I’m standing at the start line about to take on this epic challenge. I am running in the elite wave of The Suffering and on listening to the race brief we are told to expect no less than 10 miles of obstacle. No less than 10 miles meaning they don’t even know how far the race course exactly is.
Red smoke grenades were set of to signal to start an the 80 or so runners headed towards the first few three 6ft walls and cargo nets. We did not stay dry or clean for long and with in the first mile were caked in mud and soaked to the bone. The Reapers who were giving out ”Beastings” before and even after obstacles were there to make sure we were not enjoying ourselves to much and made for some burning quads after frog walking my way out of a skip filled with ice cold water.
I love running hills but once the first hills came into view it became quite clear that I wasn’t going to enjoy this to much after collecting a tyre and doing 3 hill repeats I gave my tyre up and carried on for at least another 3 repeats and then a lovely wet slide down the hill.
After the energy sapping hills I hit a few obstacles, tyre climbs, river crossing and crawling through mud under barbed wire to make sure we got extra muddy. After some more running and getting to stretch the legs out a bit came the obstacle of the race and one that absolutely broke everyone! Suffering is all I did round this, back, arms and leg busting obstacle. 10kilo sand bag steep hill repeats with inverted walls just to make things a bit more ‘fun’. I can easily say I was there for a good part of 35-40 mins doing what looked liked a 500 metre course of slugging it up and down with my best friend the sand bag.
Once I Dropped my sandbag off there was no looking back at what had been hell! It was a relief to be able to run and stretch my legs although my calf’s and quads had taken a battering. After a few more obstacles and starting to feel the effects more mentally than physical I Rounded a corner to find yet another sand bag obstacle. Carrying it around a short but hilly circuit surely no more of this I thought but as I got closer and closer to this obstacle and seeing the pain on the other racers faces it mentally drained me! I had never felt like this before in a race but then again what kind of race makes you suffer as bad as this one?
With my demons well and truly dragging me down (For those that do not know me I suffer with terrible combat PTSD) I picked up my sand bag and slowly made my round the hellish course. Half way round enough was enough and I literally just dropped into the mud, a mental heap; The Suffering had broken me and the white flag was being waved.
The Suffering does exactly what it says on the tin and in no way is it easy. I had made it around 9 miles and 3 hours of hell and found out later on that there were only another 3.5 miles left to go. In all fairness I had pulled out at the right time and can hold my head high. An absolutely outstanding course and a massive well done to the race organisers, reapers and the runners that completed the course you are all legends!
A special well done to my brother Daz who slugged it out and came 46th on the day and has qualified for the European Champs in July.
Pictures by Epic Action Imagery