This page has been created for any reports members may wish to submit, where they have been taken part in any activities outwith ADAC events. Photos are welcome also.
Spadeadam 2007 (submitted by Smiler)
THE BORDER REIVERS HALF MARATHON 2007
The Border Reivers Half Marathon took place at RAF Spadeadam on 24 October 2007. The event attracted over seventy runners from all three Services, the police and many local clubs. The course starts on tarmac but soon moves in to the forest with stony tracks underfoot and with superb views over the fells in the later stages. Rarely is the going flat, but mercifully the final mile is back on the tarmac and is largely downhill. The weather was superb for the race and was much appreciated by the runners who braved the challenge of this testing course.
SAC Iain Bailey of RAF Aldergrove won the race in a record time of 1:13:42, which is a course best for this event. ADAC were represented by George Fraser and Smiler, who recorded times of 1:55:54 and 1:33:57 respectively.
This is an annual event and takes place with the kind permission of the Station Commander and is generously supported by our main sponsors RAFA and SERCO. Full results are available on the RAF Spadeadam website www.raf.mod.uk/rafspadeadam . Look out on the website for details of next year’s race.
Tough Guy 2007 - A Survivors Tale....
Mid Winter and I'm packing the car to go to Tough Guy, I must be mad. I loaded up the family and all the wet and warm weather clothes that we own and headed south.
My TomTom seemed to know where the venue was, so we settled in for the 300 odd mile trip to deepest Englandshire.
My guides for the event are well known to the hill running section, Tough Guy veterans and fellow hill runners, John Goldsworthy and Shirley Singh from Penpont.
We met them for a course walk through on the Saturday afternoon. It all seemed so calm and peaceful. Grassy fields, sparkling clear ponds, then I spotted the obstacles in the section known as The Killing Fields!!
Cargo nets, enormous climbing frames made of telegraph poles, obstacles made of barbed wire or live electric fencing. Huge areas of swamp and muddy pits. and impossible ariel rope ways. I could not believe the scale of the course!
My Family were in histerics when they saw what I would be up against. It was good to get a close look around, as some obstacles I was worried about seemed pretty hamless, unfortunatly many of those I thought I could managed were far higher or deeper than I had imagined.
Sunday arrived and race nerves meant I forgot my race number and documentation and had to double back to the hotel in a frantic dash. Arrived at Tough Guy venue along with 4000 other competitors, to find yesterdays peaceful rural setting had been transformed into a bizzare spectacle. A cross between a war zone and a charity fun run. The peaceful horse and pony sanctuary where his event is staged would be the venue for as much frozen agony as you are ever likely to see. The atmosphere was amazing.
We eventually met up with John and Shirley for the compulsory face painting of your race number. You are supplied with two race numbers for this event, but writing the number on your forehead in thick felt tip is compulsory, as most of the numbers are ripped from your clothing as you struggle through the course. Apparently this helps them identify the bodies!
We were all penned up in groups prior to the start as the anticipation and excitement built, as a Ghoon I was penned well down the field, behind the Front Squad, the Tough Guys, the Wet Necks and the Wobble Muckers but at least I was in front of the Late Buggers.
Smoke bombs and the cannon signified the start and 4000 nut cases poured over the start and through the thick smoke, Tough Guy 2007 was underway.
The staggered start degenerated into a massed surge through the smoke bombs and fireworks, piling down the hill carried along in the 4000 strong crowd to the fiirst bend. My "plan" was to try and gain as many places as I could on the run section and try to get to the obstacles before the huge queues built up. The route took us back through the farm steading past the cheering crowds before heading out into the open countryside. It was almost idyllic in the winter sunshine. I steadily gained places as inexperienced runners had obviously gone off far too fast and were already fading. I managed to get through the main surge and began working my way up the field.
The " Country Miles " as they are called are designed to string out the field and are far from straight forward. Ploughed fields, overgrown river banks, thistles, nettles and thick undergrowth through the wooded sections are there to sap the legs and resolve of the competitors. It was only when I got to the top of a hill climb that I had time to look across the fields and see just how strung out the 4000 actually were.
Nearing the end of this section came the first taster of what was to come in the Killing Fields. Large sections of thin nylon netting had been laid over chopped down trees. Not only had we to thread our way through the thick twigs and branches but also had to content with feet, arms and legs getting tangled in the netting. After this came the very first of the water obstacles, only knee deep to start with, freezing cold but at least no ice this year! The ponds gradually got deeper and deeper, thigh deep, waist deep and finally shoulder deep. Keeping breathing due to the cold shocks was the hardest part, luckily there was not really any time to think as I was now up the field and running mostly with Front Squad and Tough Guys ( the two groups which get to start at the very front).
An eight foot high wooden wall to climb signified the end of the run and the start of The Killing Fields.
Now came the bit that really worried me, I had not idea what to expect, though maybe that helped!
The next 40 minutes all seemed a huge blur. One obstacle after another, deep icy water, climbing rediculously high towers, more muddy cold water, more climbing , more water, another high tower, jumping off high tower into icy deep water, high wires, more water, flames, smoke, mud, deep dark tunnels, barbed wire more swimmimg, bit more mud...you get the picture!
The hardest obstacle was the under water one, my head froze on the last section and it was a real struggle getting orientated for the next section. Had my Winter Submersion Training made any difference, I think it did.
As the Killing fields progressed I noticed the runners starting to thin out as the cold and obstacles took their toll. I was also managing to work my way up the field.
It was a bizarre feeling but, as I began to realise I was nearling the end of this ordeal, I became quite euphoric. I was grinning from ear to ear and starting to laugh quite uncontrollably.
The adrenaline buzz was amazing as I finished, I met Ruth and the boys almost immediatley, by this time my adrenaline high was mixed by an attack of massive shivers as the cold finally took its toll.
I finished in 1hr 27mins, 9 minutes behind the winner and 82nd out of around 3500.
After I had calmed down and come down to planet earth again, I pulled on layer after layer of warm clothing and headed back out into the Killing Field to see the course for myself, as it was now covered in muddy bodies. Some of them were only just finishing the run section! These poor souls still had another 3 hours to go before they would finish and the mud was getting deeper all the time. Long before they finished I was fast asleep in the car heading home up the M6, Ruth driving of course.
I must mention John and Shirley too, their advice and help was invaluable, thank you once again. They are both veterans of this event and finished in excellent times too. John was 1st over 50 male and Shirley was 1st in her age group too.
We MUST get an ACAC trip to this event, I am hooked. I have already entered 2008 Winter Tough Guy and am planning a trip to do the summer one too....but thats another story.
Check out www.toughguy.com.
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