Sunday, 30 September 2007

Enjoying the rat race

Originally uploaded by patfoz.
Yet again, I found myself doing something that seemed like a good idea at the time... the London Rat Race. Based on a few posters and a slick looking website, I signed up for this 'urban adventure race' without even having a team. The concept is that the race brings 'adventure racing' (those eco-challenge things you see on tv where teams of people run, climb, swim, kayak etc around some pacific islands) to the city, so that average schmoes like me can be tempted into trying something they shouldn't...

I obviously wasn't the only one suckered in, managing to find some other Aussie novices to form a team (many thanks to Andrew and Gabbrielle). The running/orienteering session on Saturday evening started off well: we got the map, planned our route (not too ambitious) and set off... we got to the first challenge and I immediately wished we'd run in the opposite direction. The challenge was for the team to eat jellied eel. 3 team members, ergo 3 chunks of eel to be eaten. As soon as we got there, my newfound teammates told me they were vegetarian. So I was left to wolf down a bowl of jellied eel. And then run for another 2 hours. Go on, try it. I dare you. I had to stop every 10 minutes to retch and try to vomit.

The Sunday session started early, and with Andrew on the maps we raced through London on the bikes. After the pain of Saturday's running we'd decided to skip all the orienteering/running sessions. A small taste of the activities of the day included: riding in Richmond Park, barrel rolling at Fuller's Brewery, abseiling off Twickenham stadium, kayaking around Putney, and finally playing hide and seek on the HMS Belfast. A full day in the saddle covering nearly 80kms left me sore and tired and unable to ride my bike for weeks.

Needless to say, we didn't win, but had a great time facing up to the challenge. If you get a chance to do something similar, I recommend it (just do some training first!) - I'm already booked in to the 2008 races in Edinburgh and London...

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