You can tell it’s nearing Christmas in the Tough Gaff’s team when we muster at the tank training area in Aldershot to
eat mince pies take on the Grim Challenge. It’s been a fixture in the team calendar since 2007, making this year our sixth. Although Fiona is only person to have run them all, Sean missed 2011 as he was playing with helicopters out in Afghanistan and I think I missed 2008 with my idiotic knee.
That first year taught us a lot about the importance of race preparation and clothing, like never wear cotton and make sure your warm and dry clothing is as close by as possible and get in to it post-haste, post race. It was also our gateway race that has led to us entering other events, so it holds a special place in our collective hearts.
The first year was also quite cold, since then each race has been pretty mild with no ice involved. This year the recent weather made it perfect Grim conditions. The Noah-esque deluge meant that there were lots of puddles and deep ones at that and the cold snap meant they were mainly filled with ice. I don’t think we’ve ran the course with so much frozen water, running through the water was pretty bad, as it was so cold, but coming out was a little treacherous under foot.
Last year the organisers threw in a couple more interesting pieces of terrain, some train tracks and logs to run across and a set of moguls. Definitely think there were a lot more moguls this year, and boy did they sap the legs. Not that many people actually tackled them, there was a fair bit of skirting of puddles going on too, but each to their own. In a breaking with team tradition, we ran all the ups and downs today. Sean did insist on slapping wrists after each up was run but I suspect we may have set a precedent that will be enforced in future events
A fairly uneventful race, apart from the time, coming in at just over 1 hour 48, we knocked off nearly 20 minutes from the last time we ran it together in 2010, which means almost 30 minutes faster than 2009, unfortunately the Grim website is down but I am pretty sure were much, much slower in the first two years. (Update, the website is back and reveals that we did it 2 hrs 4mins in 2007 and Sean & Fiona did it i 1 hr 51 n 2008 so still the fastest team time yet.)
Well organised as usual, awesome atmosphere, great-shirt, goody bag was a little dodgy but it’s a reasonably priced race and you can’t have everything. No doubt we’ll be back in 2013 and we’re planning on being back for the Night Terror next month