This weekend saw the launch of another new mud and obstacle. Although Endurer established themselves back in March with an 8km obstacle course, their new event has a unique twist - between your team you must carry a 3.6m 20kg log around the 8km course. The Endurer Log Dash has been born...

Girls carrying log

I only became aware of this event a couple of weeks ago, when fellow obstacle course regular (Haemish) put the word out on Mudstacle's Facebook wall looking for team members. Having spent the previous three weekends at events, why would I want to break the cycle? I snapped up the chance of taking a trip up to the Peak District to lug a piece of wood around!

A few days before the event we got the team list through and realised that most people had entered as a team of four or five, which made us wonder whether we were being a little crazy thinking that we could do it with two. In a way it was great having that feeling of apprehension. We were confident we could get through an 8km obstacle course, no matter how tough, but neither of us had any idea what impact a log would have on that. Would we even get through it? I haven't had those kind of doubts about an event since the first couple that I ever did.

Endurer log dash hay bail

As we arrived on site everything seemed very well organised, which is impressive considering the Race Director was absent from the event due to an unexpected hospitalisation. The team certainly did themselves proud. They were all very friendly and helped to great a great atmosphere throughout the day.

The logs themselves weren't quite as expected. We had pictured rough bark-covered logs, but they were in fact very uniformed smooth columns of wood. Initially we thought that might make them a little harder to grip, but that was never really an issue. The most alarming thing that struck us was the start line - to say that it was on a hill would be a massive understatement - it was practically on a cliff! Okay, okay... that's a massive overstatement... but suffice to say it was a frickin' steep start!

Log Dash start line

Waves of five logs set off every couple off minutes, and we were lucky enough to get into the first wave, alongside a couple groups of three and a couple of groups of 5. With Haemish leading the way and we managed to reach the top of the hill first, but at quite an expense. The burden of the log on our shoulder took its toll in seconds and our thighs were screaming and lungs bursting.

We fed the log over the first of many fences. Of course this was an easier process for the larger teams who could send runners ahead to receive the log on the other side of the obstacle. It wasn't long before we lost our lead to a team of five and I doubted whether we would be able to keep up their pace with just the two of us.

Sliding down with log

There was absolutely no let-up with the terrain, it was as you would expect from the Peak District. There was never any flat ground, it was all either steeply up hill or down hill. The burden of the log obviously added to that challenge, not only because of the weight of it on the way up, keeping control of it on the way down was equally hard. With your pace and line partly dictated by the other person, finding flat footing and stay in control on fast descents required intense concentration and a lot of tension to stabilise. We found it worked well having the person up front setting the pace and the person at the back moving the log from side to side to steer through the tighter section.

We thought that carrying the log would be sore work on the shoulders, so fashioned some shoulder pads out of neoprene. To be honest though, a lot of the time the weight of the log had to be supported by your arms, rather than resting directly on the shoulder. This made for tiring work for the upper body... but made our make-shift shoulder pads a little unnecessary!

As well as having a lot of fences to jump over and mud to wade through, there were a few other classic obstacles, such as tunnel crawls, a freezing lake to wade through, a couple of large walls, a water slide, monkey bars and large stack of hay bails.

High Endurer wall

The largest of the walls was a great obstacle. It was slightly sloped with a couple of climbing holds far up to help the assent. It was tough but achievable solo challenge for the most nimble participants and with a little help from team members, mostly everyone could get over it.

The course was extremely well marked out and marshalled. As well as pointing you in the right direction, the marshals were always very encouraging - shouting and cheering us on. Pretty much all of them asked where the rest of our team was though!

The finish line, as always, was a great relief. It was a very tough 8km and took between 60 and 90 minutes for most teams. Although you can run a lot of races along with friends, having the log really unifies everyone, making it the perfect team event. Although I'm sure it's fun doing it with a large group it's not necessary... two is all you really need!

Make sure you stay up to date with future events by liking us on Facebook. And if you'd like to find out more about the Log Dash on Endurer Events' website.

 

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