A fun challenge

I took part in the Tough Guy/Tough Gal challenge in Wellington on Saturday. Not because I am one, but because it looked like a fun challenge.

It’s a 6 km course at Camp Wainui. Early on in the course you have to crawl through some tunnels, and then over several climbing walls. Then up into the bush. For the first km or also you’re carefully avoiding the muddy puddles but then they get larger and larger and finally you get to the stage where you stop diverting around them and just plough on through up to your knees. The trail is pretty slippery and muddy.

At the end of the first bush section you have to crawl through some culverts with flowing water, and then into the stream. The bottom drops away suddenly from being ankle high to waist high, and I also lost my footing so actually ended up soaked up to my neck.

Next you have some more crawling underneath wires and a further bush track. Then a series of pipes to crawl through and more climbing walls. At this stage I notice that both my knees are bleeding from crawling through the pipes and tunnels.

Then we have the hill the organiser called Everest. I didn’t think it looked that big, but what I didn’t realise is the route up is a straight line on a steep slope. It’s almost impossible to do without the climbing ropes, and by the time you’re onto the fourth 20 metre rope section you’re cursing and swearing, as everyone else is.

Finally you get to the top pretty exhausted. The track down is equally steep and after trying to walk it, I follow the trend, and just slide down on my behind. This is actually quite fun except for the odd time you pass over a small rock. Braking is difficult and several times you get rear ended, or plough into someone else. Luckily everyone is laughing.

At the bottom you think you’re near the end as it is close to the finish line, but actually you are probably only two thirds of the way through. Don’t believe the race marshalls who seem to all be trained up to never tell you how far you are from the end when asked, and all say “You’re almost there”. You’re not!

Then come a series of water barriers or ponds where you get soaked up to your waist again. Its pretty tiring wading through but at least you get to wash the mud off your hands.

The last couple of kms are mainly bush tracks which are so muddy by now you have to work hard not to fall over. I was around 90% successful! It twists and turns a lot but finally it starts heading towards the finish area. You go through a small wire challenge where you go over not under, and then repeat the initial tunnel and climbing walls. Finally the only things between you and the finish line is a pond/lake. It’s only 10 metres through or so, but it is deep and very cold.

But it does wash off most of the mud before you cross the finish line.

It was tough, but really fun. Only race I’ve done where I wasn’t even once focused on my time, just on getting to the end. Great camaraderie from other participants, and very welcome communal showers so your car doesn’t end up as dirty as you.

While I wasn’t focused on my time during the race, I was pleased to find out I finished in the top third, which I thought was okay for a 56 year old!