It’s the day after the race and my body is in pain. The sweet, delicious pain that only comes after you put your body to the test. After you make it run up a few hundred steps, climb a slick hill, do the monkey bars, crawl under nets, climb walls and jump off the other side. As I said; sweet, delicious pain. Everyone tells me that day two post race is always worse. I cannot wait. Because I know when my body recovers in a couple of days, I will be stronger.
Red and green t-shirts dominate my line of sight at the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest in Edinburgh. The world around me is set ablaze, the crowd buzzing, high on life and adrenaline. Thirteen waves took off one by one from the start point; the iconic Royal Mile. Off we went in troves; climbing over bales of hay, swerving down narrow streets, jumping over barricades, climbing iron structures, trotting up the steps of Calton Hill to where an assault course lay waiting. The click, click of knees in pain as we descend, praying for a stretch of flat but no such luck. A walking ascent up a part of Arthur’s seat followed, too slippery and too steep to run but some studs managed it. I was not one of them.
It felt like been a child again, free to roam the countryside running amuck in the fields and forests . Instead of descending the typical way we slid down on a home-made wet plastic bag slide, spinning into the mud to a chorus of hearty laughs and applause from the spectators. Chug, chug, up we get and on we run, through a caged maze in the Grassmarket area. 1km to go, 3 more obstacles to face. We re-enter civilisation and return to the event village stationed at Princes Street gardens. A leg up over the boxes, a frantic scramble through the water, up a small but deadly hill, we know the end is near. “Keep ‘er going,” a man urges as I begin to stutter and slow. I dig deep and push on to face the famous wall.
A recurring theme of the day and of this event is the kindness people show. As I face the dreaded wall, I do not have to hesitate, a man in front of me asks if I want a boost up, another catches me as I rise and pulls me up. I look down at the height I will have to jump but another stranger says ” I’ve got you” and off I go. People, especially adventurous people, I am quickly discovering are good, to the very core.
I finish. I survive. Soaked and dirty with a mad grin plastered on my face, I amble home utterly content. Now it is your turn. You want to do a 10km obstacle course, well your choices in the UK for the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest are London, Nottingham, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Manchester. Take your pick.