I HAVE done several 10kms, and even a half marathon, and some have felt like marathons in themselves.
But it’s not the long winding, solitary roads of west Limerick or north Kerry that are imprinted in my mind – at least not for any particular good reasons.
However, Adare to Survive was unlike any other running event, because quite simply it is not merely about running. It’s about how far you can go, and pushing yourself as much mentally as physically.
On a lazy Sunday afternoon, the thoughts of running off a ledge and trying to grab a rope above a muddy pit, or trying to swing from monkey bars above the same, might seem like a dream, or a vision from a Bruce Willis style action-filled blockbuster.
They might be fanciful notions in your head about how fighting fit you’d like to be from the safe, cosy confines of the couch.
Suddenly on a damp and dreary day in Clonshire, there I was, along with my colleagues, taking a running jump for a rope out over an abyss (well, nearly). I think I managed to hang on for a few seconds before plummeting into the muddy depths. Navigating my way across the monkey bars was even less successful.
Others, with ease and agility, swung themselves across the bank in a Gisele-like fashion. They were Bruce, and I Ronan Atkinson in the Snickers advert.
And yet, on we went, undeterred; not the fastest but by no means the slowest.
In fact, no one was keeping an eye on the clock, or checking their Garmins to see how many calories they had burned or the pace they had set. There was no talk of eight-minute miles or your ‘personal best’. If they were they were completely missing the point.
Our Leader team of four – all women, I might add – were propelled forward, dragged over hedges, pushed up walls by our glutes by random strangers, who gave us a good heave, and who stopped to help us when the going got tough. And it got tough a lot, but it also made us laugh a lot. It was also about making serious exercise - over some 40 obstacles via a 7.5km military style assault - fun.
Whether it was crawling under barbed wire, wading through pits of mud, climbing bales of hay piled 20ft high, or navigating courses wired with electric shocks, it never felt like the hardship it was intended to be.
“It’s not every day you find yourself getting into a skip of iced water before crawling on a mud bank under a bed of electric wires,” said organiser Ray Nash in advance, as he tried to coax me in over the phone.
He didn’t try to sugar-coat the experience but he did offer a few motivational words by way of encouragement - “Endeavour, endure, enjoy”. And we did.
We dared and survived.