Mud, glory and a couple of lines of war poetry @themajorseries
I had a great time yesterday at a daft mud run event – The Major Series: Scotland. It was all terrain cross country with obstacles and challenges.
It was a notional 10k that involved running, wading through a river, running up and down hills, climbing over enormous logs, scaling a wall, trench walking, balancing, dodging the enemy, crawling under a cargo net, through an electric shock web, under barbed wire, over a vanishing bridge and lots of staggering about over every terrain imaginable, except sand. And a big slide.
Sand was in my mind because of the commemorations of the D Day landings – but other wars were also in my mind as I ran, such was the variety of landscape set out for us.
In the mud logged trenches, it is impossible not to think of the trenches of WW1. As I sludged my way along I was thinking of these lines from Wilfred Owen:
“Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
but limped on, blood shod.”
Owen’s poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” conveys the horror of war and the horror of death in war. 100 years later, my stagger up some trenches was the opposite experience – I had the privilege of it being for fun. But still, these lines rang in my mind.
When you don’t know what is going to happen under your feet when you take the next step, it is tiring. Every second step takes your breath away as you stoat into the side of the trench or you go plunging down and your calf goes into cramp, and as you move along, unable to get any consistency of traction – it is fatiguing. And no wonder “many had lost their boots”, as the mud tries to suck your shoes off at every step.
I thought the course was absolutely great – the estate where the course was set out had so many features the organisers could exploit to build in the challenges. . For part of the race it was pretty densely wooded and I found myself feeling almost alone as there were so many twists and turns in and out of the burn and in and out of the trees. And it was utterly glorious weather – forecast for 80% rain – but we saw none of it – just sunshine.
This photo was taken of me after one of the last challenges which was to run up a soapy tarpaulin and not get washed back down. I wasn’t aware of the photo being taken but I can tell you that this is me happy; Stirlingshire is looking great in the background and I am covered in mud, almost at the end of a really fun two-hour challenge getting to grips with creation.
I am thankful to be fit enough to enjoy this kind of thing. It was great.