Earlier this year a few crazy MEMS individuals decided to take part in a military-style obstacle challenge known as “Dirty Dash.” A 6km obstacle race with 15 obstacles strategically combined with challenging terrain to test agility, strength, and endurance.

The event has hills, it has mud, it has lakes and a few unwelcome surprises along the way. Our Account Manager, Stephanie Bareham, shares her experience:
…I remember when we agreed to take part we all pictured sun shining, warm weather, dry ground…boy, was we mistaken! A few days before the race, the heavens opened and the sun, well, it disappeared. I knew then this wasn’t going to be as easy as initially thought!

Arriving for one of the later races of the day, I was “fortunate” enough to see participants from the earlier event (covered in mud) who had finished the 12km that morning. One guy turned to face me (I’m wearing a MEMS t-shirt with bright pink trainers, all lovely and clean) and said: “Turn back now while you still can!”.

After a long, wet, muddy trek through the car park, watching cars towed out of the grounds by the local farmer’s tractor, we finally reached the registration tent, and the atmosphere was buzzing! So many people had turned out to take part, and my spirits started to lift, back to a mindset of “yeah, you can do this!”.

I can honestly say it was one of the most challenging things I’ve done in my life so far. At times, I felt I was going to keel over and just wanted to sit down in one of the many muddy fields we “ran” through and wait for someone to rescue me with a large glass of wine.

Picturing the race before the event, I thought it would be a clear mapped out course with a “track” of some description…in fact, we ran, walked, climbed and crawled through a forest, up and down hills, through numerous streams and fields, where 95% of the time the mud was so thick your shoes disappeared. I lost a shoe at one point which I wrestled out the mud with great difficulty, much to my disgust.

The obstacles were intense, muddy and slippery; I now understand why it was a team effort as some were just unachievable on your own due to the sheer size of the obstacle and the fact that exhaustion set in very quickly for most! The obstacle names were humorous: “Bitch Ditch”, “Floater” … the list goes on! One of my personal favourites was “Barbed Belly” as, by the time we reached it, it was like a muddy ice rink which meant no effort was involved. Before sliding full speed under the barbed wire on my belly, I yelled to my teammates “come on, let’s go!”.

Being one of the non-swimmers attending the event I was pleased to discover I did not have to skip one of the lake challenges as there was a nice man in a canoe on standby to help me across! I was secretly quite pleased with myself as he said that most non-swimmers had refused to even attempt it!

Two hours and twenty-five minutes later it was over – with swollen hands and frozen to the bone my light blue MEMS t-shirt and bright pink trainers were a distant memory. We each received a free beer token along with some other goodies including a foil blanket to help prevent hyperthermia! I asked my husband to go and get me a well-deserved glass of wine with the free ‘beer’ token – and don’t take no for an answer (I didn’t get to enjoy my wine due to shaking so much causing most of it to run down my arm).
Looking back now that I’ve finally warmed up, and the bruises have faded – I’m glad I took part as I feel like it was a great personal achievement and a laugh at the same time… needless to say, though – I won’t be doing that again in a hurry!!

Photo by Epic Action Imagery (www.epicactionimagery.com)

Photo by Epic Action Imagery (www.epicactionimagery.com)