Mud from head-to-toe
2 rolled ankles
11 bruises (& counting)
3 broken fingernails
1 lost race number
1 lot of blood
= Priceless entertainment
It’s a beautiful drive early on this Sunday morning along the Petone foreshore, over the Wainui hill and through the countryside to find the Brookfield Scout Camp, the location of the famous Brookfield Butt Busta mud race!
This is a race with a difference, or two…it has the normal 4km, 8km or 12km course options and there ‘is’ running involved. But its the mud – water – bush – dirt and obstacles that take you out of your comfort zone and into the super fun zone!
We arrive early (we always do) and manage to score a park nice and close to the start and where everyone latter would gather.
The weather is perfect for an impending race…not hot…not cold…just nicely mildly overcast.
We rock on inside to gather our race numbers from Registration which is super quick and easy. We head back to the car and because of our awesome parking position we can sit, chat and watch all the comings and goings of everyone else that is slowly arriving.
There appears to be a large School group from Scots College, which is awesome to see so many kids and parents teaming up for the event.
It’s also fun watching the array of fancy dress costumes walking past and wondering “just how are they going to run in THAT”…and “are they going to also carry that gun…sword…bone…all the way round the course with them!”
Really I’m, secretly jealous as I LOVE dress ups, but can’t comprehend the idea of making my running even harder but trying to contend with my mask falling off or a scratchy tutu or something.
I love the feeling I have right now, there’s an air of outdoors-ness, being out and alive early on a weekend morning in the elements. There’s a touch of excitement about what the race will bring, and a touch of anticipation/nervousness at also ‘what’ the race might bring. It’s a good feeling, the buzz is starting to build as the racer’s, spectators and crowds gather.
The race times have been set in waves, sending off the Junior competitors first, the School group, the Junior teams, the 12 km’s (3 loops), the 8km’s (2 loops) and then various waves of the 4km’s teams and individuals.
We have ages til our race starts, so we head over to near the end of the circuit to where the “River/Pond and the Mud Pit/Pool” are and await the first lot of eager kids to come through.
We don’t have to wait long and you hear them coming through the bush before you can see them emerge.
It was hilarious to see the looks on the faces of the ones that obviously hadn’t done it before and how they reacted to the Mud Pit. Some gingerly edged themselves down into it, some raced up and jumped full tilt and did a bomb submerging themselves completely in.
Note to self: “remember to close my mouth when I jump”.
We find some people we know that we often see at other Races from Church and have a good catch up with them. Time then for the last ‘nervous wee’ and then it’s time to line up for our own wave to start.
I’m here with my daughter, Miss 13. We’ve raced here before a few years ago, but we know some of the course details may have changed.
Bob one of the organisers prompts us with some last minute instructions and particulars of the race, reminding us that the obstacles are not compulsory, but give them all a go if you can, but you can go around them if you want.
In no time we are off and racing:
NB: I run, but I’m not a racer, so when I say racing…my race is all about ‘getting to the end’…no matter how slow I go!
● We run through the Grass Field and along a path on the flat and then I start to think to myself.
…huh…all fine so far, it’s not that hard ;-).
● Then we hit the first low key obstacle…the String Spiders Web to step through.
…Ok that was easy.
● Run round a bit further and hit our first ‘significant’ obstacle, a Wall (kinda like a fence sitting in the middle of nowhere that’s a bit taller than me).
I climb up one side of it hauling myself up cross beams to the top…oh its a bit higher up here than I thought…then a jump down to the ground.
…I anticipated ground shock…but it was OK…I remembered to bend my knees to absorb the impact.
● Run round further and then start a bit of an Uphill Climb up a wide pathway…this is the first uphill and it starts to kick in and get you really puffing…it’s also where some people start to walk which is completely OK and you no doubt will be yourself somewhere around the course.
We get to the top of this section and round some Hi-Viz vested kids (Scouts no doubt) then begin our descent down this section.
…I’m pleased to be heading down as that’s much more fun than up.
● Across the field to the Tyre Steppy through thing (you know like the army)…
In the army you see people stepping out wide through opposing legs/tyres, I find it easier to step forward into each one and fortunately don’t trip myself up.
…success I’m through…again I start to think…this isn’t too bad…I’m not even muddy yet!
● These were famous last words as we head through into some bush and then straight into the first Muddy Ditch…thick, sticky plastered onto my feet MUD! But the adrenalin’s pumping and through I go, it’s narrow and I dodge branches and foliage.
● All of a sudden I’m clean again as we encounter the Stream, it washes off the worst of the mud as I wade, run through this section.
It varies in depth from ankle deep to knee deep.
…it’s colder than I was expecting, and this is where I think maybe I did up my shoelaces too tightly as my ankles hurt a little from the cold and the harsh changes of direction they are doing running through on the loose underfoot gravel. But I also don’t want to loose my shoe in the mud!.
