Total Warrior: Clare Smith’s epic battle

Clare Smith battles through the course. Picture: Scott Taylor
Clare Smith battles through the course. Picture: Scott Taylor
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Clare Smith ventured where other 40-somethings fear to head – the Total Warrior endurance race in North Berwick where the obstacles include fire, ice and mud. But how did she manage on the big day?

Two hours and four minutes. Mud baths, grassy hills, climbing walls, water slides, leaping over fire. Bumps, bashes and screams – the thrills and spills that collectively make you a Total Warrior.

We bounced down to start – even entry to the starter pen is an obstacle, on your knees through hay bales. Music pumping (500 Miles), nerves jangling.

There’s an atmosphere of camaraderie: a team dressed as the 118 ad, another wearing matching tutus. They must be superfit to have the confidence to complete 12k and 31 obstacles in fancy dress.

And we’re off. Big hill run and then a section of mud up to our knees. Not so bad. Faces clean, trainers intact. Then it really begins. Muddy water up to our chests, climbing walls caked in mud for an extra challenge, a crawl through a pipe tunnel. What was I thinking when I said “how hard can it be?” all those weeks ago?

Answer, REALLY hard.

The mud and water didn’t faze me, although the unwelcome additional weight didn’t help. Electric shocks? I was so caked in gloop I barely felt them. The hardest part, other than running up a lot of hills (and wishing I’d lost weight, trained more) was the climbing obstacles where upper body strength was required. Of which I have none. Luckily though, Kieron from Race Fitness and his pals had more than enough so spare, so whilst it wasn’t my most dignified moment, I got hauled, pulled and boosted over the hard stuff. Thighs aching, lungs burning.

Log carrying, fire jumping and up the last hill onto the final hurdle – a wall with a hanging rope to haul you over. I’m exhausted. No amount of pushing, pulling, encouraging shouts get me over the top. But still, I tried.

And then that was it. The hardest beer I ever earned. Mud-caked hair, bruised and battered. But elated. Four months ago I genuinely wouldn’t have thought it were possible. So it just goes to show what some expert training, great friends and a bit of grit and determination can achieve. Next year? Erm . . . Maybe . . .