I’m a big fan of obstacle course races (OCR), so when I was invited to once again take part in Tough Mudder North West 2019 I jumped at the chance. For every OCR I have taken part in, I’ve always brought a GoPro along, filmed some footage of the day, and then compiled a video at the end. I’ve tried different harnesses, attachments etc, but what I’ve found works best is a simple hand held grip and string tie around your wrist. This enables you to get some more cinematic footage than if it’s just strapped to your head, and viewers are only really interested in seeing the obstacles anyway rather than minutes of you running!

For this event, I was running with a team of people I hadn’t met before so I decided I would leave the GoPro at home and just enjoy the event. Hey, it might even be a novelty to just take part without having to worry about the kit, or even having 2 hands on the obstacles! But at the last minute, I decided I would really kick myself if I didn’t film at least some of it – so here is the video of the day below!

Tough Mudder North West 2019 video

Here’s the video – I think I’m getting better at capturing and editing these, so I hope you enjoy it!

My history with OCRs

I was first introduced to the idea of “extreme obstacle courses” in 2015, when I had a phone call from my sister asking me if I wanted to join her at an event called X-Runner Winter Warrior. It was 10km in the freezing cold month of January, climbing over obstacles, through lakes and slipping on mud. I agreed to do it, but I was seriously outside of my comfort zone. I hadn’t run more than a few kilometres since I had competed in kickboxing (circa 2006) and the event looked like torture. But I just saw this as a challenge and an adventure, and something I would look back on as a cool achievement, intending to do it just the once…

Although the event was absolutely freezing and hard work, I loved it, and the feeling of accomplishment was greater than I could have imagined. Since then I have now done anywhere between 2-4 OCRs a year, including one weekend in 2017 when I did 2 back to back (Born Survivor followed by X-Runner).

Tough Mudder really is tough

Out of all the different events I’ve taken part in, I have found Tough Mudder to be the most gruelling. It’s a combination of the distance (8-10 miles vs. 10km) and the level of the obstacles. With events like X-Runner, all of the obstacles are fun. Jump in some water, go down a mud slide, climb across some monkey bars. With Tough Mudder, the obstacles involve ice cold water i.e. Arctic Enema, electric shocks, claustrophobia and much more. I normally have a mental note of the location of 2-3 obstacles that I just want to get over and done with. On top of this, the course takes a long time to complete, which is really exhausting. At the most recent Tough Mudder, I was running with someone who ran a half marathon in 90 minutes. He was very fit, and built perfectly for running. But even he confessed that Tough Mudder involved a completely different type of endurance, both mentally and physically. After 3-4 hours of running in wet clothes, climbing over obstacles and crawling through mud everything starts to seize up and cramp, and you need to keep a positive can do mindset to keep moving forwards.

Of course, the flip side to this is that the feeling when you cross the finish line is even sweeter. I don’t really drink, but the taste of that beer at the end of the course tastes incredible – like a can of victory!  Although the event lives up to it’s name, this is completely forgotten because of the euphoria from finishing. During the event, you will hear people saying things like “whose idea was this?”, “oh my god, we’re not even half way through yet”. At the end, people are talking about the next event!

As such, I will no doubt find myself signing up to some more in 2020!