● Clamber through the underside of a bridge through some Drainpipes that we have to stoop under inside.
● Up the hill further into the bush and we come across a Low Suspended Log with ropes on the side to hold as I balance across it.
…not to tricky...my confidence is building.
● Up and around further and we come to a clearing where the ‘Obstacle’ Course is:
● First up is the Balance Beams about 4-5 of various heights.
…I’m a bit wobblier than expected…hmmm must work on core and balance afterwards.
● Then around to the High Wall that’s got wide ladder type slats.
You can choose to go under it, through 1/2 way up or right to the top and over the other side. It’s about 3 times my height, but we head to the top, I carefully maneuver myself gingerly over the skinny top beam and clamber down the other side…
…hmmm…that was much higher than the first wall…but there was a nice search and rescue man encouraging me over
● Then onto one of MY hardest parts of the course…the Commando Crawl under low wooden slats.
There is probably about a 40cm gap to start wiggling your body through the tunnel, the tunnel is open to the air, so no problems with feeling enclosed. But you really have to be either on your belly, commando crawling and pulling with your forearms, or on your back and pulling yourself through.
I go through on my front and squirm and wiggle and push with my knees and pull with my forearms. It’s really hard going and quite a clamber…It’s also the first time the rest of your body gets nice and muddy!
…I come out from that puffing intently, but so glad I conquered it! Woop-woop!
…I’m also glad I didn’t ‘go commando’ today and have worn underwear, as when I stand up I have to hoist up my tights quite significantly, as they seemed to get dragged way down in there somehow…
● Over to another Wall with foot and hand holds to shimmy up (actually there’s no shimmying in my race, just alot of hauling), up to a platform. Then to go down the other side you should abseil/walk with your feet down a Knotted Rope down a steep slanted wall.
This is where I made a real hash of it (O~O), I took about two steps and then simply slid down the rest of it – whoopsie.
…I did the exact same thing the last time I did it, and caused myself a hefty bruise of the soft part of my fore-arm in exactly the same place as last time.
But as the adrenalin is really pumping now, I hurts a bit, but I’m off and away again, will worry about it latter.
● Up the field to leap over the Hanging Log about waist high.
…well I don’t actually leap, I hoist my body over it trying not to injure any delicate parts.
● We finish up the obstacles and hit the start of the Hill Climb.
I would like to say I blazed through this bit in no time…but hills kill me…especially when I haven’t been putting enough of them into my training (naughty).
I push through, walking alot of the climb, which is mixed with Bush clad pathways, steps, bridges and tracks. It is gorgeous NZ native bush through here, and would be beautiful if I was enjoying it leisurely. I run if it flattens out a little when I can.
It’s also here that I notice I have picked up a bit of a hitch-hiker on my tights. I have this big ‘sod’ of grass/mud that is sitting near my knee. You would think a normal person would push that off onto the ground…but in my half crazed, adrenalin pumping endorphin’s, I laugh to myself about my hitchhiker, decide to keep him and nickname him “Wilson”…anything to occupy my mind from the hill that’s now killing me!
I stop when I need to, but don’t let myself for long. There are plenty of others out there walking and stopping when they need to, so you can feel at ease doing the same.
Its about here that some of the 8km and 12km races pass you on their second or third lap, it’s exciting to see as you encourage them along their way.
…and remind yourself that 4kms is plenty enough for me!
It’s fun watching Wonder Woman and Lara Croft run past in their awesome Super Hero costumes as well as it passes the time.
…thats about the only ‘fun’ thing about the hill!
Suddenly, I’m finding the hill impossibly long and harder than I remember. I feel like my running clothes are too heavy and that’s when my loyalty to ‘Wilson’ vanishes, I say “sorry Wilson” as I swish him off my leg and into the bushes.
…he was just weighing me down really…then I remember I’m talking to a piece of sod…I must be loosing it!
● When you think you have just about had enough and feel like you have to turn around, you see it start to clear and you pop out the top onto the Firebreak….and that’s all the uphill stuff done!
…Phew, piece of cake…hahaha – Yeah right – NOT
● I attempt to breath deep a few times, shake myself off and I’m back running as we head down a fence line and then hit the Forest Downhill this time with very high open spaced pine trees.
It gets steep quick as you encounter your first lot of down-hill mud…
You can choose to either hit it fast and slide, or take your time, as everyone is doing their own technique.
I run what I can, but I’m aware not to head arse-over-face if I can. The forest floor is a mixture of loose soil and dried fallen pine needles so can be just one giant slide if you want it to be.
We head through there for quite a bit, and as it’s steep and descends quite fast.
You come to a section where it is literally a choice of a mud slide or walking very gingerly and gripping onto the ground with your hands. I see someone if front of me career down the slope on their butt in a very-very uncomfortable way, so for this one I do the ginger walk.
● Down a bit further and you strike another section like this, but it isn’t quite so treacherous but is a choice of two Mud Slides. Not sure if these are actually a ‘feature’ or have just developed from all the runners.
