I wanted to get an early start to an event since I've never been able to get to the event sites before 11 o'clock or there abouts, so I opted for an overnight stay in London, with an attendance at 2.8 hours later.
I sat on the train and was really looking forward to getting out in the mud even with the skies looking a bit grey and overcast, sensibly I'd opted for breakfast this time, since I don't want to make the mistake of my first event. I always have trepidation about the final obstacle, electro shock therapy, which given that I've been through multiple times I know what its like, still I have the option to bypass it should I want to, though the one time I did bypass I sort of wish I hadn't. When I got to Twyford there were a few other people waiting for the train over to Henley and we got chatting mainly about what they should expect and my experiences of past events.
The site was incredibly muddy and covered my shoes making me wish I'd changed before arriving on site, I got checked in and found they've changed the way you get your number, instead of assigned ones, they give you one from a pile of numbers, so you can get a really low one if you're early enough.
I headed over to the legionnaires check in to collect my coloured headband, which was yellow given that I'd done six events before, I headed over to the changing tent then stowed my gear in the bag drop.
The mc on the stage was inviting multi event participants on stage so the crowd could see what they looked like and give them some cheers, applause and adulation, I was up there with just one other guy on his seventh event and to be honest it was pretty good having a crowd of fifty plus people cheering you on. We did the warm up thing and then headed for the start area.
I thought that it would be a relatively flat course like the first event last year but I was so very wrong, just after the start it went up at around 45° or more and just kept on going up the whole course was incredibly undulating with a lot of steep hills that you couldn't really run up, unless you had trained quite hard on hills, they were also really muddy which made the descent quite difficult. in some places.
The obstacles returning this year were: kiss of mud, Arctic enema, glory blades, hold your wood, electric eel, mud mile, hero carry, trench warfare, boa constrictor, funky monkey, cage crawl, walk the plank, hero walls, Everest and electroshock therapy.
The new obstacles that were brought in including the legionnaire's loop were.
Bale bonds: three sets of hay bails to jump over.
Just the tip: similar to human gecko of last year but with one long handhold and a couple of foot rests, this was much quicker to traverse,
Hangin tough: which was like the bit they had on gladiators, y'know the mid 90's TV program.
A deep pit: which required help getting out of, or if you're tall enough using the slightly lower pit sides.
Hangover walls: which were even larger 45° walls than the glory blades.
Killa gorilla: which was simply a bunch of steep inclines to run up and down.
Balls to the wall: which was a twenty foot wall you climbed over with a rope.
Family feud: a balance beam you walked along spectators tried to knock you off with large orange balls.
As I decided to wear the t-shirt I'd had made for a previous mudder event I spent quite a bit of the course feeling really cold and it reminded me of my first event. it put me in a totally defeated frame of mind, which meant that I skipped electric eel and electroshock therapy, I need to leave any cotton gear behind and forget wearing it if the day is anything other than warm or hot.
The new coloured headband system is a great way to let others know how many events you've done, which gets you chatting whilst taking part, I even spotted two people sporting the black and orange headbands.