I thought I would have a bit of fun with this and tomorrow's Gut Buster and run it in fancy dress. Having appeared as one of the Blues Brothers last year I decided to ramp-up the difficulty for myself and complete this Christmas’s tomfoolery dressed as an ostrich... Yes, an ostrich.
With me doing this, LSS had to come down to watch me run, just for novelty value of seeing me dressed as an ostrich more than anything else, so the 2 of us made the short drive down to the event base on the edge of the Longmoor army camp just bordering the A3 south of Bordon.
|The obligatory pristine 'before' pic.|
|We ran so fast from the start that it was all a blur :)|
Emerging from the woodland after the start stretch we found ourselves in the first clearing and I began experiencing my first problem of being an ostrich: A saggy crotch… As I was running, the body of the ostrich was falling downwards to the point the crotch of it was now between my knees, so it was almost impossible to run as it was severely restricting the length of my stride, and no amount of holding it up was achieving anything as doing this was making me just as slow, so thinking on the hoof, or on the wing in this case I figured a quick fix and stopped to enact it… I whipped my top off and crossed the braces over to opposite shoulders before replacing my top, which alleviated the problem and I was able get back to running once more with some sense of purpose and concentrate on getting my footing right rather than adjusting and holding my costume.
|...And down dale.|
|Descending to the first water trap marshalled by the 'Purple One'.|
|An ostrich's eye view of the wade ahead.|
Having gone through plenty of these in the past, there’s no point in pussy-footing around trying to get in as daintily as possible, as this only costs you time and doesn’t keep you any drier in the end! So I ploughed on into it and tried to maintain my balance as my feet tried to find the bottom, and to my relief it was only really up to the top of my legs, so scrambling out was no problem… Continuing along the parapet of the ditch for about 20 metres, cheered along the way by the few gathered spectators amused that someone in fancy dress was gamely running the course, I turned to re-cross the ditch, so following my tactics I did the same and did a full-blooded leap in to the water below, only to initially find my feet were not touching the bottom and I fully submerged, almost having to swim a couple of strokes to make the other side of the ditch… And then the fun started.
I had made a SEVERE miscalculation about the costume in how well it absorbed water. Tying to get out of the water and back on to dry land, I discovered as my legs now had to bear all the weight of the water the costume had soaked up, it was at least another 25 kilos heavier than before, and this weight was pulling me -off balance back in to the water… It took all my might to haul myself up out the water and to the top of the parapet where a lot of the freezing water now poured-out. I decided that attempting to run with all this extra weight was a fool’s errand, so I took some time to wring as much water out of the ostrich’s arse as I possibly could - those spectators there killing themselves with laughter at the sight of me bending over to squeeze some very brown looking water out of a large bird’s bottom that made it look like the bird was having an attack of diarrhoea!
Having wrung-out as much of the water as I could, I continued my merry way around the last couple of miles of this first lap, but I still had the ‘handicap’ of around an extra 10kilos or more of water around me in the costume, so the effort required to drag my sorry arse around the course was considerably more than before and I was struggling to make any pace at all, with plenty of people now passing me. Up and down some more steep woodland hills and some decent slippery mud, the finish line was in sight and through one final knee-deep 10 metre long muddy wade I was in the finishing straight and veered left past it for the second lap as most people veered right to finish their single effort… And believe me I was sorely tempted to veer right and join them, but I managed to dissuade the ‘chimp’ from stopping me and carried-on for the second circuit: buaidh no bas!
|Bedraggled at the halfway point... Not sure if the water is from the costume or just puddles.|
The second lap as you would expect was the same as the first, so I knew exactly what was coming, but I was really fatigued with the carrying of the extra weight, and getting through the double ditch immersion was even harder with tired legs, but continue I did to the finish line, eventually crossing it at a near stagger in a very slow time.
I had second-guessed where chaffage might occur, so had mercifully escaped that, except from a minor amount on my neck where the braces crossed over, which was an adaptation on the fly to how the costume was initially worn. Making this change meant the costume was easy enough to run in and I also found that I did not overheat through wearing it.. Its just in the future I really need to be avoiding water that goes over the top of my legs and in to the ostrich’s body. The legs of the ostrich if anything took the edge off of the wind out there and the elastic trainer stirrups remained in place and undamaged - so all in all I was pretty happy with the performance of the costume on what was quite a work-out for something that is merely made for standing around in at office parties!
The neck of the bird has a wire running through it to help keep its shape, and with the reigns of it around my neck, the head naturally held itself to one side in an almost camelid fashion, which made it pretty easy to not worry about and run with both hands free as you would want to… And another great thing about the costume is it fitted in the washing machine to clean-off and being made of all synthetic fibres, it was pretty much dry by the time it came out of the machine after 2 spins… I put it in the airing cupboard to dry off as best as possible ready for the second leg of my double-header, the Gut Buster.
I have to say a big thanks to LSS for accompanying me to the race and standing around on a cold Saturday morning when there are far, far better things to be doing and most of them involving staying warm, and also for her taking the pics of me - although I do suspect this was partially done for schadenfreude and the amusement value of seeing what on earth I looked like in the costume and how much of a bedraggled muddy mess I would be in at the end ;)