ll be running my first trail half-marathon. I’m not sure just how much of the stunning views of Dalby Forest I’ll be able to take in though as we battle through water, jump over fallen trees and tackle mud bogs and plenty of hills. As it’s my first one I’m not expecting a fantastic time but ideally I’d like to complete it in less than two hours.

Saturday, July 16: Adidas Thunder Run 24 Hour
For many people, the thought of running for 24 hours would sound like some form of extreme punishment. To me though, it sounds like one hell of an exciting challenge. I have been lucky enough to secure a place on the Women’s Running magazine team for this incredible challenge, organised by Adidas. The idea is that someone from the team has to be running the 10k trail route at all times across 24 hours. Each competitor must complete at least one lap but after that you can run as many as you want, or take it in turns. Hats off to those solo runners who do the full 24 hours by themselves! I don’t doubt that it’s going to be a huge test for me, both physically and mentally.

Saturday, August 2: Tough Mudder Yorkshire
My best friend and fitness fanatic Liana took on Tough Mudder last year and this year we’ve decided to do it together. We will be volunteering as course marshals on the Sunday after running the course on the Saturday as well. For those of you who don’t know what Tough Mudder is all about, it’s described as the toughest event on the planet. Over ten-12 miles we’ll tackle a range of obstacles from underwater tunnels to rope climbs and even fire to test our strength and all round physical (and mental) capabilities.

So that’s what I’m facing at the moment, a gruelling three weeks with plenty of recovery and mobility work in between and quite frankly I can’t wait!