Monday, 10 September 2012

The Banzai Charge

Aka - The Hardest Thing I Might Ever Have Had To Do.

Well, D-Day was yesterday - or rather Race Day. There was no escaping it at 6.15 am yesterday morning - it had arrived. My alarm went off and I had to haul my lazy carcass out of bed.

About the only preparation I had done for this race was laying my kit out the night before and packing a bag with clean clothes and wet wipes for afterwards. In all other respects, I was so unprepared.

But you know what we thought - the race is two 4 mile laps. 4 miles is really not that far. Chuck in a bit of mud and some hills, and really how bad can it be? I mean really?

We were totally delusional.

It. Was. Tough.

We thought we could run the flats and the downs, scramble through the obstacles and run and walk the ups. We could walk 8 miles in 2.5 hours if needed, we reasoned (2.5 hours being the slowest finish time recorded on the course the previous year).


For a start, there were no flats. Not really. The only flattish sections were either up, down or violently across a steep transverse gradient so you were trying desperately not to roll your ankles in the grass and go flying. There were no trails - it was all on grass. Or ploughed field. Or bracken cover. Or of course, the endless mud.

And the hills? Not "hills" like the Malvern Hills I'm used to running round - all rolling ups and downs. These were short, sharp, vicious little sods. If you weren't going down them on your arse, you were picking your way down at snail pace trying not to trip or fall. Or not get your feet caught in the bracken. Or crawling up them on all fours, or with hands on knee's trying to breathe.

And then there were the obstacles. One 30ish m section of bog took us 20 mins to get across. Or through. Because we were literally thigh-high in thick, viscous, sucking mud.

I think I sprained my shoulder on the 20m slip slide when I went down it so fast I bounced clean off it onto the mud and kept sliding, jarring my arm hard in the process.

It took 10 mins and 3 attempts to get up the bank out of the river crossing, because twice I managed to crawl high-enough on the slick bank to grab the rope, only to lose my footing and slide back. In the end, I crawled up through the nettles so I could at least keep my footing.

At the end of the 1st circuit we were broken. Exhausted and shaking and still with the spectre of the final run of obstacles to the finish, whether or not we did the second circuit. We decided one circuit was enough. After all, there was still a barb wire crawl, a scramble net to get under, 5 1/2 ft vertical wall to go over, a tunnel, and electrified web and a final 7ft A frame wall to conquer.

We did it. Just. One 4 mile lap took us an hour and a half.

We collected our medals and our time prints and collapsed on the ground.

This time the Banzai Charge partially defeated us. We weren't prepared. We hadn't counted on the Royal Marines designed course being more than twice as hard as a normal run of the same distance. We managed one lap, but not full 8 mile course.

But it was fricking awesome and well be back for round two!!!!

(p.s. I'm glad to say that although the marshall was there to keep an eye on us and help if needed at the final wall, I did it all on my own - a small victory!)

- Posted from my iPhone


  1. Well done!!

    I'm also underprepared for this Sundays Great North Run although I did do one 16km training run. Not enough though and it was a struggle.

    Well done on your effort!

    B x

  2. That looks insane in the best possible way. Wow! Well done! :)