On the 9 October a team six CFB Firefighters undertook what has been called the UK’s toughest Obstacle Race. The team also managed to raise some funds in aid of Breast Cancer Support Gibraltar with the help of sponsors. I (Lee) decided that it was the perfect opportunity to gather a group of our Members together and challenge ourselves physically & mentally and get out of our comfort zones.
With the event just a few weeks away, those that had put their names forward to be in the team stepped up their training. The momentum was building, we were looking forward to it more and more as Race Day approach. Our team included myself, James Hargreaves, Scott Montgomery, Adam Montgomery, Alec Taylor, Simon Smeathers, Mark Ellis, Holly Evans, Cat O’Flynn, Rachael Shepherd and Alison Pritchett. The warm up was done, we had our numbers pinned to our SOTF TShirts and we faced the first obstacle – The Hay Stacks.
With the Hay Stacks out the way, we got into rhythm and ran along the River Trent out towards Holme Pierrepont. Grab a sandbag, carry it 30m, drop it, leopard crawl under a cargo net in a pit of mud, climb a very large A Frame, make your way across a Tarzan Rope Swing, a test of your upper body strength across 10 Monkey Bars before leaving the Assault Course with a final large A Frame and a heavy duty cargo net over an even muddier and rockier pit.
After a short run across a very wet and muddy car park, you reached the slide that takes you into the River Trent once again. The race continued – next up was a cross country run up and down many muddy banks, slippery when wet, that’s for sure!
You could see the floodlights to Meadow Lane (Notts County FC), you knew you were getting closer to the final obstacles. Even now, the building works are well under-way and it had cut back massively on the amount of room that Survival had to play with. Being on site bright and early, I had the great pleasure of watching the first-wave masters in action. If I went on to describe every obstacle on the Survival of the Fittest course we'd be here all day. After a run around to the other side of the power station we faced the first of one of Survival's classic obstacles. As per usual we darted through a hollowed out car (classic urban obstacle awesomeness) and over a pile of tyres before heading out for an obstacle-free run in Battersea Park. As we headed back towards the power station I was presented with my old friend - the inflatable obstacle.
After a sprint up an enormous plywood slope, all that was left was the 8 foot Wall of Fame. For more news , tips and info about obstacle course races and mud runs follow Mudstacle on: Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.
Pete, it was great to meet you at the start line on Saturday and to chat about the website.. On Saturday 10th October a group of us took part in Men's Heath, Survival of the Fittest at Nottingham.
In the photo above FF Martin Posso presented a cheque to Mrs Mercy Posso (on his left) and Mrs Marie Cavilla of the Gibraltar charity. So I signed 10 of us up to represent Paramount Fitness but more importantly to go out and have a day of fun together.
However we found out during the Race that it was in fact 12k, thanks to the signs reminding you along the way – very sneaky.

We worked our way around HPP up and down a number of VERY muddy hills, going into a little Cross Country run. Given that the temperature was approximately 10 degrees on the day, I think it was fair to say that the water temperature was only a few degrees above freezing. Crawling under park benches, climbing through derelict Cars and onto an Artic Lorry and off again certainly tests your legs at this stage.
One final dip in a couple of pools of cold water, jumping in and out of two large Skips and then a carry of a Beer Barrel over a short distance through the Beer Tent where spectators cheer you on over your final strides.
It was fun, enjoyable and with good support from the Marshals and my fellow team-mates, a day I would love to repeat again.
I had visited for a few years in a row now and it is one of the events that really cemented my love of obstacle course racing. In previous years we had made full use of the post-apocalyptic urban wasteland, even ducking in and out of the power station itself.
Jonathan Albon and Ross Macdonald dominated, yet again, check out the video footage of their race here. It was all very pleasant as I smiled and nodded at the occasional jogger heading in the other direction.
Starting with a double skate ramp to run up, followed by a long barrage of scaffolding obstacles to squeeze under, over and through (which is where my shins took the biggest beating). After helping somebody up and having the favour returned, I made my way to the finish line to collect the quality medal and goodie bag that I've come to expect from Rat Race events. The final Survival of the Fittest of the year and the last time that it would take place at Battersea Power Station. Jason, Neil, Zac, Chris W, Chris M, Jessica, Emma and Lindsey started as a team and finished as a team and had an amazingly fun day all the way round. The race is a 10 Kilometre event but with a difference, it involves an obstacle at each Kilometre.
Carrying Traffic Cones, Slalom Runs and climbing up various platforms on your hands and knees to then climb back down again. You finish this section with some further crawling through barrels, large inflatable zones and more parkour stations. You drop to the ground using whatever leg strength you have left and cross the finish line. Making my way into the iconic arena of Battersea Power Station almost felt like my home turf. This time though the event village and obstacle zone had been crammed into a small portion of the site.
Many times in the past I've made the mistake of pacing this course like I would your average 10km race, only to be exhausted by the constant barrage of energy sapping obstacles.
It's worse than running on sand, where you have to put in twice the amount of energy to travel half the distance. Although the sun had come out and the air felt considerably warmer than earlier, it was still a massive shock getting into a series of water obstacles: several skips, containers and inflatable paddling pools.
I had a really great day and even went on to have several drinks in their bar in the evening. The obstacles range from an army assault course to crossing a river and climbing all the stairs of the Nottingham Forest football stadium.
Some of us had never taken part in an event like this, some had a fear of water, some were unsure they could run the distance.

