Mortality and Wadi Adventure Race 3

I’ve just spent several hours piecing together a short video of the race i participated in on the weekend. The hardest part… picking an appropriate sound track.  In the end I think the choice was appropriate but feel free to judge me.  Having spent all that time on the movie I really don’t feel like writing so this post may be short poorly written.

I’ve been sick for the last two weeks.  The fever, stuffed nose and sore throat were so bad that I missed work on Tuesday the 16th. I spent the day in bed.  Sometime in the afternoon while reading the bed started shaking and I thought – “stinkin kids.”  Then I said “hey! you kids better not be shaking my bed.”  I looked around the edge of the bed but no kids.  Then I thought, boy I hope whatever i got doesn’t now include vertigo.  A few moments later the bed was shaking again.  Oh crap!  What kind of illness is this?  Then Lisa informed me from downstairs that we just had an earthquake.  She didn’t feel a thing and only knew because she happened to be sitting in front of a portal to the interwebs.  Crazy.  Apparently the epicentre was in Iran someplace.

The earthquake has had me thinking about disaster preparedness.  I think it is time we stalked up on a few canned goods and some bottled water.  I’m sure the university would do their best to take care of us in the event of a disaster but really I’d rather be prepared to help rather than be helped.  So now just to find the space for a dozen extra water bottles.

Last week a tooth on the upper left of my mouth began aching especially while running and under pressure.  The pressure being from diving deeper than 8-10 feet of water.  A cavity I was sure.  By Tuesday the 23rd the tooth was aching all the time.  I was hoping it would just go away but it doesn’t generally work like that does it.  Off to the dentist I went.  By the time I got there I was in full fever mode.  35 degrees Celsius outside and I was freezing while wearing a sweater.  The dentist prodded around for a while and then took an X-ray.   The verdict… I had a sinus infection that was presenting as tooth pain.  Awesome.  He prescribed some antibiotics and sent me home.

I took my antibiotics regularly as I had a race on the coming Saturday I’ve been looking IMG_0629forward to for months. I kept training too.  I ran a 5k on Wednesday night in 20min and 19sec.  I felt strong despite the teeth and the sinus headache.  We made an adventure out of the race held at Wadi Adventure in Al Ain.  Al Ain is just under two hours from here.  We drove down after church on Friday and stayed at a hotel.  The kids loved the hotel – most especially the giant bathtub and the opportunity to beat their dad up in a pillow fight.

The race.  Called W.A.R 3, the race is 10 kilometres long with over 20 obstacles involved.  W.A.R 3 by the way stands for Wadi Adventure Race 3 (being the third time they’ve held it).  Wadi Adventure is a massive outdoor surf park in Al Ain.  I’m going to have to take Lisa down for some surf lessons at some point.  The race began in the desert in one giant mass start with all 160 participants.  They lined us up like an ancient army ready to charge the lines of the foe.  I half expected the leader to drive up in  4 wheeler and give the Braveheart speech before the charge began.

Hurdling-AndyI expected to contend with plus 40 degree weather but we were met with temperatures in the low 20s and rain.  Rain!  The weather was practically perfect.  We charged through the desert in a 3k loop before heading back into the adventure park.  The rain beating against our faces as we made the return journey.  My friends Jeremy and Andy were also racing.  All three of us meet up at running club twice a week.  Andy and I are pretty well matched in a run despite his lengthier legs.  As we left the desert we approached the first obstacle, our path was blocked by some highway dividers.  I was pacing Andy about 15 meters back when he reached the 3.5ft barrier.  He hurdled it.  That was my first indication that I wasn’t going to beat him in this race.

Entering the park we headed across some low balance beams (piece of cake) and on to

Jeremy queuing up to enter the surf return channel and the 150m swim.
Jeremy queuing up to enter the surf return channel and the 150m swim.

the surf pool. The race marshals directed us into a tight access panel leading underground where we found a 150 meter long water filled tunnel – the return channel for the surf pool.  the water was choppy from dozens of swimmers battling there way to the end.  When you did reach the end you had to wait for the person or persons ahead of you to ascend the ladder – this entailed treading water of course.

Emerging at the top of the surf pool you promptly threw yourself off the wall and into the pool 15 feet below where you were forced to swim across before ascending some stairs on the other side.  From here it was on to the man made rafting river.  Fighting the current in waist deep water (at least for us short guys) for 250 meters we pushed on.  If you were lucky or smart you put yourself directly behind a big guy who could cut a wake for you.

At the top of the river you found a pool with a mushroom shaped waterfall.  We were directed through the pounding water fall before pressing on to the edge of the pool and a seven foot wall you had to scale to move on.  From there it was a quick jog down to the lake and one of my favourite obstacles.  There were dozens of overturned rafts crossing a lake.  The rafts were three across then two then one before they widened out again.  This was a great setup as it allowed you to overtake and pass others.  I passed two guys struggling to make the crossing and watched a third miss his mark and plunge into the waters.  I was thrilled when I emerged unscathed and ahead on the other side.

The race carried on up a short hill where we were met with an odd obstacle.  Simply throw two bean bags into a 5 gallon bucket about 10-15 feet away.  Simple.  Or maybe not so simple when you are winded.  I made 4 tosses to get two bags in the bucket.  Others were not so lucky.  Turning around we went back down the hill.  Just before leaving the park for another 3k in the desert we were met with a set of monkey bars.  Falling off the monkey bars would require starting them over.  They were wet and I couldn’t keep my hand wrapped firmly around each bar.  Holding on with just the crooks of my fingers I strained at every swing but I made it first try.  I could not have been more pleased as I headed into the desert.

The desert run included a set of 4ft walls to hurdle… well maybe Andy.  I looked much more like a fat guy climbing a fence.  Then it was time to get dirty.  They had ropes strung out like barbed wire across the path forcing you to army crawl in the sand for 30 meters or so.  When I reached the sandbag carry I was feeling it.  22 pounds of sand on the back is approximately 15% of my body weight.  I managed to run with it but not fast.  I hate being passed and at least 2 guys pushed by as we carried the sand for a kilometre (I caught one of them later at the wall).

Leaving the sandbag behind it was a dash back to the park and the final obstacles.  Passing through a web of ropes we emerged to a group of rugby players ready to impede your progress with blocking pads.  Once you fought your way through you reached the wall.  A ten foot flat barrier is all that stands between you and the finish line.  It took me two attempts to get over.  My height was a slight disadvantage but unlike the sandbag carry my size in the end was an advantage I think.  Triumph!

They are holding another race in the fall.  I will be there.  I’d say watch your back Andy but its more likely you’ll be watching mine continually pull away. 😉

In the end the first place guy came in at 00:40:40:00. Andy made 8th place with 00:44:57:00, I took 13th place with 00:47:02:00 and Jeremy took 54th place with 01:05:56:00. There were 74 individuals and the rest of the 160 participants were made up of teams. (teams had to cross the finish line together it wasn’t a relay for them).

Heres a write up of the same race from the 10th place finisher.  Neat to read others perspectives.

Here is that video I slapped together:

5 responses to “Mortality and Wadi Adventure Race 3”

  1. You are c eryainly making the most of your expat experience!


  2. Loved it. Do you know the exact height of the wall? We need to build a practice wall. Well done on the video James!


    1. Not sure – I think it is 10 feet. We could probably write them and ask. I wonder where we can put our replica?


  3. Thanks for the link to my post! Your blog was a great read, unfortunately i was one of those who ran past you when we got to the sand bag carry :(.


    1. Its all good – just means I’ve got some work to do. Hope to see you at WAR4! Just not the back of you 🙂


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