What do the Arctic Enema, Tarzan and the Block Ness Monster have in common, writes Andrew Murray. They’re just some of the obstacles, along with 12 miles of mud that faced competitors lining up for Tough Mudder Scotland, at Drumlanrig Castle near Dumfries on Saturday (25 June).
I was part of team Merrell, an electic mix of friends. Terni, a mother of two from Kelso; Johanna a carer from Columbia; and Arnaud, a French web designer, joined me on the start line, along with over 14,000 others. We had already watched Terni’s kids Maia and Isaac climb over walls, take on the monkey bars, and wade through the thick stuff during the Mini Mudder, a one mile version for 7-13 year olds. We were now ready to do battle ourselves.
The mood on the start line was electric. Legionnaires (those who had completed Tough Mudders before) passed on information and told tall tales to newbies like us. “Don’t even try to stay clean- you’ll last about 100 yards,” seemed to be the most common advice.
And so we were off, hurtling towards the first obstacle at a pace that would not be replicated for the rest of the day! What struck me straight away was that it really was not a race. People spent as much time helping people over walls, through impossible spaces, and swamps as they did moving forward. The camaraderie and sense of togetherness was there straight away.
If anyone ever tells you an Arctic Enema is a pleasant experience then do not trust anything else they say. Described by a marshal as 'refreshing', several thousand tonnes of ice had been ordered to ensure that a brief aquatic obstacle course would be a bone chilling experience for all. Having been for a swim in an ice hole during winter in the arctic before, it felt like a pretty authentic experience. We hauled ourselves out, cheered on by a throng of spectators that had chosen their positions wisely to witness maximum discomfort.
Tough Mudder really is a lot more than a mud-fest. I don’t have a great deal of upper body strength, so relied on friendly pushes over walls, and over the Block Ness Monster. The monkey bars were negotiated easily by my teammates while they took me forever. But I felt comfortable running over the Pyramid Scheme, and up the Mt Everest obstacle.
If I were to sum up Tough Mudder I would say it was fun. It is not easy, but it is definitely fun. Having my friends there was prefect, while I saw loads of work teams, hen parties and the likes. I hope it comes back to Drumlanrig Castle next year, and if it does, I’ll be there!
Dr Andrew Murray is a long distance runner. He’s previously run 4,300 miles from John O’Groats to the Sahara Desert and is a brand ambassador for Merrell UK.
Image courtesy Terni Jhooti