I’ve spent the last 16 years cycling and racing triathlon, so after a recent lacklustre race at Xterra Belgium I decided to try something else.

After looking around I found Rat Race had a series of events, all included in an annual membership package, including obstacle races, running events, adventure race and a couple of festival type events.

I figured that a new type of racing would be good for motivation and meeting some new people (and hopefully some interesting blogs!) so I took the plunge and signed up for membership.

This was Friday morning and I was in Birmingham for some meetings. I looked on the RatRace website and saw there was a race on the Saturday morning, the Man v Lakes in the beautiful Lake District.

So I hit the road, stopping off at Kendal to register and Ambleside to buy some off-road trainers (preparation is key kids!) and then on to the Finish Line which doubled as the campsite for the night before.

An hour on the laid on bus got us to the start line in Morecambe Bay, and the weather, which had started at 2am, continued to be horrendous (welcome to July in Summer people!).

A 10.30 start on the beach, led the 700 racers straight into waist high seas for around 6km of fun, which pretty much set the tone for the day. There were timed vertical km challenges, frequent climbs, lots of marshy fields and all the other fun stuff you associate with racing in this beautiful part of the world. Around 20 miles in the obstacles started (did I mention this was marathon distance!) with a swim through a small lake, then a huge rope swing out into the next lake. Next up was another dip into the river along an inflatable pontoon and swim back to shore, followed by a mini obstacle course in the lake with monkey bars, floating lily pad jumps and another floating pontoon to master. All linked by wet, muddy and slippery woods.

It was around this time when myself and my newly acquired friend (I never did ask his name, but during events like this, does it really matter?!) realised that we had worked our way up to 4th and 5th place, and after the slowest sprint finish ever we found ourselves at the final obstacle, a 100 metre long slip and slide to the finish line. I’m not afraid to say that my legs were shot to pieces and I was squarely beaten in to 5th in just over 4.20hrs, a time and position which, if I had left myself enough time to think about, I could not have possibly imagined!

This race, the volunteers, the fully stocked aid stations, the course, the obstacles, were all excellent, really excellent, and I am really happy to have been involved in the first running of this mega event!

I’m now looking at the other races that Rat Race do (my membership gets me entry into all of them!) and getting excited about the next event…but maybe I’ll let my legs, and kit, recover for a few days first!