Total Warrior: Clare Smith’s endurance battle week 9

Clare Smith training for Total Warrior
Clare Smith training for Total Warrior
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Clare Smith discovers that a little bit of teamwork – and a dash of friendly rivalry – goes a long way when you are a 40-something training for the Total Warrior endurance race in North Berwick

IT has been said that I might be a little competitive. So when friends at Holyrood PR, also doing Warrior training, asked if I wanted to join them for a session my response was ‘How about my team verus your team?’ And the Warrior challenge was born. Inverleith Park hosted the PR v Marketing battle. Kieron Ross, my trainer from Race Fitness, set the eight challenges. And refereed.

First up – a straightforward running race. PR lead 1-nil. Then a Leg Raise challenge – basically how long can you lie with your legs off the ground, working your tummy muscles. 1-1. The third challenge was a relay race. But with a medicine ball baton. Ooft.

2-1 to Marketing. Fourth, a race three times up and down the hill next to the duck pond. Even the ducks thought we were mad and they’re quackers (sorry). 2-2.

Up next was The Wall. Kieron explains to panting wannabe warriors: “Whilst running is a large part of Warrior, with six weeks to go its important we start to incorporate some obstacles similar to those you’ll face in September.” My heart is racing and starts to sink. “So with that in mind, we’re going to do . . .
The Wall.” Nervous laughing and exchanging of looks follow. Particularly between Gwen and me, the weakest links in today’s session.

We scramble over the low part of the wall into the Raeburn Place rugby ground.

Kieron demonstrates the technique – essentially run at the wall, bounce and pull yourself up. As if. Luckily, he also demonstrates how to get your team mate over, giving them a linked hand platform to boost off from. Ok, game on. My colleague Neil draws the short straw as he’s my “booster’” I’m projected up and pulled from the other side, successfully scaling my first wall. With some bruises and scuffs, we win. Its 3-2.

Then a plank-off challenge. We win. It’s 4-2. An ideal time to bring this to a halt, but there were two more to go.

On the run to the next challenge, I ask Scott Douglas, co-founder of Holyrood PR, why his team chose to do Warrior.

“We wanted to get fit. Corporate gym memberships were an option but not cheap. Someone suggested Total Warrior and I thought why not? It’s different, it breeds great camaraderie and the training is varied. We’ve had some great sessions with Darren Danagher of Studio EH1 – no two are the same. That’s really appealing.”

Challenge seven was a Monkey Run. Kieron explains that in Warrior you have to crawl under barbed wire, through mud. I’m listening but in denial. And so we are on hands and feet to race each other to the goalposts and back. It’s hard. Clearly this exercise was last undertaken aged six. I may have cheated a little after face planting twice so I let the team down badly and we’re disqualified. It’s 4-3.

Finally, a timed race. A 200m dash to the balance beams, along the balance beams, run to some posts, weave in and out. Under a climbing frame and a sprint back to base. We go second. Time to beat was 1 minute 27 seconds. I’m clearly the slowest, my team run with me, encouraging me. I’m digging deep, and want to make up for the disqualification before so I run my little socks off. But not fast enough. 1 minute 40. Gutted. It’s a draw. 4-4.

Through the warm-down, Kieron sums up: “You already know the importance of teamwork in your day job, and this is the same. Some of you will have strengths in different areas and you need to draw on everyone’s best bits to successfully complete Warrior.”

For me, training in teams has revolutionised my approach to exercise. I try harder because others are relying on me. It’s more fun – someone’s always got a wisecrack, but most of all it appeals to my need to win. Or die trying.

When I report back to David Gaffney, event director for Total Warrior Edinburgh, he agrees with Scott’s motivation to do Warrior. “The one motivating factor that everyone has in common is very simple: to have serious fun. It sounds obvious, but how often as an adult do you have an excuse to get covered in mud, climb up things, and go on huge outdoor water-slides? It’s like being a kid again and who doesn’t want to do that now and again?” Precisely.

Fancy it? 12/13 September,

• Total Warrior is teaming up with specialist running retailer Run4It and Salomon to put on an exclusive training event with demo off-road shoes for 40 would-be Warriors on Tuesday, 11 August. Kieron Ross from Race Fitness will be leading the session which starts at the Run4It store on Lothian Road at 6pm before heading to Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat. For more information or to book a place, email