Life is short. Try everything once. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again. That’s pretty much my opinion of a lot of things in life, which also pertains to mud runs, obstacles course races, Braveheart battles, extreme races or Hindernisseläufe, whatever you want to call them.
For the 2016 Limes Run in Bad Gögging, the Armin Wolf Running Team was given five free entries to the race. Let’s just say I didn’t jump at the opportunity to take part. I looked at the photos on the Internet from the previous years and saw crawling through the mud, swimming in ice cold water and, above all, lots of smiling faces. So, due to the last observation, I agreed on one condition, that we would run in a group. I didn’t want to have to go all out and battle the obstacles on my own; I just wanted to have fun, which is why most people take part in these things anyway.
|At the start|
There were three guys and two women in our group; Daniela (Dani) was the other woman and she’d done a few of these before, although the last time she did one she seriously injured her knee and couldn’t do any sports for almost a year, so getting through this race was mentally important for her. Christian, a physical trainer, and Dominik, a physical therapist, had done these before, and then there were Stephan and I who were virgin mud-runners.
|My cheering squad (a.k.a. my family) :)|
|The long swim in 8 degree C water|
We started in the fourth wave of runners, each wave separated by ten minutes to avoid back-ups at the obstacles. It was a relief to finally start, and the first kilometer was simply running through some fields to warm-up. Then came the lake. A 150-m swim in water temperature of 8°C (46°F). When I got in the water I could hardly breathe, my body was in shock. The rescue helpers were sitting in boats and yelling at us to take deep breaths. I just tried to get across as fast as I could but as I was about half way I had caught up to some swimmers in front of me. I couldn’t get around them and they were kicking water into my face. I tried to stay calm and somehow managed to get across and out of the water. I was so relieved to have the swim behind me but was shocked to see a second smaller lake with about a 40-m swim just in front of us followed by a mud pit! So, truth was, I wasn’t really having fun yet, but that was just about to change.
We then ran along tractor paths through the fields and let the sun warm us. There were some beautiful Shetland cattle and we decided to stop and take a group photo, as a friend was following us on his bike with camera. The five of us lined up arm-in-arm, still soaking wet, with the only thing separating us and these mighty animals being a wire fence. An electrified wire fence. As luck would have it Dominik’s rear-end touched the metal wire and a shock wave ran through all five of us. We jumped with surprise then fell into hysterics when we realized what had happened, another photo with laughs and we were back in motion.
|Electric shock anyone?|
Outfits varied wildly: some in shorts and short-sleeved shirts while others were in long tights and multiple layers. A group of guys were dressed as Superman, red cape and all, while many were outfitted as Viking-type warriors.
|Dani and I behind the warriors|
Crawling through the mud on all fours, diving under canoes in the river, climbing up knotted ropes dangling from a bridge and running through snow blowers, all of this was waiting for us, in addition to the total 24km of running and a whopping 14 times in the water.But it was fun and after just under 3 hours we crossed the finish line with smiles on our faces and above all relief at having finished without any injuries!
So, according to the ‘try everything once’ philosophy, I tried it, it was fun, the comradery made it special, but I’m pretty sure it will one of those one-timers, at least next time will not be any time soon!