Two weeks ago I did a Tough Mudder Half and felt pretty good after it, even boasting that it was way too easy when compared to a normal Tough Mudder. A friend at the gym mentioned that he was doing the Iron Run at Cranford with a few of his friends and that got me thinking that it would be good fun to join them.
I thought with the Iron Run being 4km more than the Tough Mudder Half at 12km that it would be an ideal progression with my training. I honestly thought it would be fairly easy going, though it did state there would be 40 obstacles which the Tough Mudder Half only had 14. In hindsight I have to admit I was so very wrong. The Iron Run was even tougher than a regular Tough Mudder let alone a Half. It might be a good 3-5 miles less in distance but the terrain was the real killer.
The course started off quite casually. There was plenty of running which was aided by the weather being dry and quite mild for the start of October. The hardest obstacle I faced on the first half of the course was climbing a rope to ring a bell. They were much more natural, smaller scaled obstacles than you find at a Tough Mudder. Lots of clambering over things, wading through muddy bogs and there was a really good obstacle which stung the eyes when we had to jump over 3 small and smoky fire pits.
Come half way we had demolished 6k in about an hour and we were then confronted with a massive 150ft waterslide. Boy was this awesome! Like a bullet you traversed the slide and shot off it into ridiculously cold water. It was like plunging in the Tough Mudder Arctic Enema skip full of ice but thankfully not as bad, as you could wade out of the pit pretty quickly. At this point in the course the weather decided to take a change for the worse and typically the heavens opened. I was already wet so wasn’t too bothered and literally the next obstacle was to swim across a small lake so there was no time to dry off anyway. Just like the water at the bottom of the waterslide the lake was freezing cold. Controlled breathing all the way helped and I was grateful to get out the other side and start running again. The only problem was, was that for the next 3km it was obstacle after obstacle, huge slippery hill after huge slippery hill, mud swamp after mud swamp and with the constant rain you didn’t stand a chance of warming back up. After crawling through a pitch black tunnel/trench type of thing and clambering up out of it my left calf got cramp!
Thankfully after some stretching it eased and luckily the final stretch of the course had more running and I finally warmed up again. The wet conditions meant one of the obstacles, some balance beam planks, were way too slippery to do and the monkey bars were a complete failure too with me only getting to the second rung. The wet conditions also hindered the final obstacle where the middle, taller section of a half pipe, was barricaded off due to an unfortunate accident with someone slipping and knocking themselves out! Ouch!
The team made it through thankfully unscathed and did it in pretty good time too (just over 2 and a half hours). We all thoroughly enjoyed it but agreed that the course would have been better if the obstacles weren’t so congested in the middle of the course and were more spread out. I guess having it the way they did was their plan to make it tougher which definitely worked. Would I do another Iron Run? I’m not sure. I really enjoyed the challenge but I can’t see the course changing much so I think I would rather try another obstacle course race. I’ve another Tough Mudder lined up for May next year but the plan might be to do a Wolf Run in June too. I know for sure that I won’t be doing another obstacle course before the marathon and will now be fully concentrating on road/park running to up the mileage. That’s the plan anyway and I’ve purchased an annual car parking pass at Brixworth Country Park so I’ve no excuse in getting over there as often as I can to run the reservoir circuit.
I also now need to concentrate on my fundraising. I’ve had contact yesterday from ASDA in Kettering so it’s looking very likely that I will be bag packing in store within the next couple of months and on the 19th of this month I’m running a cake sale at work. A couple of work colleagues also had a good idea for a Madonna marathon party to help raise funds so hopefully that will come into fruition too. Don’t forget if you wish to support me with my fundraising efforts you can make a donation here. Thank you 🙂