A big field of 2,500 took part in Sunday's (17 May) Gelt Gladiator, the Cumbrian mud obstacle challenge. For many it was their first experience of obstacle racing and for one competitor Nicola Brooks it was a great success.
Nicola told runABC North: "Our 5k wave was at 1.30, and pre-race we calmly wrote our race numbers on each others’ faces and stood around in the event village, becoming increasingly nervous.
"After a quick but efficient warm up we were off and quickly flung unceremoniously into the first mud and water pit just metres away from the start line. A climb up the Motocross track followed, which started to sort the more serious runners from the rest of us.
"I managed to haul myself over the first obstacle, a high wooden wall (with one or two footholds for the less able - ie me) and realised quickly that dignity was not going to be a priority today. Another short run brought us to the highlight of the event for me - at the bottom of a valley where a river of mud awaited us.
"Dave grabbed my hand and we ran through the first 50 metres, seemingly walking on water - until we hit the mass of people struggling their way through the last, gloopiest stretch. We were all thigh deep in thick mud, loosing trainers, falling on our faces, on our backs, screaming and laughing - and at the end of this, a cargo net stretched over the mud river forced us into even closer contact with it.
"20 plus obstacles faced us in total. There were queues of shivering people at key points something to be addressed by the organisers for next year. I was overwhelmingly proud of myself for trying every single challenge - jumping over fire, dodging electric shock wires, plunging into icy pools and getting fully submerged in muddy water on three separate occasions. It definitely helps to have a supportive running partner/team - Dave pulled me through two or three that I did NOT want to be defeated by, and I felt lucky to have him with me. But still - I did it.
"I started today as an apprehensive first-timer on the mud run scene. I am ending today as a euphoric mud run addict."
Nicola's daughter Ella (11) also enjoyed the Gelt experience: "I completed the 1 mile family run at Gelt Gladiator. It was extremely tiring, and it was a good challenge for me, however it was quite enjoyable! With over five obstacles, including plunging into ice-cold water, many families got wet and muddy! One of the highlights of the run is a huge, watery slide which people can slide, or walk (and slip) down. It also leads to a very cold pool of water to get all that mud off."
More details of Gelt Gladiator at the event website.