19th May 2015
I was very much looking forward to my second Toughest event; the first in Malmö was great fun and had some really cool obstacles. This one in Umeå was also set to deliver – there was going to be a load more obstacles I hadn’t seen before as well as the sand and cold sea being replaced by forest and muddy swamps.
Arriving early enough the day before to have a look around I decided to scout out the new obstacles which included the cliff-hanger, peg board, giant rope swing, super combo (swinging pendulum into rings) and a new setup on the rig. With these, in addition to everything we faced in Malmo, this was definitely going to be an intense 8km.
Based on what I saw I made a few decisions on where I would choose the harder and faster lane at some of the obstacles. I decided the hard lane for the rig would be no problem but to complete the cliff-hanger you had to jump out over water in order to get onto it and swing yourself to jump off sideways once you had traversed along it. Considering if your foot touched the water you would be penalised I decided the climbing wall option was by far the safer (but slower) bet. I also still hadn’t had the opportunity to try the flying monkey so would also take the normal monkey bars and subsequent crawl.
After a lengthy briefing on the course and rules (in Swedish) I got myself ready for the start. As we got going I worked my way to the front and was leading by the second obstacle. The guy close behind me in second seemed fast and was intent on sticking with me as I tried to peel away on the running sections. He was making most ground through the obstacles but by his breathing seemed to be working quite hard to do so. By the Bulgarian bag carry I had a 10m lead but forfeited this by picking up my bag and running in the wrong direction, quickly realising I doubled back and was once again neck and neck.
The following running section saw me peel away again and from here I took each obstacle as it came building on my lead until the finish, finally crossing the line over two minutes clear.
It was a great race and I particularly enjoyed the rope swing; this was so big it was like nothing I have ever seen before! The super combo was also amazing – you had to jump out over water grabbing onto a metal pendulum which swung down to some rings you had to transfer onto before the arm swung back again.
It was a successful trip to Umeå and I am now half way through the required amount of events to have enough points to take part in the Toughest final in October. I will be one step closer next weekend after Toughest Stockholm…let’s see if I can remain at the top of the points leader board!