Stockton River Rat Race

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Vicki McLean

A beautiful sunny morning Kerry, Denise, my husband Paul and I met on the beautiful banks of the river Tees. What better way to spend a Sunday morning than chucking yourself into the cold murky water of the Tees voluntarily! Eagerly anticipating the start or the race we began to notice various obstacles close by and to the right my nemesis the ship! I must explain early on I am not a big fan of heights or water. To try and take our minds off the forthcoming torture we commenced our pre race preparation coffee, selfies and face painting let battle commence!!!

Warm up complete it was off to the start line Helen Allen was there to wave us off (she was in a later wave), a sea of MS society orange t-shirts made it the most colourful wave. Before we knew it we were off ducking under the scaffolding and running off to the metal barriers helpful hints by fellow competitors to keep to the corners was invaluable. Not interested in time Kerry and I took a leisurely pace and Denise ran off with my husband (full permission given by me). The next obstacle was the cargo net down on the floor crawling on the grass doing alright till the third section of net was on a specially soaked section of grass! Head to toe in mud I thought I had entered the wrong race but on the plus side I couldn’t see the ship over the six foot wall! Try as I might I was unable to get more than my ankle over the wall so I sneaked around the corner. Next the inflatable obstacle course, imagine orange beetles on their backs trying their best to get on their feet again with not much luck. Pure determination and we were on the other side in good spirits and covered in mud, still no signs of any water we were running again!

Chasing Mr&Mrs Speedy we clocked out at the first water obstacle, swimming the loch! Cold wet life vest on and here we go lowered gently into the water it was freezing and with a combination of front crawl, breast stroke and doggy paddle I was across with my fellow team mates shouting encouragement. Determined to continue we climbed through the architecture of the bridge and were running once more soaking wet this time. I’m the King of the Swingers not I’m more like Baloo the monkey bars defeated me with maximum effort applied and the run continued. Then came the hills, slippy and steep very tempted to slide down on my bottom but managed to stay on my feet. Saving lives, super nurses to the rescue helping a lady at the top of hill number two.

A big, big thank you to the workman painting the bridge this meant no climbing up just running across. Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink Kerry and I were so thirsty and the water station was miles away and so the run continued to the RAPIDS!!! Clocked out to queue and battle our way through the current giving each other a helping hand. If anyone has seen my bruises this is where I got them advised to cross my arms in front of my body keep my legs together then let the water take me to the end. I did as I was told and I took out Denise. Out of the water we clocked back in and waited for Kerry to come out of the water and off again we go, till Kerry realised she hadn’t clocked back in (4 mins added to my time but we don’t leave our fellow team mates).

Hawaii 50……you may ask why within that 4 minutes Denise and Paul had made it to the kayaks and were already in the water. Kerry and I determined to beat them at something entered the water and we were off and it wasn’t long before we passed them and were up and out of the water before them and off again I could go on and describe every other obstacle but I could go on forever two more plunges in the Tees brought us to the final run and that ship was in sight, watching fellow competitors throw themselves off the plank I tried not to watch. As we ran over the bridge to approach the ship we had to jump in the water and swim to a cargo net before walking the plank! Kerry encouraged me to jump in knowing how scared I was it took me a while but I did it (woo hoo) it was then a race to get out to the cargo net and we hauled our backsides out of the water it was finally here! I climbed up and walked to the end but I couldn’t do it walking backwards, a gentle coaching from the marshal and I tried again but still I couldn’t do it. Kerry and Paul did it Denise and I didn’t. Feeling deflated we head for the finish line through all the people out for a Sunday morning walk, move or get wet was shouted at those people ignoring the oncoming runners. Final coaching from Rob Lister and we climbed the rope slope and off the other side over the line to our saviour cola and a curly wurly!

Kerry and I said that day we were not doing it next year, despite the bruises we had a ball! Watch out ship I’m coming to get you next year, yes we have already signed up!

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