42km, 100+ obstacles in a wheelchair
At the 1st of September 2018, Pim Brouwers and his buddies conquered the Iron Viking: 42km, 100+ obstacles in wheelchair!
By Pim Brouwers - For those who missed it, what I can't imagine, at Saturday 1st of September I 've conquered the Iron Viking in Ghent together with my buddies in a wheelchair. 42km of suffering and giving everything we had to conquer 100+ obstacles within the timelimit of 7.5hr. The idea of conquering the Toughets Marathon on Earth was not born in one day, read the full story of 9 months preparation and determination here!
The idea to run / roll an Iron Viking came after I've competed in Rat Race last year April. After the famous 32km in England I contacted the organization of Strong Viking, Erwin van Haren, to see what the possibilities were. Then something became immediately clear to me. His words: 'Pim, it's a great challenge that you're willing to conquer, but we can not adjust cut-off times and/or routes, so you really have to do it in the stated 7.5 hours'. I did understand his statement, but also had te feeling that it wasn't likely that I would make it whithin the stated 7,5 hours. After I comleted jet another Strong Viking 7 km (walking this time), during the Brother Edition last year I made a mental switch commiting myself I could make it after all. But only if I would train the right way for it. I needed a strong plan to convince Strong Viking that I could make it, for 90% certain.
Together with Eddy-Paul Bakker I made a plan and a list of possible buddies. In the end, 8 buddies remained who were all experienced OCR runners: Eddy-Paul Bakker (who would take care of all the food and spare parts by bike), Marieke van Horssen (responsible for the food during the turnouts), Sebastiaan Munter, Michel de Vos, Robert Hofman, Laurens van Erp, Sven Weemaes and Johan van Ginkel.
I sent the plan to Strong Viking's CEO / Founder Jan Reijs and, I remember it as the day of yesterday, on 7 February of 2018 we got a GO from the organization. The Iron Viking challenge was ON! Ever since that day, together with my buddies and everyone as an individual, I have been training hard to complete the OCR marathon within the stated 7.5 hours. I trained 6, sometimes 5 days a week to be in top condition for the Iron Viking. From crossfit to boxing and from handbiking to rolling in the woods. In addition, we had two joint training sessions to respond to each other and to discuss the tactics for obstacles. Of course, everything never goes according to plan in a project. Sven had to miss the Iron because of an operation on his eyes, but by acting quickly and appropriately he had provided an excellent replacement, namely: Niels Monster. An extra buddy was added to my father's person for food.
The plan changed a number of times in the meantime. Because Sebastiaan had good contact with event manager Djon Vermolen from Strong Viking, we were able to better estimate the points for change, first the buddy teams would change every 10km, because these points were at clear obstacles. The teams exchanged every 7 to 6km.
A week in advance not trained, which was not good for my healthy tension and my mood, but what was I ready on September 1, I was ready to killing the Iron Viking with the team.
With a lot of tention in my body, I went to the start. Henry Wessels made a nice announcement of our challenge for that day, to all Iron Viking's who were competing. After having called OORAH several times, we were finally released! The first two rounds of the 19km (for the buddy teams 7km and 6km) we really went nuts to ensure that a final sprint should not be necessary.
The plan that we had come up with went perfectly. With every obstacle there was a clear division of roles and the coaching was always clear. The fixed points were clear (at the 19km were: Storm The Castle, Wheels of Steel and The Walhalla Steps and at the 13km were obviously Storm The Castle and The Walhalla Steps) so everyone knew where to position themselves for the change.
We took the obstacles fairly smoothly and I did a lot of myself on strength and insight. Because of the many training the last 7 months I noticed that I made progression and was grown in strength and other skills. We have trained specifically on certain obstacles, for example in the Strong Viking Lab, think of the Low Rig in the 19km and the monkey snakes that was in it three times.
The way people gave us space on the course was really great to see. I felt like Moses opening the sea at every obstacle that we had in sight. We passed on every obstacle with loud cheers. Together with my buddies who were able to motivate me extra on certain points where it was necessary, it was important to remain focused.
During the run, the support was great! This support gave me and my team new strength and energy as I or one of my buddies was going through tough situations.
When we entered the 13km round, I knew we were on track and that the chance that we were going to succeed the Iron Viking was bigger than we would finish the outside of the timecap.
In the second round of the 13km (where team 1 took over again from team 2), Niels also participated. He wanted to keep moving and I also noticed that there were a number of buddies through it. Just when we realized that things were going really well, fate struck. Just before Storm The Castle, my front wheel broke off my wheelchair. Fortunately, Sebastiaan van Nieuwenhuizen was my hero at the time, he had taken his OCR wheelchair in case something would happen to my wheelchair. Quickly walked to Storm The Castle, who came up and climbed into Sebastiaan's wheelchair.
After this exchange, I noticed that the man with the hammer had come to me and I really had to be pulled through by my buddies. The thought off all those people who were giving everything they had for me and the purpose, made it that I could not let them fall.
We made it to the cutt-off time and we entered the last round of 7km on time. During the preperation, I had called this the 'lap of honor', not knowing that it would really feel that way. The last 7km I have really been able to enjoy every single meter. Of course it was important to keep focussed on the obstacles, but the Iron Viking could not escape us, what a nice feeling (when typing this blogg, i've got goose bumps everywhere ...)! The last 3km we walked with the whole team and at 1km before the finish the victory torch was lit with an unforgettable finish as the end result...
Where I, together with my team and each as an individual, had trained for 7 months .. WE F * CKING DID IT !!! There have been setbacks, but we never let ourselves be distracted, we were really a well-oiled machine from start to finish. We have always believed in it and therefore I am sure that you can do whatever you want, if you really believe in it.