Perhaps you'll understand at the finish line
Extreme obstacle race. A muddy and crazy playground for adults. A discipline that wins the hearts of professional athletes and mothers on maternity leave. Why? Why willingly push yourself to physical exhaustion, which sometimes breaks the psyche? And does the extreme have limits?
It looks like a line of pigs waiting to be slaughtered. Actually, how close is that to reality? We'll be dirty and maybe even quite smelly just a few meters away, and certainly, not everyone will achieve a sense of victory. Although everyone wants it now. Getting to the finish, overcoming most of the obstacles, outdoing yourself or actually running for the gold medal.
Vermont's Death Race was the first to come up with the idea of extreme obstacle racing. It has a slightly different concept than current races and is much more difficult. However, the original name You May Die was exaggerating just a little bit. America liked it though and its growing popularity was noticed by Joe De Sena, founder of the world-famous Spartan Race. It was born in 2010 and, thanks to its simpler concept, has attracted a much larger and broader field of racers and conquered some 30 countries around the world. Including the Czech Republic. Apart from it, there are other similar types – Predator Race, Army Run, Heroes Race or Gladiator Race.
Right, left, one after the other. It looks so easy. The muscles in your arms are tensing up, the grip of the hand is getting a good workout. Yet the overall movement of the body is so harmonious and graceful. Smooth and very concentrated from the first point to the last. Then I go to Monkey Business. And that's a different picture. It's a big handle construction with rings, the kind you used to swing on in elementary school gym class. I fall off at the first one.
Two kilos of mud and let's fight. The start list says 560 names. 560 people have nothing to do on a Saturday morning? I ask myself as I frantically try to shove my foot back into my shoe. Into the shoe, I was fishing about 10 minutes ago in a 20 metre long and half a metre deep trough of mud. I don't know the exact laws of mud, but this in Holice acts like concrete. You stop and you're in trouble. It's better to lie down on the mud, create more surface area and spread the weight. Sounds logical. It's just a shame that the racer with number 157 didn't arrive a few minutes later and advise me in time that it's more efficient than a walk. Okay, right shoe off, I took the left one off as a precaution and waded in my socks. I'm supposed to run barefoot now? The mud has gotten into the pull-down slider as well, and I can't move it to either side. A soaked sock doesn't help either. I guess my limits end at shoes without normal laces.
Really a race? Scary at first glance, actually cool at second. It's the Big Wall type of obstacles that an untrained individual can't conquer alone, but luckily there are rivals. Yes, rivals. When you aren't running in an elite group, the other racers will usually help you, often even offering to help before you even ask them to. Or was it just my desperate looks? We're all in it together, I guess, which makes for that friendly and you could say non-competitive atmosphere.
With a Birell in your hand, with a smile on your face and with pride that you didn't give up on that crazy hill and somewhere deep inside you found that motivation. We reached the finish line an hour later than the overall winner. Probably more exhausted, dirtier and with more bruises. But does that make us any less of a hero?