student life

Preparing for blood, sweat, tears and challenges

Have you ever had one of those moments of inspiration, a moment when you feel you could do anything?

Have you ever had one of those moments of inspiration, a moment when you feel you could do anything? Be it run a marathon, climb a mountain, jump out of a plane or in my case tackle forty Royal Marine style obstacles set within a gruelling 10k run?

There I was, feeling on top of the world having just completed my first 5k run when my super-athletic companion suggested enrolling in Born Survivor at Lowther Castle.

Sure, why not? As the endorphins from my 5k success wore off I searched the internet for an idea of what I was getting myself into. Good feelings evaporated and these four words deafened my conscious-what have you done? Here’s what:

‘Expect the highest walls and the longest tunnels of any obstacle event – mud and more mud – river crossings – bottomless bogs – the killer K, that’s 10 obstacles in 1Km, monkey bars, scramble nets, the bomb hole oh and did we mention the 1000ft of hills to climb!!! Challenging. Ultimate. Awesome!’

In between countless push-ups, interval running and playing on the monkey bars with my children in the park I got chatting to Kevin and Matt, some of the super-humans involved in creating and managing the event to find out just what I had gotten myself into:

Born Survivor, a brand new project?

I’m (Matt) a marketing consultant for Born Survivor. It’s a great position to be in, working on a brand new project that’s as exciting as this; something not many marketeers get to experience, being involved from the word go! With regard to what possessed the organisers to putting on the event. Well aside from having years of experience serving in the military, they thought it was about time someone stepped up to the plate and delivered an event that was head and shoulders above the rest; something that would offer the obstacle racing community something familiar, but delivered differently and Born Survivor is going to do exactly that.

I’m expecting to laugh, cry and die, repeatedly throughout the event. Will I get to see myself and my team’s journey?

We’ve got a number of photographers working the course, as well as a film crew and it will be my job to make sure they’re capturing the very best of the day. Everyone who takes part will get a free photo on Facebook at the end of it and they may also get to see themselves in the awesome film we’ll be producing after the event.

The prospect of a 10k is enough to make some folk weak at the knees- adding in 40 obstacles. Why would anybody put themselves through that?

Born Survivor is about challenging and pushing yourself to your own personal limit. Everyone will be able to tackle the course in their own way, and in line with their own ability, but everyone who crosses the line will do so with a mud splattered smile on their face! They’ll also have that post event glow you only get from achieving something out of the ordinary and we’re going to make sure that glow lasts for weeks afterwards! Every ‘Survivor’ will also get a range of goodies, including a t-shirt, headover and the legendary Born Survivor dog tags, which are set to become the must have item on the obstacle racing scene.

How about people who are not used to hurling themselves over 10ft walls? This course is only for elite athletes right?!

No, not at all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to be a walk in the park though! For first timers, especially as part of a team, the course presents challenging obstacles that have fun element if taken at your own pace. The hardened vets will appreciate the hardcore authentic barriers and the intense nature of the course that they won’t have experienced before unless they’re ex-military.

Which obstacle, out of the fearful forty makes you break out in a sweat?

They all do!!! Expect the authentic military barriers seen on TV and films, 10 feet free-standing walls, tunnels through water, mud and one complex that’s 50ft long!  There’s a huge monkey bar complex over water, overhanging walls, 15 feet high scramble nets in woodland and river crossings with full submersion under barrels. We also include plenty of mud filled obstacles such as our trench complex ‘The Somme’, ‘ The Lair’ and the ‘Bomb Hole.’

What’s your favourite obstacle?

It’s got to be the ‘Killer K’. It’s not just one obstacle, it’s 10 sapping and consecutive barriers designed to test you to the limit. With individual barrier names like ‘Greased Lightening’, ‘Shin Splitter’, ‘The Mincer’ and ‘Tyred’, all packed into a 1000m stretch, you know it’s going to be tough. The best bit is, it’s on an incredibly steep hill too! Of course, there is one obstacle that’s going to be kept top secret until the day. Even I don’t know what it is yet!!

I’ve only ever ran 5k, what’s the best way to get in shape?

Our advice is to achieve a good level of basic fitness through a structured training programme that includes jogging, running, cross training and swimming. A fair amount of upper body strength training is also advisable. We would recommend that people join a military fitness or boot camp class – the specific training they offer is perfect preparation for Born Survivor. On our website we have details of a number of partner gyms, personal trainers and boot camps that are training especially for Born Survivor – and bringing teams.

Camping is available on Friday and Saturday. It’s not all hard work after all is it?

Above and beyond the course, Lowther Castle will be transformed into the Born Survivor event village, where festival inspired fun and games will last all weekend and feature a wide range of awesome event extras, including: On-site camping facilities from Friday to Sunday, post-event live music from The Seals, licensed bars and quality catering facilities for pre and post race refuelling. Individual competitors and teams will set off in waves of military precision and be cheered on by a packed crowd of enthusiastic, mud splattered spectators!

Are challenges like this just for those wannabe athletes who are addicted to exercising? No doubt some of the aforementioned will be there, however, why not prove to yourself that you are stronger than anything you ever thought you could be? Forget the study, start training.

Once I’ve finished dying (if I make it to the end) I am promised that I will never have felt more alive (or glad to be alive) Keep checking Kettlemag for my post-Born Survivor report.

Born Survivor, Lowther Castle, 21st September 2013, can you handle it?

Let us know if you’ll be participating and any advice for Born Survivor in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.