Considering the venue had a last-minute attack of the English disease that is NIMBY’ism (not in my backyard). The local council decided to pull the plug on the traffic management arrangements, 48hrs before the event was due to start. Add all this to the fact England was playing in the World Cup quarter-final, it is fair to say Tough Mudder HQ really had the odds stacked against them.
Believe me, the knives were already being sharpened by a few, as we rocked up and faced a 15-minute walk to the Tough Mudder village in temperatures already 77 at 7 am.
Once arriving at the village, the atmosphere was surprisingly light, there was a buzz of anticipation that only a new venue can create. Rumours had already been circulating that the venue had laid down the law. No holes to be dug, no mud brought in and no fun to be had at all (that last one is me being petulant but accurate nonetheless).
This led to a bunch of unheard obstacles listed on the course map, Hydrophobia, Kinky Tunnels, Next Level and hanging out. Oh and the return of the dreaded Electric eel. Not forgetting the return of electroshock therapy at the finish. Tongues were most definitely wagging all the way to check in.
So, checked in by the usual awesome Volunteer crew and of to the warm-up and start line. Where we were warned against the heat and told to hydrate at the water stations regardless of thirst. Truly good advice, in fact, I was wearing my marathon vest with 2x 500 ml bottles and iso gels just in case.
We were off and on our way to my 16th and Julie’s 3rd TM full. The first half Kilometer sprint was a nice warm up to kiss of mud followed a similar distance to skid marked. The usual suspects followed bail bonds, water station, hero carry, Water station and Everest.
TMHQ really had not left anything to chance with the water stations.
Water station Number one was sensibly giving out 500 ml bottles, not a cup full. I was beginning to realise I was dragging my vest and water round for no actual reason. Still, none else had one so I must be the cool one, right? Right?
Before we knew it mile 2 and Boa constrictor. Which if you’re knocking on the door or in my case over 6 feet and built like a Greek god (so I’m told by my ego anyway), is a real struggle to get up the other end of the two angled pipes. Added to the deeper than normal water this was a real test and was welcomed.
A real treat was to follow though,
I honestly think I skipped like a kid would with excitement the last few feet (Greek god for real). Face to face with the new hydrophobia, which is a 40-50 feet pool 15 feet across. With three half submerged plastic sewer pipes which you had to duck down and swim under. Now I’m a real water baby (Poseidon clearly), so this was a breeze, in fact, a lot of fun. I was surprised however how many had a real fear of going under the pipes. I found myself stopping at each pipe reaching under and joining hands, with more than a few nervous mudders and pulling them through.
Cooled and buzzing from hydrophobia, we plodded on through miles 3 and 4 passing 5-6 other usual obstacles and at least 3 more water stations. On to Next Level which is Giant A hole parachuted in from the 5k events. Love this obstacle. Who doesn’t love a 25 feet high cargo net with a 15 feet cargo net roof to traverse I know I do and again the fear factor was introduced to a lot of my fellow mudders.
Blue lap done we were into the Orange loop and fired over Cage craw and Arctic enema we hit the dreaded electric eel.
Which I am sad to say courtesy of the metal holding me together, following a motorcycle accident I am medically exempt from.
Stood watching mudders being stung from the audible cracks, each time a wire bit them.
Sounded like a really pissed off wasp, followed by at best a yelp. Or at worst, language your grandmother still doesn’t know you use. I can promise you just watching was making the fillings in my teeth on edge. Aside from hanging out, which is a longer lower version of Kong the last 4 miles flew by with Funky monkey, Kong infinity amongst the highlights.
So, what am I reporting back to you?
First and foremost. I was magnificent obviously! even completing the head shoulders, knees, and toes challenge, before touching down on Funky Monkey and Kong infinity. The course you say? Apologies, well it was it must be said it was short, 8.5 miles. The ground was rutted and a real ankle twister Plus the weather was punishing. All of that is an aside if I’m being brutally honest.
TMHQ really knocked this out of the park. Great new improvised obstacles, the return of a dreaded classic. All nicely buried deep into 24 great obstacles.
All shoehorned into some stunning English countryside. The course truly felt like OCR not a run with a few obstacles thrown in. Sadly we probably won’t be back if the issues the venue true up are to be believed.
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- Tough Mudder London North: New Venue, New Obstacles - July 16, 2018