For the third year in a row, Team Rambo headed down to Shap for the amazing event that is Total Warrior. With more member changes than The Sugababes, Team Rambo: Last Blood Part III was a rather different entity than the
insane brave warriors who began the series. Conditions were near perfect for the event, the wind offering a cooling breeze allaying fears of frying in the sun whilst tackling the tough 10k obstacle course.
As 1pm approached, we made our way to the start ready for the safety briefing. Nerves were growing and there was a real feeling of trepidation as we thought about what new obstacles would be thrown at us this year. At 1pm on the dot, we were off. The thing I missed most this year was Kasabian’s ‘Fire’ . Itwasn’t blaring at us, pumping us up as we crossed the start line. Most disappointing. Although, to be fair, this is my only quibble with what is otherwise a brilliant event.
The first obstacle is ‘Leg It’; an ingenious way to spread out the field to prevent queuing at obstacles further on in the course. I wanted to run more of the hill than I did last year and so I managed to run up the first hill and half of the second hill. Energy sapping, calf destroying, brutal climbs but blooming good training!
Once the team had regathered we headed on to the Human BBQ, the nerves soaring as we spied the clouds of smoke gathering over the trees ahead. Fortunately, it wasn’t as dreadful as we anticipated and we were met with just a little leap over fire. Last year’s running through trenches of water while fire burned at the sides was more evil, I think.
‘Step It Up’ consisted of logs to clamber over followed by the dreaded fences. My nemesis! I managed one of the fences but needed thrown over the second. Good old teamwork! The Mud Moguls was our first real encounter with the mud; certainly not the last!
The refreshment at the water station re-energised us but we immediately encountered ‘The Worm Muncher’! Barbed wire which got increasingly lower, forcing us to squirm through on our bellies to avoid getting a nasty scratch! I found this one of the more difficult mud encounters as it was difficult to get enough grip to move along. Despite getting completely covered in mud, I’d much rather be doing this than heading to a spa and having a mud treatment there. Saying that, though, I bet the mud in a spa doesn’t stink of sheep poo!!
The following obstacles saw us covered in mud followed by a rinsing off in several water baths, including one which was icy cold! Brrr! The Grand National saw us again met with an impossibly high wall. With a bit of pushing and swearing, we managed to scramble over the walls. Definitely not elegant, but we made it nonetheless!
Following the Monks Playground, more water to wade through and logs to climb, there was an arm-achingly awful climb up a cargo net that was laid on to an almost vertical bank. I imagined beginning my ascent, clambering to the half way point and being met with people from higher up falling down and taking me with them. I surprised myself by climbing up quite easily; my renowned lack of upper body strength failing to halt my progress up this death defying climb (no exaggeration…..)
For the first time since beginning my ‘Warrior’ career, I got shocked by The Shocker. Nothing too excruciating, just a little tickle on my wrist. The thought is definitely scarier than the actual shock! There followed another leg crampingly awful climb but this time we were rewarded with the awesomely brilliant ‘Slide Away’. I was so out of control as I hurtled down but it was great fun!
Another new for this year obstacle was up next. Peaks of Pain saw a steep ramp with a rope dangled teasingly at the half way point. A large queue had formed at this obstacle, the only real one that we’d encountered throughout this course. For a while we watched other brave warriors throwing themselves at the ramp. Many failed but they were resolute and never gave up.. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to give it a go. I was so sure that this obstacle would beat me but I wanted to give it a good go at least. Running as fast as my legs would take me, I got on to the ramp and reached for the rope. Amazingly, I caught it and dragged myself up. A slight wobble at the top made me feel like I’d be heading back down, at a much quicker rate than I’d made it up, but a fellow team member reached out and dragged me over the top! Thank You!!
Carrying a log up and down some hills followed my heroics (!) on the Peaks of Pain. Luckily, I managed to pick up a rather light log. It was quite big so looked more impressive than it actually was! The finish line was in sight but there were still a couple of hurdles to overcome. A final swim across the river and a climb up a muddy bank preceded the long slog up the hill to the ‘One Last Climb’.
Following this, Hang Tough loomed large. A long set of monkey bars over a tank filled with dirty, smelly water. I wanted to get further than last year (half-way!) but failed miserably. As I reached for the 4th rung, my hands slipped from the bars and I plunged into the water. At least I washed some of the mud off…Small consolation! At the finish, we waited for our team mates to assemble and crossed the line together. Team Rambo victorious once again!!! The time we completed the course in will not break any records but we did it and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. That’s the most important thing. That, and realising you can do much more than you think you can, you just need to have that little bit of belief in yourself and give it a go.
Once again, this event was so well organised. I’d like to thank the organisers, and the marshals, for making this such a fantastic experience.