A Dirty Dozen Virgin Gets Dirty! What really happens at a Dirty Dozen event?



Having just landed a new job for a company that works with Dirty Dozen It occurred to me, in the spirit of getting truly stuck in, that it would be a good idea to take on a race for myself. The next thing I know I am at The Hop Farm in Kent, surrounded by fellow mud enthusiasts warming up for the Dirty Dozen 12k London South event.


As I set off in the 11am group, I didn’t really know what to expect; I’d heard of muddy races and even done my fair share of obstacle courses when I was little, but that was 20 years ago.  A kilometre through the woods and all seemed fairly sane. Then, the runner in front of me veered off course and threw himself in the river next to us. As I caught up I could see this was where the course headed next, so in I jumped…

After wading upstream for half a mile it soon became clear this was no ordinary race. Scrabbling up the slippery bank I set off with those around me through the 7ft high muddy ditches, back into the river, over the scramble net and on to what looked like a field of tyres.

Apparently, this tyre was now ‘my friend’. Like the heroic star of a cheesy action film, I threw my new buddy over my shoulder and set off through the 2 foot thick mud. Weirdly, the muddier it got, the funnier it became; falling over in thick mud never struck me as something that would command an entrance fee, but the more I went round, the more I saw people were loving just taking part in such an out of the ordinary event.

The obstacles came thick and fast; from jumping a roaring log fire to crawling under barbed wire. After an arduous hour I was on to the infamous Tarzan bars. Crowds cheered as I climbed across the bars, then jeered as I fell from the middle into the muddy water below!

Into the last 2 kilometres, the obstacles came ramped up in frequency. The hangover walls took everything I had, meaning I was pretty much beaten as the 12 foot wall came into view. Perfectly timed, leg cramp set in as I straddled the high wall but, from my vantage point, I could see the finish line and, spurred on my the taste of victory, I jumped down to sprint / limp to the finish line, grabbing my signature Dirty Dozen bobble hat and a well earned beer.

The day was great. A fitness challenge but also a huge amount of fun and camaraderie. For those that want serious competition it is timed and competitive, but for the many who want to take on a challenge and enjoy a day out with friends it’s hard to beat. The next one is at Usk Castle in June – See you there!

- James Hamilton, Signalyard

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