After a two month break from racing I was excited to get back into it with the Tough Guy and Gal Challenge in New Zealand. My friend Josh had told me that Tough Guy was a mud run and not to expect any huge obstacles, but I was still excited.
I was staying in Napier and the race was a 20-minute drive away. I didn’t have time to organise a rental car and I figured that a taxi wouldn’t cost too much for such a short trip. How wrong I was. As I sat in the taxi I watched the meter tick over dollar by dollar and I couldn’t help but feel annoyed at myself for not organising a rental car. The final fare was $60 which made it the most expensive taxi ride I’ve ever taken.
I’d registered to run the 12km event but when I arrived I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go ahead with it. I was still getting over the chest infection and trying to race with tissues stuffed down your bra isn’t exactly easy. I had just over an hour to finish the first lap if I was going to make it to the second lap so I decided to just see how I went and started with the 12km group.
It started to sprinkle as we waited in the start chute and continued as we made our way along the first few hundred metres of the course. The first few natural obstacles included a few creeks and rocky areas before going through a mud field and up a huge hill.
At around the 3km mark the rain disappeared and the sun started shining brightly in the sky. I was still waiting for one of the man-made obstacles to appear but all they had in store for us was more running up and down hills. The course took us through a wool shed before heading down another hill and through a mud pit. I kept stopping to admire the stunning view as it was too rocky to look anywhere other than at your feet if you were running.
My lungs were burning and my nose was dripping as I ran down the side of a huge hill towards the festival area. By the time I reached the bottom I was feeling so puffed out that I stopped running and continued to just walk.
After wandering through the woods and the sheep paddocks I finally reached the man-made obstacles! First was a barbed wire crawl followed by crawling through mud tubes and ending in a sludgy mud pit. I then followed the course along the rocky beach and through a creek before getting to a ladder wall. The second barbed wire obstacle was as low as the one’s I’m used to, but instead of crawling under we were told to walk over it. Very strange in my opinion but who am I to say what they do. The last obstacle was a crawl through electric wires (like Tough Mudder) and I decided to skip it as I wasn’t in the mood to be electrocuted.
I finished 5 minutes after the cut off to go out for a second lap and was too tired to have done it even if I had made it. I crossed the finish line and downed an electrolyte drink and was happy to be finished. Trying to run after being sick sure took a toll on my body and my performance.
Overall I did enjoy myself, but I couldn’t help feel disappointed and underwhelmed. The event was called Tough Guy and Gal Challenge yet it was possibly the easiest mud run I have ever done. It made events like Miss Muddy look difficult. I was disappointed that I paid $80 to register for an event that was basically a trail run with a few small obstacles.
Event: Tough Guy and Gal Challenge
Type: Obstacle Race
Location: Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Date: 31 July 2016