Brutal 10 – Women only event!
Brutal 10 is series of events based in Surrey that uses only natural obstacles such as water, mud, uneven ground, and hills on army training grounds, but the thing that caught my eye was that they welcome ‘Canicrossers’… the title of the event and before mentioned event details were somewhat overlooked in my quest to run with my dog!
So on Saturday 24th January Daisy and I hit the road at 7.30am on our solo trip to Surrey(trying my best to ignore the in-car thermometer that wouldn’t budge above 3 degrees…to run in our first Brutal 10.
We arrived at LongValley in good time, had no trouble parking with only a 2 minute walk to registration, and given the amount of people registered to this sell out, first ever women’s only event, there were no queues!
So with race bib attached Daisy and I milled around the start line chatting to fellow canicrossers waiting for the off.
The atmosphere was fantastic and reminded me somewhat of Race for Life, everyone was in great spirits, really friendly, dressed in various coloured tu-tu’s and fancy dress. It had a real ‘team’ vibe to it and as Daisy and I were flying solo we were more than welcomed to run with others. I was loving it and we hadn’t even started running!
Us Canicrossers got a 10 minute head start… so after a bit of a hair-raising fast 100m dash of 50 odd dogs tugging their faithful owners behind them jostling for position we all found our places and settled in to the first 5km lap (there was a choice to run either 5 or 10km on this ‘no men allowed’ course!). In comparison to my last two cross-country races this course was relatively flat, and the hills were all very short and some very, very steep. It took you round winding paths, through technical forest trail, over army vehicle tracks, across wide open plains, through mud, sand and sticky clay and then… the famous water sections… To say the temperature took your breath away would be an understatement, the huge blocks of ice that you had to crash through may give you an idea!!!
After losing all sensation in your legs within seconds you just had to do your best to get to the other end and out.
Daisy took the sensible option…. Avoid at all costs, stick to the sides or be carried! There were at least 3 waist deep water sections so by carrying a dog and trying not to lose your footing it would have added many unwanted minutes to your time if you were in true race mode but I was just enjoying myself too much to worry about it and coming up to the end of first lap I was really looking forward to the second!
On the first lap I ran with a lady and her Husky, that I had met at a previous event, and as she was only doing the 5km (which she won!) pn lap 2 I teamed up with some lovely ladies from the North Downs Canicross team and happily trotted around with them. On the second lap the water sections had di-iced slightly, but the down side of having nearly 800 women run through them they had been churned up and if felt like wading through treacle, yet we still managed a smile and a group photo when the camera pointed in our direction!
Half way round the second lap we caught up with the tail end of the main race which would have to be the only downside to the course as the paths were rather narrow. However, they were all lovely ladies, in great spirits, and gave us a cheer as they stepped aside and let us pass!
It really was a great and fun experience and I’m so pleased I made the effort to travel there and run. I made some new friends, we both got a wicked medal and our names were cheered out over the loud speaker as we crossed the finishing line (we actually came 7th in the 10km!)!!
It was organised superbly and they were so welcoming to Canicrossers, it wasn’t the easiest of races as the terrain and water sections were testing and it was utterly freezing but I really wouldn’t be put off by the name!
The next one is on 14th February and allows men…