Gashead's Blog Wonders

25Sep/090

The Maldon Mud Race 2002

Maldon on better days

I wrote this in 2002 :

"As all but two fingers have now recovered their full range of sensations a note on the above.

Don't do it.

The course is Maldon Promenade Park down into the river, through it and up the other side, along that side and back down into the water and back into the park. 150 competitors.

A good-natured Bank Holiday crowd awaited the start as the competitors moved into position at the top of the river bank. Ice covered some of the mud giving a deceptively firm footing. The starter said rice pudding and off we went down over the mud into the 3 foot deep river. I attempted to swim across but the number of people splashing around me and the sheer cold made this impossible. Waded on through for a keenly anticipated romp up the other side. That was where it got nasty.

It was impossible to move through the mud without going thigh high into the stuff, especially where other competitors had already been. My only option was to crawl across the mud on all fours attempting to pull my body up the 20 or so metres. All around people were suffering bitterly cold fingers and I was fearful of losing my wedding ring. In different circumstances I would have been very interested in the different colours and layers of mud but not that day. Near the top of the bank I had to stop from sheer exhaustion struggling to catch my breath. The official route was 40 metres along the top of the bank through more mud but like most others I opted to crawl 10 metres further up the bank so I could walk along the grassy bit at the top. Such relief to make it I was almost looking forward to going back down through the mud to cross the river again. It was marginally easier and I managed to walk more than I crawled. Second time around the river was relief and the climbing up the last bank was relatively painless. One git asked me to pull him out of the mud only for him to walk in front of me at the finishing pen.

As we walked past the crowd to the showers people looked shocked at how exhausted the competitors were. The commentator was making predictable comments about somebody on the other side still doing seal impressions but they appeared to be in great distress and had to be helped out by stewards in wetsuits. I assume the commentator has never exercised anything other than his tongue and tedious wit. As I removed some of the mud in the cold showers the guy next to me bent over and threw up at the side. None of the post-race exhilaration of a marathon was evident.

Rather than hunt out the official showers I headed straight for the car and spent ten minutes trying to remove my shoes which were tied to my feet to stop me losing them. I was not shivering, I was jerking continuously. I finally got shoes off, me in the car and headed for home only to be stuck in a traffic jam of spectators all the while jerking backwards and forwards with cold unable to properly feel the steering wheel.

As I got out of the car a neighbour tried to talk to me but I was shaking too much to talk intelligibly and was turning blue. I had a long warm shower, got out and immediately started shivering again. For three days afterwards I had a terribly painful nose, stinging eyes and sneezing fits. Even now two of my fingertips are partially numb.

There was no good memory to take with me, this is a very unpleasant way to spend Boxing Day"

Despite all of that I have entered again for 27th December 2009!


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