On Sunday, when it was snowing and the majority of folks were eating chocolate eggs for breakfast, we journeyed to MacTuff, so Niamh could run in her second of nine events for the year.
Situated at Knockhill, which seems to have its own weather centre, we arrived expecting it to be a bit cold. And boy was it cold. About 2 degrees and windy we got out the car and were hit by driving, icy rain.
Niamh was running in the sprint with Hayden and her friend Cridhe and by the time they lined up to run it was like winter had descended, taking the theory of ‘always start cold’ to new levels. This was the first time MacTuff had done a competitive sprint wave, open for all 8-15s, they kicked off before the family waves at 10am. Under a blaze of smoke and fireworks they were off and we dashed around trying to spot them at various points on the course.
Now, our girls are hardy wee things but the cold got them bad. They cold and the mud. They were running the same course we did at The Gathering two weeks ago and part of the same course from MacTuff back in January. It was muddy. And by muddy I mean, all three kids lost their shoes and Niamh sunk up to her chest at one point.
But they did it. The three of them stuck together and waited on each other and helped each other and they finished it. They were cold and muddy and shivery but victorious. Although they opted not to run again in the family wave at 11am!
Thankfully by the time we started the rain had eased somewhat and the temperature had kicked up a little and it was no longer freezing. Erin and I nipped round together and I can honestly say she totally shocked me.
She’s not my competitive one. She’s a bit quirky and a bit sort of in the clouds and it’s always Niamh who is the one I think of when I talk about running. But Erin just nailed it. She didn’t flake out of any obstacle, she climbed the high walls, and she kept up with the pace I was going at. It was incredible and I’m really pleased I managed to run with her. We had an absolute blast. We got stuck in the mud, we lost a shoe, we climbed over A Frames and we swung over monkey bars and it was incredible. We did some of the big obstacles – Weaver, Higland Reel, Nevis, Nessie, Tyre Walls and that water crossing. It was completely relentless – 27 obstacles over 3km! And it was amazing.
We crossed the line and collected our medals and I really just wanted to do it again.
As we watched the rest of our team finish it seemed that our mood was spread across us all, none of the adults had done anything like this before and they came across the line declaring it was the most fun they had ever had.
And it was. MacTuff are amazing. They set out brutal courses, the weather is ALWAYS freezing and there’s nothing glamorous about their races. But they’re one of the best I’ve come across. They’re hard, but not impossible. They make you work for your medal but then why would you want it to be easy?
And they also manage to somehow create an event that is equally as hard for us adults as it is easy for four year olds. How? It’s genius. And it leaves absolutely no doubt that they are leading the way in family OCR events in Scotland. There’s no one doing it better, or bringing more people together than these guys.
We came away tired (Jess fell asleep on a hay bail), wet (still trying to dry the clothes) and cold (thank god for heated car seats), but absolutely riding the OCR high that each event delivers. And the medals rock too!
The only negative thing is that the next event isn’t until July…but at least it *might* be warmer then.
Well done MacTuff Kids, you did it again. Not that there was ever any doubt.