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Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

This weekend Ashdown Primary School are holding their annual mud run and will be having lots of fun raising funds for the school PTA.  We wish the families and kids taking part well and hope they raise loads for their PTA.  This muddy experience has prompted me to look into the mud event phenomena.  Ashdown join a host of other event organisers who are turning to mud to challenge and entertain and a whole industry has sprung up in recent years. Mud is gaining ground!

Its not uncommon on a weekend to see exhausted people walking along the road covered head to toe in the brown stuff looking like they have been dragged behind a tractor on a rainy day!  The dirtier you get, it seems, the better you will feel and yes, this is exercise!

Crawling through tight muddy tunnels, wading across icy water, dodging electric wires and jumping over fire. This is not everyone’s idea of fun – but a multimillion-pound industry has grown on the back of increasing numbers of women and men doing just that.  A recent BBC article:  Mud, Sweat and Cheers,  gives some fantastic and seemingly incredulous examples around the world of mud and challenge runs that would make you feel dirty and exhausted just looking at the photos and leave the reader wondering  how on earth anyone makes it to the finish line alive!  (I quickly step in here and say don’t be alarmed – a primary school’s event will be very safe and they won’t be doing all of that!)

But what draws participants to these ultimate challenge events?  Perhaps lives have just become too clean and safe.  Perhaps there is a need to reconnect with the experiences of ancestors who had to endure extreme hardship just to survive. Perhaps these events are seen as the next level of endurance race.  Everyone may have a different reason to take part but once you do, what appears consistent is that you become well and truly embedded in the concept.

Spending time in mud is good for us too apparently.   A Telegraph article written (about children) last year by Linda Blair: Mind Healing the Psychology of Getting Dirty: tells us that parents should encourage children to get muddy.  It says that there are many advantages and cites “Spending time outside encourages the production of endorphins, our natural painkillers that trigger feelings of wellbeing and being outdoors helps set our biological clock and promotes more restful sleep”. Ashdown Primary may be leading the way here!

Well done if you have taken part your own mud challenge. We look forward to hearing how you do and good luck to all in the Ashdown Primary School event this weekend.

Useful links:

Obstacle Course Race Association is a governing body formed to ensure that this type of event is safe – check out http://www.ocrauk.org.uk.  “Train safe, Race safe.”

PHOTO by Steven L. Shepard, Presidio of Monterey Public Affairs

Blister busting!

Congratulations to all those 1000s of runners who took part in the London Marathon yesterday, whether elite, club or novice runners. It is truly an amazing event and a great race result for you but what about your other footfall result – how are your tootsies today? A bit sore – oh dear – or maybe you’ve been unlucky enough to get a blister or two down at the lower end of those over-used extremities after going the distance. Those of us who have been there on that particularly uncomfortable journey have huge empathy with what you are going through – the blister is truly the runners curse!

If that was your foot fall result yesterday (or at any other recent event you have taken part in over the weekend) then we are sorry to hear about this temporary setback. The good news is that a blister soon goes and perhaps the euphoria of your triumph yesterday may be masking any pain or you haven’t had to squeeze your toes back into the work shoes yet anyway. Time to analyse why you got the blister later – for now you just want it to go right? Ok so before you take any drastic action we suggest you do take some advice to avoid any nasty infection that might delay you getting back into the training for your next event.

There are loads of remedies that I’m told you can apply to blitz that blister – cider vinegar, Epsom Salts (ouch that stings), chamomile compresses, soaking in green tea (aaahh that’s so soothing), tea tree oil, vitamin E, aloe vera etc can all bring relief, particularly if you are into alternative therapies. The NHS website has some very sensible advice too and those special second skin blister patches will surely need to go down in history as one of the true wonders of the medical world.  I find they bring instant relief!  Just try everything and see what suits you. Of course then there is the other side effect for the long distance runner – black toe nail trauma – but I won’t go into that now as anyway it could be weeks before yours falls off anyway!

Seriously, it was a long day yesterday and your feet deserve some praise for all their hard effort – so give them some TLC for the next few days and then maybe go out and buy some new socks and shoes, and a jar of Vaseline too perhaps, to give them a treat before their next running outing. We hope to see you and your healthy feet at one of our events soon.

Well done from us all here at Eventrac!

First ever marathon? Harness the energy!

On Sunday 23 April thousands and thousands of runners will take part in the UK’s biggest running event – the London Marathon – we wish them all a great race experience.  If you are one of these then you will have spent many gruelling months training and getting race ready.  For many participants,  this will be their first ever marathon event.  Some will go on to take part in many more events but others may just feel that they want a break and for them taking part in such an iconic event will be a one-off achievement.   After any major event you need to rest your body – all the running coaches and magazines will tell you this and it is the right thing to do – the body needs to recover but that doesn’t stop your mind continuing to run at a reasonable pace!  To keep the psychological momentum at its fitness peak spend some time looking up other events or even consider joining a running club.  You worked so hard so you owe it to yourself to continue thinking about running, pat yourself on the back, hang up the medal and consider your next challenge.  Harness all that energy you created to plan ahead.  There is so much potential out there to exercise your running psyche and keep your body fitness levels high.

Supporting local events offers you some great experiences and some of them have pretty decent medals too if you are wanting to start a collection of trophies.  They may not be such high profile events as the London Marathon but there are some fantastic events out there that would be equally rewarding (and cheaper) to enter that take you on routes across beautiful scenery or perhaps past wonderful heritage, day time or even at night, in land or on the coast, in the country or in the town etc,  that are extrememly well organised and where you can meet others of like mind.

The Eventrac website has a host of events for you to browse whilst those muscles recover – all organised by passionate sports organisers for the experienced competitive or novice fun runner.  So why don’t you run your eyes over a great selection of events – check out our listings  -while you put your feet up after the last race.  There could be another event  just around the corner with a number waiting for your name to go on!  Support your local area and take part in friendly and welcoming local events.    Well done – now put all that pent up energy to good use and set yourself your next goal and let Eventrac take the strain out of the entry process.