A few weeks a ago I had the great pleasure of flying over to the Nurburgring in Germany to participate in the 2013 Fisherman's Friend Strongman Run. A grueling 15 mile obstacle course that is a real test of strength, stamina and determination. Runners will be face an array of difficult obstacles, including plunging into a pool of ice cold water, suffering electric shocks and braving swamps of quicksand.
The weekend started on a Friday afternoon at Stansted airport where I met the other athletes that made up the 11 man Great Britain team. Our flight was an hour late departing so we decided to get some much needed carbs down our necks. Eventually we arrived at the Nurburgring as the race was actually around the perimeter of the race track at the Nurburgring.
As I was running as part of team GB the team was invited to a VIP dinner party the night before which was being held by the organizers. I thought it would be sensible to just have a good meal and a few cokes. But when have I ever been sensible! I eventually rolled through my hotel door at 3.30am which I would pay for dearly the next day!
I woke up at 8am and headed down to breakfast feeling a lot better than I thought I would. I managed a good breakfast and plenty of water. Feeling pretty confident I headed over to the start with my team mates. I was amazed at just how many people had turned out to run. A total of 12,823 had registered and I can tell you that’s a lot of people when you’re queuing up on the start line.
“BANG” when the start gun and off we went I managed to get to the front and set off fairly quickly with the rest of my team mates. The first mile was just following the race track jumping over the occasional bail of straw. No problem! However this wasn't to last as the course quickly moved off road and started heading up some pretty steep climbs.
All of a sudden the previous night started to catch up with me and I was feeling pretty rubbish. I decided to slow down a bit and let some of my team mates go on as I thought I would catch them up. This was not the case as the obstacles got bigger, longer and considerably more muddy! The one that really caught me out was a cargo net that you had to crawl under and had hanging wires that inflected a nasty electric shock if you touched them. The idea being you try and avoid them although I didn’t realize this to begin with and after getting my first shock i honestly thought the guy behind me had just punched me in the back. I quickly realized I had not insulted this tall German man but had actually been shocked.
The hours passed and the obstacles got even crazier, I actually lost a shoe in one the mud was so thick and deep. It took me 10 minutes to dig it out of the mud. The general camaraderie really added to the day seeing all the competitors helping each other over the obstacles and generally encouraging one another. I need to say thanks to the chap who helped me dig my shoe out of the mud! Apologies I couldn't understand a word you were saying!
Eventually I finished with another one of my team members and we ran across the finish line together. One thing that really made me chuckle was - instead of the organizers handing out energy drinks and fruit at the end they were handing out free beer and cake! Only in Germany ah! It really was a fantastic weekend and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone. It’s funny as I was thinking about it on the plane home and it’s something that can be enjoyed by high level athlete’s or a happy amateur as it’s as hard as you want to make it really.
Check out the official video from the event here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIf9i1M7aC8&list=UUgXUkNTa29C8euDZO6Kxskg&feature=player_embedded Be warned you will want to give it a go!
The website is http://www.fishermansfriend.de/strongmanrun_eng/ and you will be able to pre register for 2014. I certainly would like to go back again as it was a lot of fun and I do need to say a big thank you to Fisherman's Friend for inviting me.
Out for now,