Back To The Trenches March 2015
Back To The Trenches March 2015
A weekend treat for the girlfriend. What might it be? A trip to Paris? An evening at one of the restaurants in The Shard? The West End to see a show? Or an hour or so stumbling around the Surrey countryside, in the cold and wet? These were the options floating around in my head. I didn’t ask her what she might like as, rather foolishly, she allows me to make my own decisions. In all honesty and with a well developed sense of hindsight I’m thinking Paris might have been a better idea. Never the less, Back To The Trenches 5k won the day (lucky girl) and we set off early Sunday morning down to Nutfield. The venue should only be about 20 minutes away but because I have a sense of direction akin to that of a broken shopping trolley, I immediately turned the wrong way out of my road and added another 15 minutes to the journey.
Still, we arrived in good time and the parking was almost on top of the BTTT village so no long walk there and back. Because of this there was no need for a bag drop area which kept the faffing around afterwards to a minimum. We had both neglected to breakfast (a schoolboy error, but the bed was just SO comfy that morning) so was hoping for a few food stalls to fuel us up. As it happened, quite surprisingly, there was only the one. So, one Mega Trenchburger and Styrofoam cup of sweet tea later, we were ready to go.
Our 11 o’clock wave was called and we all milled around waiting for the warm up. No enthusiastic Personal Trainer at this event, just a very capable looking Army gentleman with an impressive ‘tache shouting out the orders. A few lunges, burpees and adrenaline inducing roars later and we were ushered to the starting line.
As I do quite a few of these events and this was my partners first real OCR my tactic was to forge ahead on the running parts and then double back in an attempt to keep myself moving and warm. We quickly allied ourselves to a couple of running teams, Muddy Mums and The Glittery Princesses. After a very un-princessy clamber over the first obstacles, a load of hay-bale hurdles, we hit a running section. At least I think we did. I must confess, I can’t really remember much of the order of the obstacles. What I do remember is that the obstacles, though many in number, were quite short. No long drawn out grind of negotiating 12 foot walls, or seemingly endless effort of going over and under logs. True, Back To The Trenches has all the same sort of barriers that many other events have but they seem to be smaller and shorter. Now this may seem like a negative criticism and in some way imply that this is an easier event. Not so. Yes, everything was on a smaller scale, the cargo nets weren’t as high, the water slide not so long, the water not so deep, the hilly zig-zags not as long or zig-zaggy, the watery log obstacles shorter. I like this. This means that obstacles can been negotiated at speed and keep those fast twitch muscle fibres firing. The hills can be sprinted up and allow you a cardiovascular break as you let gravity assist you as you gallop down the other side. Being asthmatic and not having the most efficient aerobic system these intermittent maximal intensity obstacles, rather than the 60-70+ second effort obstacles on other courses, suit me down to the ground. On the Welsh Tough Mudder there were long ascents (and other obstacles) that took me many, many minutes to complete where I lost a lot of ground and time getting passed them.
We came to the 5k 10k split. My previously mentioned sense of direction came into play here. 5k one way, 10k the other. I dithered, then started off in one direction, was put right by the marshal, set off down a different path, was put right again by the same marshal who pointed at a pile of tyres. I picked one up and decided to wait for my carer to come along and show me the way. On cue, she rounded the corner and without missing a beat, grabbed a tyre and headed off where we were supposed to.
A crawl under the wet, muddy barbed wire logs was quite uncomfortable on the knees and elbows. I was expecting some cuts and scrapes but seemed to get away with it scott free. The only mark on me was a 3 inch graze down my shin which wasn’t from the course, but from an over enthusiastic left-back, with no sense of timing, from football the day before.
We came to the final ‘sprint’ including the fire jumps which were welcomingly warm, and under the electric fence. I waited here as I wanted to cross the line with my good lady. As I had spent most of the course pausing at the end of obstacles, one of the Glittery Princesses was beginning to recognise me and accused me of stalking her as I always seemed to be hovering around. Good naturedly of course. (I hope) We completed the last obstacle together (me and my girlfriend, not me and the Glittery Princess) and posed for our finish line photograph, collected our medal and made our way back to the car.
By now the cold was really beginning to get to me and I was shivering uncontrollably. I got changed into dry clothes which was a bit of a drama as I had forgotten a towel. But by now I was beyond caring and just got changed as quickly as I could and giving a couple of finishers a bit of a surprise as they walked passed.
This was a well organised event from start to finish. From the online booking to crossing the finish line. This is, I think, a perfect event for beginners as well as for seasoned OCR’ers. I shall be back for the 18k Big Push next year and seriously looking forward to it.