A few weeks ago my colleague Yana wrote an article about a new race that will take place near Kyiv, modelled on the famously hard ‘tough mudder‘ races from the UK. The pointlessly patriotically-named ‘Nation Race’ puts participants through various physical challenges during a run around a very hilly and quite muddy course which covers part of a dirt-bike race track on the outskirts of Kyiv.
After publishing the article, Yana then declared that she would enter the race and ‘give it a go’, bravely declaring that she didn’t care if it defeated her because it would be fun. This inspired me and a week later I also declared that I would run. We could run together and support each other as two totally unprepared but enthusiastic novices.
5 days before the race I attempted the first ‘run’ of this year and covered 3km without dying. On Thursday I did 5km and it almost died. Then I hobbled to work and first Yana called to tell me she was sick and couldn’t race and then Anastasia (who booked my ticket) came to confess that she had booked me on the ‘Elite’ race!
In one day I went from being part of a ‘have-a-go’ team, to being the most un-elite ‘Elite’ athlete who’s ever entered a race.
“F**k that!” I said. “I’m not doing it”.
However, over the next two days we hatched a plan which would allow me to enter the ‘standard race’ (albeit unofficially) and so I decided to give it a go. I warmed-up with a hotdog and a coffee and at 9:30 on Saturday morning I was running around a muddy obstacle course on a hill outside Kyiv. It was hard (as expected) but not impossible and amazingly I survived the full race with only one penalty (30 burpees) for not climbing a rope. About an hour later I jumped through some fire and ran through a large muddy puddle to the finish line accompanied by a girl who had travelled from Russia to participate.
My reward: a free t-shirt, a banana and an Obolon beer.
I gave the banana to Anastasia and drank the celebratory beer.