Mud, sweat and tears: Pretty Muddy Cardiff

Race: Pretty Muddy Cardiff 5K, Race for Life
Charity: Cancer Research UK

What better way to get back into racing than taking part in a charity fun run, with a mate, laughing and smiling the whole way - and getting MUDDY.

To me, that sums up beautifully why I love racing events - the community spirit, the fun. When training frustrates and consumes you, the atmosphere of race day can help you let go and simply enjoy yourself. 

Pretty Muddy is a spin-off from the Race for Life series, in aid of Cancer Research UK. I've done a few of these runs, my favourite being the Twilight 5K, but this was my first venture into mud racing.

If you're looking to dip your toe into mud runs, this is perfect for you. 

Race for Life is inherently gentle: free from judgement, people "run, walk and dance" through the course. A good natter with friends (or other participants if you're going it alone) is encouraged. The obstacles were challenging enough to make it interesting, but accessible to most people - even those who don't regularly exercise. Plus, being Cardiff, it's flat.

It's for all these reasons I loved the course. It was accessible enough so that people who perhaps thought they could never take part in such an activity could truly embrace it and be a part of something special. Equally, the fittest athlete could relish the run, making it as challenging as they wanted. While I belly-flopped over some pink inflatable hurdles, one woman leapt over at full speed, Sally Gunnell-style.

Oh, and the mud. I was surprised - and, I admit, a little disappointed - by the lack of bespattering as I rounded the final 1K. If you're thinking Tough Mudder, don't. Given we were in the middle of a city park, I guess there's only so much mud they can create.

This all changed, however, in that final stretch. We waded on hands and knees through a satisfyingly disgusting mud pool, before the final obstacle: the mud slide. Alongside my friend Hazel, we scurried up the ropes to the top. While my fellow mud runner took a sensible approach to the slide, I launched myself. The consequences were comical. I flew at an alarming rate down the slide into another mud pool, creating such an impact I showered both myself and unimpressed spectators in mud.

Now, I had spent the weeks running up to Pretty Muddy worried about my contact lens situation. It didn't seem too clever taking part in a mud run wearing contact lenses, but the thought of damaging my glasses bothered me even more. Surely I'm not the only one to have pondered this dilemma. I even considered goggles.

Having kept my eyes mud-free for the duration of the course, I was pretty satisfied I'd made the the right call opting for contacts. Upon impact after the mud slide, I was bathing  in mud. I clamped my eyes (and mouth) shut far too late. After wiping the splatters away I blinked furiously, half wondering if my lenses might pop out as tears welled up to combat the gritty slime blurring my vision.

Back home, rinsing my eyes and lenses in saline never felt so good. But you know what... it was totally worth it.


There's still time to sponsor my Pretty Muddy Race for Life! Funds raised go to Cancer Research UK, in memory of my parents. Visit my JustGiving page here.


This post is part of the Virtual Running UK blog hop. Read more here.

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