The challenge is not for the faint-hearted. It is an ultimate test of physical and mental ability, and only those with strong willpower and readiness to push them to the brink emerge victorious.
The 20-mile run through the toughest grassy tracks, woodlands, marshy lands, rough terrains and ploughed fields is enough to drain the competitors. But it is just the beginning of a huge challenge. Even the fittest and bravest will feel the pinch when they tackle 200 difficult obstacles en route to conquering the world's largest assault course during the Rat Race Dirty Weekend at Burghley in the United Kingdom.
Emily Glanville, however, didn't show any signs of nervousness when she took to the field in May. She crossed the world's longest monkey bars with élan, scaled the tricky hay bales, crawled through thick mud and ran over a narrow beam with out losing balance. She set off at 9 am, and by 3 pm, she found herself at the finish lane with a broad smile, holding a medal and a packet of sweets.
Back in Muscat, the 25-year-old, who works with Inspirational Development Group in the capital, says she is extremely proud of her achievement. "The success reinforces my belief that I have to push myself to achieve success in life," she tells Hi Weekly. The soft skills trainer also touches upon her passion for challenges, reasons for competing in the Dirty Race, her preparations for the toughest race and her future plans in a freewheeling chat. Excerpts:
What is Rat Race Dirty Weekend?
The rat race is a famous Obstacle Race in the World where one has to tackle 200 obstacles in a 20-mile course. There are natural obstacles as well as man-made ones, which is a real test of endurance. Participants have to conquer the world's longest monkey bars, hay bales, waterslides, slippery walls and crossovers, try trampolines and mud crawls, carry sand bags, run on a narrow beam bridge, climb random wall, swim across pools, jump across trenches to emerge victorious. The 200 obstacles are placed in over 20 zones, and each zone contains between 1 to 20 obstacles, all varying shapes and sizes. The terrain is 90 % off-road and the participants get fully wet and fully immersed in water on a number of occasions.
Did you expect such a tough challenge when you entered the race?
Yes, I knew it would be tough. The participants have two options, either to enter the Full Mucker (20 miles and 200 obstacles) or Half Mucker (13 miles and 150 obstacles) race. I chose the Full Mucker, as I was confident of my abilities.
Can you share some of the thrilling moments?
The first 13 miles were exciting. The toughest one was the walk across a narrow wooden beam above a pool of water. The beam surface was wet and slippery. I feared that I would lose balance and hit my head on the next beam while falling down to the pool. But I remained very cautious, and I heaved a huge sigh of relief when I completed the task successfully.
Climbing a 15-metre high wall made of tyres was equally challenging. I could easily climb up and flick my legs over and climb down through the other side. But I didn't look down, as I didn't want to see others following me! From mile 15 to 19 there were hardly any obstacles. By then, I covered 14 miles and tackled 170 obstacles. And I began to feel the heat. I felt pain in my knees. But I didn't care about it as I approached the last mile where 30 obstacles awaited me. It was an action-packed mile, indeed!
How did you react when you crossed the finish line?
It was an amazing feeling to finish the race in just 6 hours. I felt so proud of my achievement when the organisers handed me the medal and a bag of sweets. My friends who came to watch me in action cheered me, and it gave me a massive sense of achievement.
Why did you participate in the Rat Race?
I always love to challenge myself. I believe that all days will look similar, if I do not undertake challenges. I have to push myself to achieve success in my life. So when my friend in the United Kingdom told me about Rat Race Dirty Weekend, I decided to participate in it. I wanted to prove that I could overcome the toughest assault race. Besides, I had done similar events before, including the 10-km total warrior race.
How did you prepare for the event?
I registered for the event when I was in the United Kingdom. However, I did all my training here in Muscat. I did long distance running on Fridays, attended boot camp at Shatti Al Qurum, and did high intensity gym workouts.
How do you balance your professional life and passion for challenges?
I work with the Inspirational Development Group (IDG) in Muscat. I have been training Omani youngsters on the ways to improve soft skills and instilling work ethics in them. I train them about time management, communication skills and leadership skills. I tell them to push hard to achieve success and I have done justice to my job with my successful participation in the Rat Race.
What are the challenging races you are planning to participate?
I will definitely compete in the Rat Race Dirty Weekend next year. Besides, I am planning to compete in the Wolf Run at Leicester in November this year.
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