It was in July 2014, that I did my first obstacle run. I went straight in with Tough Mudder. To be fair, I didn't know what an obstacle run entailed and it was the only one I heard people really speak off. What a shock for me then that it was all about mud, water and being electrocuted. Whilst at times it pushed me to my limits, prize for that goes to Arctic Enema, which with my phobia of water was pure hell. I completed, I came across the finish line feeling proud, completely dirty and left with scars as memories.
At the time I just did this event as a one off to raise money for my charity The Lewis Foundation (www.thelewisfoundation.co.uk). Never did I think it would be something I fall in love with, continue to do to fundraise and make some amazing friends in the process.
If you ever get a chance, give one a try. These are some of the reasons why you should.
Anyone can obstacle run.
It is not an event for the elites. Anyone any age, shape, size and disability can take part. I have seen people take part who are in wheelchairs, who are missing limbs, who are 60 plus and people who are not running to achieve a personal best. No one judges, everyone (and literally I mean everyone) wants to see you do well. This is not only the marshals but the other runners too.
Obstacle racing is all about team work and this is includes being helped by strangers. Everyone is there to help each other complete it. Get used to someone helping in you in whatever way they can. It is not uncommon to be pushed over a wall or through the mud by your bum to give you a helping hand!
The time I had a panic attack on Artic Enema, two marshals came to the side and talked me through it. They told me to reach for their hand whilst I went under water and came out the other side. They cheered and hugged me when I got out. People I had never met before, encouraging me and enabling me to overcome a fear.
If you go on your own, people are willing for you to team up and join them to complete it. I had this on Rat Race Man vs Lake. I had signed up to run 26 mile on my own. A lovely lady struck up a conversation from mile 7 and we ran to the end together. We have been in contact ever since.
I have met and made so many friends along the way. This is through people sparking up conversation whilst you run around. You stay in touch via social media and then you arrange to do other runs and things together. I have met some amazing people and friendships that I would have never had without obstacle running.
You are not just running. You are lifting yourself over things, carrying things, crawling underneath barbed wire. You are mentally and physically being pushed in a way you wouldn't have before. You truly get to learn what your body is capable of and you are rewarded at the end with a nice medal and T-shirt.
Give it a go, create memories, new friendships and have fun. You only live once!
I am always running. So if there is a run you want to try or run you see me doing, please feel free to get in contact and join me.