Most couples spend their first wedding anniversary wining and dining on a romantic break for two. Not us, we spent ours trialling and marshalling a local obstacle race! (Okay, we did go out after).
A small but perfectly formed local event, the Mintlaw Mudder race is in its second year. We were too late to get tickets (they sold out in just over 24 hours!) but still wanted to get involved and support the event. I'm forever moaning about the cost and travel that comes with entering obstacle races so with this one only 15 minutes from my front door, with an entry fee of just £20, I was keen to see it flourish!
We volunteered via Facebook, were added to a WhatsApp group and just like that we were part of the team! The marshalls were a collection of the event organisers, their friends and families, and local people who just love OCR. As total strangers we were welcomed with open arms and joined the squad on a 3-4 hour walk of the course a few weeks before race day. It was great to get an insight into how an event like this is organised and hear some of the wild ideas they had!
It really was a great course. We got to take part in the trial run the night before and loved it! Starting in Aden Park, into the pond and through "Jurassic Park" as I like to call it, then out to the Pitfour Estate, competitors waded through waist high mud before a dip in the lake. With Gordon's diving experience we were stationed at the Pitfour Plunge, me encouraging them in and Gordon waiting in the water in case anybody needed a helping hand! I made myself useful handing out Haribo and snapping pictures.
The usual cargo nets, tyres and ice baths featured but the organisers used the land and it's natural obstacles to their advantage. Climbing insanely steep hills, carrying rocks down and back up from the quarry, crawling through dirty tunnels and freezing your socks off in the cold stream, nettles nipping at your ankles. The route took us up to the observatory, where Drill Sarge Simpson awaited with sets of push ups, squats and burpees! Under the bridge and heading back towards Aden, there was another couple of miles to push through before the finale.
Finishers were piped in as they arrived, climbing up and down the inflatable before being pelted with water balloons as they tackled the slip n slide to the finish line. One of the most fun endings I've seen at an obstacle race - everyone finished with a smile on their face!
Local food and drink companies were out to support the event, with Ewan Morrice supplying the burgers, Rora Dairy whizzing up smoothies with their raspberry yoghurt and the Saplinbrae running a well classy bar for such a muddy event! Prossecco and Pimms were the star of the show, alongside Isle of Harris G&T's and local craft beers from Peterhead's up and coming Brew Toon.
The entire day was a big hit and I loved being a part of it. From start to finish, the organisers put in so much hard work into making the event the success it was - and all without profit, in their own free time! Finishers couldn't speak more highly of the event ("better than this year's Tough Mudder course") and the t-shirts went down a storm - they featured the names of each entrant around the MM logo on the back. I was delighted to be given my own as a thank you for volunteering!
If you've missed out on a space at an OCR or maybe you're injured and can't take part, I highly recommend volunteering. It was great to see the event from the other side, helping risk assess in the trial run, setting up, clearing up, and appreciating the blood, sweat and tears that go into the organisation. We met some lovely, friendly, community spirited folk who couldn't have made us feel more like part of the team. I hope to see Mintlaw Mudder back next year, even bigger and better, and I can't wait to get involved again!