Muddy Dog Challenge – Hever Castle 2017
Battersea Cats and Dogs Home
‘I need to wee and change’ I shrieked as I threw the dog lead to the Robster, running across the field whilst stripping down to my bra to put my ‘Muddy Dog Challenge’ t-shirt on.
A voice boomed over the tannoy ‘wave 17 is about to start so please make your way to the competitors enclosure’ and there I was still in a state of undress and panicking. In a double or drop dash, I legged it back to the start where I found rob grinning and nodge bound like a maypole in dog leads! Ah me ….and that’s how our Muddy Dog Challenge 2017 at Hever started.
Benny was beyond excited as dogs of all all shapes, colours and sizes walked obediently with their owners. Bottom sniffing was obviously the order of the day as Benny excitedly greeted from behind, all his new friends – most of whom didn’t appear to appreciate the gesture!
We were herded into the starting enclosure where Benny took advantage of a momentary lapse in concentration to pounce on a pug!
In an attempt to get the situation under control I decided it best to wrestle Benny to the ground so I could listen to the important safety briefing.
‘Keep the flags to your left’ was all I heard before Benny had wriggled free, knocking the safety lady to the ground as he careered towards the start line dragging me like a rag doll behind him.
Yelling sorry over my shoulder we set of at a sprint in the hope that the spectators would view us as enthusiastic competitors rather than a pair of miscreants.
Much to my surprise, rather than pull me off my feet, Benny settled into a great rhythm trotting ahead at a steady pace. We had covered about 1k of easy terrain when we came to a lake. Without a moment of hesitation, Benny jumped in and waded through to the other side to the applause of his adoring crowd (aka the fantastic marshals).
We continued up various hills, down ditches, over tyres and under nets all whilst wading or crawling through thick sludgy mud. And again, to my amazement, Benny remained attentive, listening to my every instruction.
There was only one small mishapp when he spotted a lively looking lab at the bottom of the muddy hill and considering himself rather dapper in his blue bandana, he decided he would introduce himself. As he galloped off down the slippery slope with a giant goofy smile on his face I went from skidding behind him on my feet to bouncing on my backside then back on my feet, then backside, oh heck … you get the gist and it wasn’t pretty! To my credit, I’ll have you know I managed to maintain a shrill ‘Whoooooaaaaaaaaa’ for a good unbroken five minutes!
The lab turned out to be a boy after all that and holding no interest, Benny cocked his leg and carried on his merry way as I scrambled behind pulling brambles from my hair and scrapping mud from my nose.
I’m afraid we didn’t have time to stop and chat to the lovely marshals, who were peering into the densely wooded hillside trying to work out where the blood curdling scream had come from! We were now on a mission to make it to the finish line where rob, nodge and Rhodi were all waiting proudly.
One of the final obstacles was a trampoline floating in the middle of a pond. My heart leapt! Benny loved trampolines – he and Rhodi spend hours bouncing on Nogdes and so this was our moment to show off – in front of the gathering crowds!
Come on Benny – let’s show them I whispered as we both leapt gracefully over the water and onto the centre of the trampoline! Nodge was cheering, the crowds were yelling and Rob was telling everyone with puffed chest ‘that’s my partner and border collie’. Ok perhaps the puffed chest was a bit of artistic license on my part for in truth, I only know that he made such a comment because he had recorded himself whilst filming our triumphant return!
Medal adorned and rosette in hand we posed for photos – a look of sheer exhaustion on my face and unabashed satisfaction on Bennys!
What an amazing day. We will be back again next year for more.
PS Please add a kids event – I’m sure all the children would have loved to do this course and what better way to teach the future generation the value of looking after our furry faces.
There is a changing tent for men and women so bring a change of clothes. You will need them.
Gloves are useful as it is very muddy and slippy.
Some of the hills are best tackled on your god given assets – especially if they are as plentiful as mine!
There are plenty of parking and portaloos (although you may want to carry some wet wipes with you too).
Don’t forget to let our furry friends drink before, after and even during the run. There are plenty of bowls of water around.
Say hello to all the wonderful marshals on the way around and smile at all the cameras. They’re sneaky mind you and try to catch you cursing!
If you’re spectating there are several paths along the course that you can walk and watch all the action. Best walk in reverse if you’re looking for someone.
And most importantly – don’t forget to donate to this wonderful cause! Battersea Cats and Dogs Muddy Challenge