Obstacles included climbing over Hay Stacks, Assault Courses consisting of Monkey Bars, Climbing Frames, Cargo Nets, Parkour Stations, swimming across the Trent, carrying Sand Bags, Beer Barrels & Traffic Cones to finally climbing the famous steps of the Trent End at the City Ground. You were in and out of this water obstacle within 10 seconds, but enough time to certainly drop your body temperature and wake you up. Completely submerged, you reach the surface to catch you breath but with the shock of the temperature, it takes you a good 10-20 seconds to achieve that, as your chest tightens, lungs don’t seem to want to work and body temperature plummets. There was a warm sense of familiarity, compounded because I knew that it would be the last time I would run there. That didn't stop me from getting to the front line so that I could give those haybales a good seeing to. I was relieved when I popped out the other end; little did I know that there would be at least three more extended versions of this obstacle later in the race. I had been there before in previous years but this time the challenge had been doubled to two circuits - the first carrying a traffic cone and the second jumping over the barriers in the steeplechase circuit. The deeper container in particular really took my breath away, froze me up and laboured my movement for a few seconds. With the shear volume of people that you get at this race there is always a good atmosphere. All self-doubt faded when we got together as a team, as you knew you could rely on your team-mates if and when the going was to get tough. This time next year Battersea Power Station will be well on its way to becoming an apartment, shopping and events complex, forcing Survival of the Fittest onto pastures new.
As I've mentioned on a number of occasions, I think that Survival have create one of the most exciting starts to an obstacle course race but, if you don't blast off the mark quickly, it can get a little built up. In the past I haven't found the traffic cone carrying obstacles to be challenging enough, as they tend to be set into quite a small circuit but a 400m running track is the kind of distance where carrying a cone can get kind-of annoying - so I would say that was a great improvement on previous years. After that we gradually made our way around the power station in the direction of the event village, along the way jumping over trucks, running up slopes, tackling another maze and getting tangled in a spider's web. Of course, there's the downside of occasional congestion in later waves, but if you're serious about smashing out a time just make sure that you book up early when it's cheap and get yourself into one of the early waves - it will make all of the difference.
The event  village seemed to buzz even more than normal (which is saying something) and large sections of the course were viewable from it, making it ideal for spectators.
I'm not sure where it officially began and ended but within the first kilometer or so we had climbed over a couple of platforms, some 6 foot walls, carried sand bags, negotiated a maze, swung on a rope, climbed a cargo net, tackled monkey bars, jumped over and under a series of scaffolding barriers and hopped over some road barriers.
One of the best additions to the course in the last couple of years has been the run through the bar area carrying a beer barrel.
You get a big cheer from the crowd as you head through and it really adds to the atmosphere of the day.
If anyone EVER tries saying that this kind of race is easy (which they generally don't), try doing that at full speed! Later that day we forced Jonathan Albon and Ross Macdonald to down a pint in their evening heat.
I'm not sure whether they genuinely wanted it to happen but we weren't going to let them get away with it :D They were really good sports and still went on to win convincingly!

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