Race Report by Helen Rowe
On Saturday 7th April 2018 12 mainly Massey Runners met up and made our way to Welsh Road, Leamington, for the Spring Wolf Run. There was a mix of excitement and nervousness amongst the participants. Some had hardly slept all night, and others had had nightmares about being left in the mud.
We registered, and re-congregated by the Hot Pork Batch tent. Once everyone had divested themselves of mobile phones, extra layers, etc. my brother took our photo “before” at the Wolf Run Tent.
We then had to wait to be called up for our wave. There were a few nervous trips to the loo while we waited. I approached someone with a mic, who was doing “shout outs”, and I asked her if she would give us a shout out when our turn came. I introduced her to Sally, and she was amazed that someone of Sally’s age was doing it. When the shout out came, they made a big fuss about Sally (and Sally loved it).
Then they called us through to the warm up area. We did a few warm up exercises, then at 1310 we were off. Because we were a mixed ability group, we split into three groups, so no-one got too cold, or was left behind. I was in the last group, with Sally, Cal, Sylvia and my sister-in-law Nikki. We all had to wade through water fairly early on in the course, and we helped Sally, as she was nervous about going into water. Then once over, we were on our way.
There were 31 obstacles in all, but I can’t remember what order they came in. Some were more challenging than others. There were tunnels to crawl through, pits to slide into, and climb out of, walls and cargo nets to climb and scale, tyres to run through, and over, a lake to swim (it was freezing – I know – I went in), other lakes to wade through, the depth of which varied. Sally and Nikki walked around a number of the ‘water features’ as neither felt very confident in the water, but Cal, Sylvia and I tackled them.
The marshals at the various obstacles were really helpful and friendly, and they helped Sally get up and over the cargo net, and also one of the wooden walls, that only had very narrow slats as foot holds. I couldn’t do the wooden wall – so Sally got one up on me there! At another wooden wall, with no foot holds, you had to scramble up it and over – but the marshals would give you a leg up if you needed it (like us vertically challenged people). I decided to give it a go, and put one leg on her thigh, then went to put the other leg on her shoulder (as per the instructions), and I toppled backwards and sidewards at the same time, and fell into the chap next to me! He then joined forces with the marshal and I managed to get up and over with their help. It was a hoot!
At about half way round, we encountered the long water slide. Sylvia had done it before, so she knew what to expect, but the rest of us were a little nervous – especially at the prospect of going head first. It was great – I could have gone round and done that one again – what fun. Sally however, held onto the sides all the way down, because she was frightened about going into the pool at the end, and she ended up stopping about ¾ of the way down, and we had to go and rescue her!
At all of the obstacles the marshals made a really big fuss of Sally, and if she wanted to try an obstacle they made sure she did it! They were superb. You couldn’t fault them at all. As we walked/ran around, Sally kept saying “You and your bright ideas. Don’t suggest anything like this again”. But we were laughing all the way. People were passing us, and saying well done – especially to Sally, who by now was a legend!
In the woods, it was really slippery and muddy, and we were sliding all over the place. I lost count of how many times I fell over – on my side, on my backside, on my front. Thankfully I have plenty of padding! We did lots of tree hugging too.
There were a series of pits that Cal, Sylvia and I did. They started small and shallow, and gradually got bigger and deeper. You had to slide down into really muddy water, and then wade through and then climb out. In one of them, a very nice young man gave me a push from behind to help me get up. Sometimes there were footholds to use to get out, but other times there were ropes to pull yourself out. In one of the pits, where there was a rope to pull yourself up, I was really struggling, and I just didn’t have the energy or strength to get myself up. The marshals were giving instructions, but not offering any help (it was the only obstacle where there marshals didn’t help) – so Cal jumped back in to give me a push from the back – she saved my life!!!
None of us tried the log wall, which did not have hand holds low enough for vertically challenged people. Last but two was the climbing wall, and Cal said “are there any harnesses” to which the marshal replied ‘no’. By then I was too tired, and my shoes were too slippery to negotiate. None of us tried that one. Next time though …..
The last but one obstacle was the grinder. You had to climb up a slippery slope, using a rope, and then negotiate a cargo net up and over, then climb over some logs the other side. Nikki ran up the slope, but then decided not to do the cargo net or logs. Sally decided to skip it altogether. Cal and Sylvia ran up the slope, and climbed up the cargo net, and over. I tried to run up the slope – got to the top, and then slid back down on my stomach. I then gave it another go, and repeated the slide down at such speed I slid off the apparatus and onto the grass! I decided to call it at day with that one!
Sally, Nikki and I waited for Cal and Sylvia to complete the grinder, and then there was one last obstacle – a mud pit, followed by “The Wall of Happiness”, followed by another water pit. The commentator was making a big fuss of Sally, and there was a big crowd gathered round, watching us, including all the Massey people who had already finished, and got cleaned up. Sally was nervous about going into the water, and so the marshal agreed to go in to catch her when she slid down. Cal went in first, followed by me – and I went in with such speed I was submerged and I bobbed up, looking something like a mud monster. It was much deeper than I had realised, and I had to ‘swim’ to get to the finish. The marshal carried Sally all the way, until she could stand up and climb out. Poor Nikki had a panic attack because the water was too deep for her, and they had to get her out. We all posed for at photo at the end.
After collecting our Goody Bags, we were directed to the Hot Box, where Katy Jones was waiting to help the ladies get out of their wet clothes, and wrapped up in space blankets. I went back to the car to collect the dry clothes, and when I got back, someone had taken my Goody Bag, either by mistake or deliberately. One of the lovely young ladies went off to see if she could get me a replacement. She managed to get me a t-shirt, but not a Goody Bag.
There were so many comments on Facebook addressed to Sally after that. She is now famous – and she is revelling in it!
Yesterday, Sally said “I can’t wait for next year” – I reminded her that she was cursing me on Saturday – but she said “I have been to sleep and eaten a meal since then”.
Roll on the next one!