The British Royal Major Series: No Mud, No Glory!

So it looks like 2016 is quickly shaping up to be my best year as a fitness blogger!

Girls carrying logs in woods

*Warning: this next paragraph may sound a bit braggy…

For the first time in my life I have medals for my achievements, yeah I know they hand those out to everyone who took part but I’ve never won a MEDAL before – prior to this I only had a rosette that my childhood guinea pig had won for having the shiniest coat at a school pet show.

Along with my medals, I’ve also run a 10k race, signed up for a half marathon and regularly attend a warrior fitness bootcamp that probably would have scared the be-jesus out of me a few years ago! So when I was given the opportunity to attend the Royal British Legion Major Series’ event in Leeds I signed up without any hesitation, excited to tick a new challenge off my list!

* Bragging is complete

If you’ve kept up to date with my fitness escapades, then you may remember my British Military fitness post a few months ago, which involved myself and fellow fitness blogger Emilie putting ourselves through our paces at the BritFit bootcamp at Heaton Park – you can read my post here and Em’s post here.

The Major Series is run by the same company, British Military Fitness, which describe their fitness programmes as ‘Serious fun for everyone’. All of the instructors are ex-military and they integrate the same passion and hard work into their routines as you would expect in the forces, just a lot less physically hardcore. The Major Series is described as the UK’s most inclusive obstacle course with 5km and 10km courses, and over 30 obstacles including mud crawls, cargo nets and vanishing bridges, as well as many others.

I managed to rope Emilie to do the event with me, which fyi I’m soooo pleased I did, I actually wouldn’t have survived without her so if you’re planning to do the event DO NOT GO IT ALONE. We opted to do the 10k distance and figured it would probably take us about 2 hours to complete due to all the obstacles.

Race day

Girls face with plaits

Look how clean I was!

We set off to Leeds on Sunday morning at about 9am, it was a perfect day for it; we had our gym kits on, emergency bananas in the car, the sun was shining and…the boot was open. Oops I left the boot open for about 5 minutes of the drive….

When we got to Bramham park the atmosphere was amazing, everyone looked really excited, and very clean. I was pleased to see a variety of people, not just teams of young rowdy lads. It was also really easy to find, there were loads of signs for the event and the car park was free.

We joined the group warm up, screaming NO MUD NO GLORY as loud as we could at the instructor (who looked like RYAN GOSLING by the way…no wonder they call it BritMilFit! #DadJoke) and then set off in our wave!

course map military fitness

After running through the fields, we came to our first zone. The entire 10k course was divided into different zones including marine, air, land, basic training and extraction. The whole course was situated in the woods of the park, so you couldn’t see any of the obstacles from the outside. This made is seem more like a authentic army drill and was more exciting because you didn’t know what was coming next.

Marine Zone

Marine was first up and we had a sneaky feeling that meant cold and muddy water! As we waded into a stream that went up to our waists, we grimaced and thought at least it won’t get any worse – oh boy, we couldn’t have been more wrong.

Girl in water and mud

Hahaa I know, I actually look like such a wimp, but it was because my contact lense moved in my eye when I went underwater and I was trying to keep it closed so it didn’t fall out. Also because it was cold and horrible and muddy!

For a 10k course, it felt like at least half of it took place in the mud and water. In a way I’m pleased most of the water/mud was in one go, but that still equated to wading in freezing cold water and mud for about an hour and a half.

Next up was the Stench Trenches, which were easily the most challenging part of the whole day. I can’t find a picture of us going through it so here’s some random people to show you just what I’m talking about (I scribbled out their faces just incase they didn’t want to be featured.)

Women diving through mud in woods

The type of mud they used in the Stench Trenches was more like quicksand and that made it really difficult to move at all, let alone quickly. If you stopped moving your shoe got stuck, then your legs, then your whole body, which actually made it quite scary – although there were troops waiting around the outside to help you get out.

Pulling your whole bodyweight out of the mud was like leg day times a million, don’t get me wrong I love leg day but that was bloody hard work! At one point I fell onto my front and got a bit stuck that way, so a nice army man had to swoop in and haul me out before I drowned in the mud – boobs first.

Land and Air Zone

Girls carrying logs in woods

The real obstacles started once we were in the air and land zones.

We tackled the burning building, which is a little house ON FIRE that you have to crawl through the window of and jump down from. Then we tackled the postman’s walk, which essentially was balancing on a rope but it wasn’t above water so it was all good. Em and I also shot up Kav’s Climber (not a euphemism) a giant net that you have to climb up and over, and aced the balancing beams and hurdles like we were wild horses running towards the finish line.

However, disaster struck as Emilie and I suddenly became really hungry, and we all know that being hungry but not having food quickly escalates to being full on HANGRY. There is nothing more dangerous than hangry fitness bloggers….luckily a lovely woman gave us a cereal bar and we had a few jelly babies to tide us through to the end.

To finish we flew down a massive slide, which was filled with more cold mud at the bottom hahahahaa thanks military fitness, didn’t expect that! The last obstacle was a giant wooden structure that you climbed over with a rope. Then Emilie and I held hands as we ran through the finish line after 2.50 minutes of doing the course!

We were given a medal and a tshirt for finishing, as well as a voucher to attend a free BMF bootcamp class and a goody bag containing a sachet of porridge from MOMA which was so good (I had it for breakfast the next day.)

The verdict

All in all, the Royal British Legion Major Series’ event was really fun and I’m so pleased I had the opportunity to experience it!

Girls face covered in mud

However, I have never ever been as muddy in my entire life and I wasn’t quite prepared for how long it would take us. My legs also ended up so bruised and cut that I look like I’ve been in a fight, although that could be because I crawled quite a lot of the way up a hill…

Bruised legs

If I could do anything differently I would:

  • Go in a team so there were more hands to pull me out of the stench trench
  • Prepare myself for a lot more water and mud than I thought (there was a girl with armbands and swimming goggles who had the right idea!)
  • Wear brightly coloured shorts and a vest top (so I’d dry more quickly and was easy to spot on the photos)
  • Be more aware of the cameras, some people got amazing photos!
  • Pack an energy bar for half way through (or go for the 5k distance)
  • Bring something to shield me when trying to get changed after
  • Take a cosy onesie with me for the journey home
  • Attend a British Military Fitness training session beforehand so you know what you’re getting yourself in for (plus they’re really fun!)

f you’ve done this event I’d love to hear about your experiences! NO MUD NO GLORY!