In short: Can't wait for next year - I'd pay extra for a warm shower afterwards though! In full: Well we did it! Our trainers have been through the washing machine and are drying out on the radiator, and the rest of our running kit is now on a hot wash, but I bet even that won't get all the mud out - there was a lot of it!!!!!
We arrived quite early to set up the tent and pick up our race packs - the race t-shirts are actually very posh and I can wear mine as something other than a nightie! We were there to watch the end of the daylight 5k race - there were only about 60 runners taking part in that one but they were very muddy and had two 7 foot vertical walls to scale before the finish. Apparently last year they were smeared with baby oil but they'd been kinder this year! Some people didn't even bother and just ran past the walls (cop outs!)
Later on as it started to get dark it was our turn - starting with a scramble over hay bales then an uphill track into the forest. We reached the first obstacle pretty soon - a crawl under a tarpaulin through some dirt.
Much of the run was on single file narrow trails through the forest - so we could only really go as fast as the people in front as there was no margin for overtaking - I would have liked to go faster, and took every chance I could to get past the slower people. I lost Mr Cheetah just after half way!
A lot of the obstacles were the forest itself - the trail was marked out up and down very steep hills through the trees. It was pitch black in places so I'm glad my headtorch lasted. It was getting to the point where I must have been at least two thirds done, and I wasn't very muddy at all like the 5k runners had been... then I got to it..... a SEA of thick mud that I can only describe as chocolate fudge pudding, waist-height, with logs to go under less than a foot above the mud!
I took the only way possible - just dived in and came out squelching at the other end, trying and failing to shake off as much mud as possible as I ran! The next obstacle was a cargo net to scramble under - followed by a shoulder-height log to scramble OVER - I couldn't quite get up but someone gave me a leg-up and I jumped over and instead of landing gracefully on the other side as planned, I sort of kept on going round and landed on my bum instead!
Then it was through the "spooky wood" - pretty much squeezing through spiky trees with no identifiable path - I was just following the person in front, who also had no idea where she was going!
Soon I could hear the finish line (couldn't see a bloody thing though!) - and after squeezing through some cobwebby-type ropes across the trees and not getting tOO tangled, I spotted those 7 foot walls in front of me. Not wanting to take the easy way out I asked a nice marshall for a leg-up and pulled myself over both of them, landing a bit more gracefully than when I went over the log earlier! I crossed the finish line in 01:50:00 - ish, it turns out Mr Cheetah only finished a minute before me! We want to do it again next year but start nearer the front so we don't get stuck behind people on the narrow bits - and there were huge bottlenecks and queues approaching the obstacles so we want to try to avoid those too.
Later on, after removing as much mud as possible with baby wipes and changing into dry clothes, we headed to the party tent. The band were terrible but fun, the beer was overpriced but very welcome - and it took nearly as long to queue for food as it did to complete the race - but the steak and onion baguettes were more than worth it!
It is absolutely chucking it down now, so we just shoved the tent into bin bags - it can dry out in the garden when it's not raining! I just need a warm shower now to get the mud dreadlocks out of my hair.
In short: The most fun I've had wearing a head torch. In full: Really good race, well organised and excellent atmosphere. The obstacles were on the whole easy to negotiate but fun although the slippery slope was a problem to most. The woods especially the scary wood were interesting. Date of review: April 5, 2011
In short: Loved the sillyness of it all, first 10K (ish) race great atmosphere In full: Who knew running through the forest in the dark could be so much fun. Even the muddy bits made me smile. Great atmosphere amongst all runners kept me going when I started to flag. Those in fancy dress were a personal highlight.
Pretty sure I went round in circles a few times in the spooky wood but made it to the end with a big grin on my face. Date of review: April 4, 2011
In short: Another amusing adventure run from the ratrace stable... In full: entered this at the last minute finding i had a free saturday night, all in all glad i did. not nearly as tough as the mighty deer stalker, but then thats not surprising given that there arent any really big hills in sherwood forest! the route itself was inventive enough, in and out of the woods and down a few of the mountain bike routes, although i'd be surprised if no one suffered eye injuries from the route through the dense undergrowth! the 'follow the reflective tape' through the dark was fun, although i appear to miss a section of the course out, no idea how that happened. i would also have liked a few more challenging obstacles and mud, although thats probably just me. the slippery wall of doom right at the end was most amusing and added a bit of a different twist on the usual straight sprint to the line! Date of review: April 4, 2011