On Saturday at 07:30 I had made my way down to Stoke City in Midrand to take part in the first ever Warrior Race in South Africa. The fact that I was in the earliest bunch meant that I was one of the first people to race in Warrior in South Africa. For those of you that don’t know what The Warrior Race is, its pretty simple. The Warrior Race is a long distance obstacle course designed to test your mental and physical fitness as well as forcing you to challenge yourself in a different way from the standard road runs or walks.
There are three categories of events in the Warrior Race, namely:
Brats – 1km 8 obstacles
Rookie – 6-7km 15 obstacles
Black Ops – 18-20km 30 obstacles
So to race day I go. After a half an hour delay in the race, we were underway and I of course was fueled by my Red Socks. I had traveled with my mates Brett and Scott (Who were competing in a team together), but their extreme fitness meant that travelling was all we would do together. The race started with a trail run of about 500 metres and at our first obstacle was the tyres, quickly followed by the balancing poles. At this point my mind was truly beating the course as I thought if this is the challenge then I would dominate it. My bad.
From this point on the Challenge started living up to its name as from this point the obstacles included crawling under barbed wire in mud, running through and around ditches, through water and the first mud pit. This was a mean one where I was fortunate to get a quick foothold on the left hand side and lift myself up. My running ability, or lack thereof, was letting me down, but I was making up a lot of time on the obstacles.
That was until the Mud Monster. This was by far the hardest obstacle on the course where you had to lift yourself up and over 5 or 6 mud heaps over 80 metres. This was also where it was highlighted to me that, entering as an individual was not brave, but rather stupid. As teams flew past me on the mud monster giving each other support, my inability to get a foothold, my overweight proportions and a lack of belief that was developing in me saw me struggle. It was of course the obstacle that could be viewed by a bunch of supporters including my younger sister (who had come to support her brother and her Boyfriend (Brett)). And right at the point where I really felt like giving up, calling it quits and opening a Castle Lager, the group of 15 or so supporters started shouting in support of me. This little bit of help gave me the oomph to pull myself up two more heaps and give myself an opportunity to finish the Warrior Race.
It was from here that a team named Titanium decided to rope me in and include me as part of their team. The camaraderie that I experienced on the Warrior was unreal it was so awesome and along with my new team mates I managed to complete the Slipknot, the jump of faith, the grueling 3.5 km trail run at the back of a very hot course as well as the finishing obstacles, the slide, the mud and the hillside climb. Crossing the line with my friends for the day saw a happy ending to a tough day.
I may have lost a toe nail and have cuts and bruises in places I never knew were on the race. I may have been tired and muddy and even have swallowed a bit of mud. I may have been exhausted and had considered giving up. But I was a warrior and all the better for it.
As I type the official results are not available yet, but I believe I clocked in at somewhere around the 1:40 mark. And although admittedly this is not a quick time, one of my favourite quotes comes to mind.
The next Warrior event happens on the 16 or 17 March at the Central Park Trails in Moderfontein. Entries open tomorrow so get yourself with a couple of mates and get in on the action.
Special thanks to Simone Barnard for the photos and for the support!