Vietnam: Running The Dragon Dash Race

After a month or so of getting up early for interval running workouts and grueling high intensity weight and circuit sessions, the day was finally upon us to attack the Dragon Dash – Vietnam’s first ever obstacle course race.
To be frank I had very few expectations on the results of the day. Our team never competed in this type of event before, so we were going to be satisfied with our best effort. Physically we were ready. We had put in the hard yards and were more or less injury free. Mentally, we were confident of a strong result, but had no idea what the strength of other teams, or the difficulty of the obstacles.
Rolling out of bed at 4.30am, I was already wishing I had not had those copious amounts of beverages consumed the preceding two nights. It was a struggle but managing to get on the road by 5am. We were warned to get there early to avoid the long lines. As we are in Vietnam AND a first time event – I knew this would be an important message to adhere to.

It was a good thing we listened to the emails because as we got there, a huge influx of participants arrived at the check in area. We were stuck in line for 40 minutes registering and anyone after us was in serious danger of missing the 630am start of the competitive team race.
@thuymi27 worked her magic, as usual and got a Media Pass for the event, which gave her unprecedented access for the Vietnam first obstacle race. It also gave us an opportunity to have a photographer/supporter on course.
We got up to the front of the line and were rearing to go. Energy was buzzing, music was blaring and teams were pumped with the excitement of a race.
The gun went off and our plan was to get into a great rhythm with our running. We thought that our run pace would dictate how we go. The first obstacle was the firewall that was leaped over with ease.

The “Welcome Wall”, a 11ft vertical wall with no footing or hand grips was the first main obstacle. We used team-work very well to get all our troops over very quickly and take off down the road. We established a 40m lead straight away due to our team skills.

Further down the road, the “Heavy Carry” was waiting us. Approximately 800m of carrying a heavy sandbag on your shoulders over uneven ground. Not as easy as it sounds. But it gave us time to get into our groove and discuss tactics for the next run.
A long run pursued until we had a series of climbing obstacles. We managed to put some space on the second place team, but it was not enough to ease up our pace.

As the course wore on, our lead slowly started to get smaller, and the margin for error got tighter. The wall climbs consumed precious energy and time. The “Balance Beams” were the first obstacle we were penalised as one of our team mates fell into the water. The penalty was a nasty 20 burpees which really hurt after already completing half the course. This backed straight on to the “Army Crawl” – 50m of sliding on your belly under barbed wire.

Our group, the “Far Gone Beauties” were still in the lead at this stage, but the other team was closing fast. We received our second set of penalties on the “Hells Bells” rope obstacle. The other team were just behind us by 10m afterwards and we were getting nervous about the outcome.

What remained of the course was a 1km dash and three obstacles. Our team started running first and kicked into overdrive. We upped the tempo on the run and put on 400m coming to the final obstacles. We flew over “Muscle Therapy”- the ice pool and bounded over the “Pyramid Climb” in quick time.

We finished the race in first place in a time of approximately 45minutes. What a feeling! Very few times in my life have I felt that sense of satisfaction after completing an event.
It was a well organised day, world class obstacles that were extremely challenging, beautiful weather and great competition.

Congrats to all involved – especially my team mates Cian, Tom and Ben, @thuymi27 for photography, #MOMB team for competing and everyone who chose to get out of bed on a Sunday in the name of being active and healthy!!

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