I take the mud slide on the soles of my feet, crouched down with my butt touching the ground and the ride is quite a smooth one down.
…I silently pat myself on the back for making it seem quite graceful (well…in my head anyway).
● We finally pop out the base of the hill (…coming down that hill was so much faster than going up it!) into a clearing and then in through some low Bush Pathways again winding your way through them.
● Then up and over and Wire Suspended Rope across the river, where you side steep across with your feet holding the wire at shoulder height for stability.
Jump down over the other side, through some more paths and tracks.
● There was a bit more Creek water in there somewhere that was deeper this time, but I’ve lost track of what order that came in.
● Then another Scout directs us into the Pond / River, we wade in and it gets deeper and deeper until I’m up to about my waist, then a little deeper still up to my chest.
Yes it is COLD, but I don’t mind too much, as I rolled my left ankle lightly earlier in the race and then rolled my right ankle only a short time ago in the creek which hurt alot more, so the cold-cold pond is making it so I can’t feel any of that – so balances out the bad – yeah.
…I remember the pond being muddier last time?
The scout tells me to watch out for the Eel’s, but I don’t see any…I couldn’t see the bottom anyway.
You wade through the pond in a circle around an island for quite a wee way, around past the first crowd of people who are awaiting for you to emerge.
● We pop out of the Pond and when I hit the Grass and start to run again my legs feel a little odd and won’t work quite the same as they did before…I think that pond was even colder than I realised…they have gone quite numb!
But its only a very short-wobbly run til I hit the dirt mound that I leap off and into the Mud Pit / Pool submerging nearly completely under.
…woops, forgot to close my mouth! Never mind I use to eat mud as a kid.
Its a full on muddy pit/pool and is about waist deep, I wade through here trying to dodge the spray from the hose that’s firing out at my head.
Clamber…fall…clamber…fall…as I try to get up and out of the pit at the other end. I’m trying to negotiate my way out of the pit and straight under a cargo net that is sitting in a nice wet slimy clayey mud…
…Not quite as easy as it looked and my body is feeling pretty heavy now.
● I’m finally up, that’s when I notice I’ve lost my race number somewhere in there (never mind, I know I’m in the ‘lower percentile ;-)) and attempt to clamber under the Cargo net.
I’m getting caught at every clamber, my ponytail gets caught, then my feet behind me and my shoes get caught, and I’m now laying on the mud! I’m 3/4 of the way through the net and I’m nearly spent.
So I take 10 seconds and just lay there, Miss 13 who has been finished for a good 20+ mins already is spurring me on and telling me what to do…all the time while laughing at her Mom stuck in the mud!
● I finally make it out of the net, check I haven’t lost my Car Key attached to my sports bra in the mealy and stand up.
I’m wet from head to toe and have mud caked everywhere but I don’t mind at all.
Off I run on the last small stretch down and round the Trees to the very last obstacle of a clamber under a Tarpaulin-ed low frame on the grass, pop out and through the finish line.
Haha – Woop woop – Boom – Done!
Miss 13 and I are high fiving each other and laughing at the state of each other. She got round the course in a great time and is looking just a little too not-exhausted…
We head back to the car and take some photo’s of our glorious muddyness and laugh at each other. We head over to the cold outside showers to wash off the ‘worst’ of the mud from our clothes and shoes (yes it is a little warmer than the pond) and then into the Showers for a quick rinse off and some clean clothes.
We are out just in time for the prize giving (and a hot Bacon butty sandwich) which is a relaxed casual done and plugged with humour from the organisers.
By the time we head to the car to head off home my body is starting to remind me that it’s been working really hard! Over the next few days my body continues to really remind me that, as I feel all sorts of twinges and muscles I haven’t used in a while.
It’s makes me think this a drop in the bucket in comparison to what the likes of the All Blacks must feel like the next day after an intensive game.
The Brookfield Butt Busta is a fantastic event for older kids with their parents, friends to do together, workmates and workplaces to encourage their staff to team up, School groups, Sports teams as a fun training and of course individuals.
Will we be back for the next Butt Busta in June 2014? – you betcha!
I challenge you to sign up for the next one yourself, will you?
Do you think your kids would love to do it with you?
The Brookfield Butt Busta (formerly Brookfield Bog Challenge) is held by two likely characters who run Capital Multi Sports.
They hold various fun races throughout the year….check out their website here www.capitalmultisports.com
1/2 Marathon, 10km, 5km – May
● Brookfield Butt Busta – Winter
Junior 4km, 4km, 8km, 12km - June
● 5 Bridges
Full Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, 10km, 5km, Kids KM – August
● Brookfield Butt Busta – Summer
Junior 4km, 4km, 8km, 12km – November (the one we did)
● Korokoro Stream
1/2 Marathon, 10km, 4km – December
NB: I wasn’t paid for this post, I just absolutely LOVE this race!
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