This weekend past I was extremely pleased and grateful to have finished a True Grit event in Western Australia. It was an amazing experience and as it was my first obstacle event/challenge, I was unsure of what to expect.
The temperature was very low on the day, we got to the event at 08:00 and were absolutely freezing, but the buzz of adrenaline and excitement was already thick in the air. The sky was clear to start, but as soon as registration was over, the heavens opened and it poured for about 15 minutes. Being the second day of the event, the area was a massive mudfest, but the planning, DJ and everything else was up-beat and well set out.
Lively conversation, stretching athletes and nervous but excited expressions could be heard and seen all around.
The course was intense, the water was -18 and there was a lot of mud, but at the same time, it was very exciting – this was why we had come, right? With three other team members, I started off and we were soon warm as the obstacles were set out far enough not to leave you with too long stretches of running but enough to get you functioning again after freezing dips in mud and water.
There were loads of water obstacles that required you to cowboy up and dive in, sometimes pulling yourself under a wire mesh and sometimes crawling through water under barbed wire. There were a lot of cargo net obstacles which were relatively easy, but also a few difficult ones that required teamwork.
This is the subject that I have come to realize is most important in such events – teamwork. Without your team, it is almost impossible to make it round. Not only for the occasional helping hand, but also for encouragement and a sense of completing something together.
Some contestants made a run for it to beat the time and they were incredibly impressive, but at the same time I also feel that they might have missed out on a couple of the most essential parts of the event – enjoying yourself and teamwork. They might have gotten an untrodden course and smashed the time, but these were also the guys who just ran on ahead. While completing several obstacles we had many guys who were assisting several people as they came through, not just rushing ahead; I have no doubt that they would have come in with the first wave had they not stayed to help – but they are the ones honouring the true spirit of the event. These guys were the real contestants in my eyes, helping hands and actually being a part of the event.
The water stops along the way were much appreciated as well as the watchful presence of medics.
I was not fit going into this event, I had the flu as well, but it was a fantastic experience, I pushed myself and was surprised how well my body actually coped, especially with the 10-12 km distance of mostly running. There was a killer hill right at the end and three sets of carrying objects, first a sandbag, then plastic containers and then ammunition boxes that really tested your body, but it is up to you how much of the challenge you will embrace, and I for one pushed myself to the limit and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Walking though the finishing post was one of the best moments, my legs were a bit shaky and I was feeling a bit dizzy, but on the whole – my team and I made it and we felt awesome. We proudly gathered our T-shirts and headed back to our car – mission accomplished.
To anyone thinking of doing True Grit – totally go for it, you won’t regret it!