While many people take advantage of a crisp, clear, sunny Autumn Sunday morning relaxing, cleaning the car, preparing Sunday lunch or gardening, in the grounds of a stately home in the corner of a quiet English Shire, over 1000 competitors were limbering up in preparation for a very different activity.
The Mudrunner is a race that is very difficult to pigeonhole: a gentle country run it is not, an assault course, maybe, an extreme cross country race with lots and lots of mud and freezing cold muddy water is closer to the mark!
Advertised as an ‘adventure race over 6ish arduous country miles’ is, to be fair, fairly vague as the distance isn’t completely accurate and most of the course follows a track used to test 4×4 off-road vehicles to their limits whilst carrying paying passengers on a white knuckle thrill ride.
The 2010 Mudrunner, now called the Mudrunner Classic as it has spawned two very unruly offspring, namely the Mudrunner Oblivion and the Mudrunner Icebreaker, details of which can be found on www.mudrunner.co.uk had, a new start in a field as opposed to an entrance to Eastnor Castle as used in 2009 and quite a different route to join the 4×4 track that included a 20 or 30 metre wade through a freezing cold brook that had a gravel bed akin to rows of molehills as I found out as I caught my feet in them and went down on all fours twice! Around the course generally there was less water than last year but that only caused the mud to be thicker and stickier and harder to run through, but there were also parts of the course that were relatively dry which made for very good running condiotions but they were few and far between.
In comparison to the 2009 edition this year’s race was approximately 300m longer whilst still finishing in the main entrance to Eastnor Castle itself.
As there were reportedly 1038 entries this year (compared with 420+ in 2009, and necessitating the new start) competitors were asked to split up into 5 ‘waves’, taking into account personal ability over a 10k road race. Kayleigh and I both opted to start in the first wave at 11am, the other 4 waves setting off at 3 minute intervals behind us
At the serious end of the completion, the race was won by Garry Hughes (don’t know any other details) in 52.13, followed by Matt James of Hereford in 55.16, with Peter Butler (again ??) 3rd in 56.30. John Pullen was 4th and 1st MV40, while Eliot Taylor was 5th. Top team were ledbury Mudrunners and top female was Chloe Felton who finished in 01:09:06 in 61st place. I finsihed in 141st in 01:16:52 (4th in the 50-59 age group!), whilst Kayleigh finsihed 431st in 1:33:57, a very creditable performance considering there were 897 finishers, the last finsiher taking almost 3 and a half hours to complete the course!
Full results are on the above mentioned website, along with a link to the photographs graphically illustrating the race conditions and perhaps why some took so long to reach the finish! Overall, hard work but tremendous fun.
Frank and Kayleigh, having emerged from the Mudrunner!