My Sundays are typically begun with a nice lie in swiftly followed by a round of tea and toast in bed with a good book. True bliss I hear you say! Well, this Sunday still began with tea and toast, but it certainly wasn’t preceded by a good lie in and I pretty soon found myself venturing outside beneath leaden skies to jog to Earlham Park. Why? Well, because my friend and I had decided months ago that we would have a bash at Race for Life’s Pretty Muddy, and of course, it fell on a weekend of dodgy weather.
The Pretty Muddy event is a little different to the other races hosted by Cancer Research and their Pink Army: rather than just a nice simple run, this event involves several inflatable obstacles and – as the name suggests – rather a lot of mud.
Strangely enough, this event is massively popular – I don’t think I have seen so many people gathered together to slide around in mud in the rain before – so a great, almost festival, atmosphere is created. It was easy to separate those who had already tackled the brown sea – many were almost unrecognisable as humans.
Having arrived early, we had plenty of time to get excited and eye up the final obstacle on the course, which was a giant muddy slide. I was suddenly very glad that I had kept a very old pair of trainers to wear.
Eventually it was our turn! We did a crazy five minute warm up with our group of pink soldiers, which involved a great deal of ‘whooping’ and arm waving, and then we finally got going. Earlham Park, and indeed all of the green areas surrounding UEA, are well-known for their rabbit population, so everyone was warned to watch out for the many rabbit holes around the course. Other than that, the ground wasn’t too sodden or bumpy, so the going was pretty easy in between the obstacles.
Of course, the second the gun had gone off, the rain started. At least it would keep the worst of the mud off, I thought grimly. The first obstacle was very straightforward: a row of giant inflatable logs that you had to straddle/leap like a beautiful gazelle over. I did the former – very elegant! The other obstacles were similarly very easy and not over-facing – we had to crawl on our hands and knees underneath a net (with lots of mud), run over a series of pink tyres, escape a maze of elasticated ropes, jump into a muddy pool of water (hello soggy feet), crawl through a tunnel, obey a crazy man who demanded push-ups and climb up a wall of rope. Finally we reached the piece de resistance – the mud slide. First, however, we had to do some more crawling through mud. Unfortunately, I decided now was a great time to get the giggles, so a lovely man kindly dumped an entire shovel of cold, oozing mud onto my head.
Now looking completely unrecognisable as a rather dishevelled brunette, I finally scrambled up the ropes to the slide and slithered down into yet another wet pool of mud. Mission accomplished! As we dragged our muddy, wet bodies over the finishing line, we were greeted with the best sight ever – my friend’s boyfriend clutching two cups of steaming tea. HOORAY!
The fun wasn’t over though – after many attempts to get the worst of the brown sticky stuff off, I ran home decorated in mud through the rain. However, I couldn’t actually get inside my own house, which is furnished with WHITE carpets. You can image the possible destruction. So, I ended my rather interesting day with my head underneath the outside tap with freezing water running over my face. So, why on earth do I want to do it all again?