I did think when thinking it was a good idea, that it is nearly two miles to walk to my daughters school and I do that once a week (there and back, weather permitting) so how hard could it be?!
On closer inspection, I read that it wasn’t just a 10k run, but an “inspiring fitness challenge” combining a 10k run with 10 obstacles along the way. The women only race is a team event and so paired up with my friend Tracy, we aptly named ourselves “Fit on the Inside”.
The race was on Saturday 26th May and the day was fabulous. The weather was incredible which made the drive to Henly On Thames much more pleasurable as we drove through picturesque villages. The event seemed very well laid out and organised and once we had registered, we received our list of challenges. We were in the third wave so had the benefit of seeing the first two sets of Ladies set off. My heart sank as I watched them start to run enthusiastically run up a steep hill in rough grass, then many stopping halfway up and walking the rest of the way.
Tracy was probably the perfect running partner for me. Her enthusiasm and competitiveness motivated me throughout and while we did have spells of walking, we didn’t stop once which I am really proud of. The running part was tougher than I had imagined as it was all on rough terrain, long grass, through woodland, over pine cones and tree roots and down hills so steep we were forbidden to run down them in case of injury. The challenges though were so much fun and not only broke up the running but injected some entertainment. The atmosphere was really brilliant and very much a general team spirit rather than a competitiveness to win a race. Here is a list of the challenges we faced, one at each KM;
“Slipping Away – What goes up must come down along the special Zest challenge slide. Tally Ho! “- This was a water slide down one of the hills we ran up!
“Blow – Up – An opportunity to find out the true cost of inflation with this balloon challenge.” – After running up one extremely steep hill, we were handed a balloon which we had to blow up big enough so that it could no longer fit through their hoop.
“In the sack – Jump in the sack and don’t look back!” – A sack race – one sack per couple!
“W-Hay to go – Another micro challenge. You’ll soon get over it.” Yes, we had to clamber over a ginormous bale of hay!
“Feeling Tyred – You can’t go round them – You’ve got to go over them!” – A real test of agility!
“Ski Saturday – March on your skis with no snow in sight.” – one pair of skis per couple was a real challenge on this race!
“Abs-Fab – Move the beach ball around a short loop – no hands allowed!” – The beach ball had to be balanced between us around the course!
“Walking the plank – Cross the wooden pontoons without touching the grass” Not an easy feat for shorties like me!
“Scrambled Legs – Fancy being close to the countryside? You will be under these nets!” – Not an easy feat if you have as much hair as I do!
“Horseplay – Throughout – Some equestrian fences are not just for horses you know.”
It was a real all over body workout! The offical Zest times still haven’t been released, however, we estimate that we completed the whole course in 1 hour and 40 minutes which I am incredibly proud of. Our families were there to cheer us on and having my girls run alongside me for the last leg encouraging me over the obstacles was an incredible feeling. On completion, we were given a fabulous Zest goodie bag and medal. I felt euphoric afterwards. It was amazing to do something for myself and to accomplish it in such a good time. However, my proudest moment was seeing how proud my girls were of me! They thought what I had done was incredible and my 6 year old took in my medal to school the following Monday for her show and tell, which made me feel really good.
So what have I learnt? Well two things actually. Firstly, I will never commit to anything again without preparing properly! Secondly, I absolutely loved the challenge, have enlisted two more friends to join us and can’t wait for next year! In the meantime, I have discovered a love for running which was previously my least favourite form of exercise and I intend to now start running regularly, as soon as my leg muscles will let me…..