“You’re picking the winner of the competition. You are less biased than me.”
Well, thanks Mark! I’ve no idea how he came up with the conclusion I am less biased. I am reasonably certain he knew that there were going to be over 150 of the most epic photos for me to judge though.
Looking through the photos has been a real pleasure. Some go back to our very first race, they all have a narrative. Many cover some really meaningful moments in our short history.
I am going to pick three winners, I promise, but first let me just reminisce on a few.
Let’s start here:
To prove my lack of bias, these are some of my favourite people…The Smut family, actually, to me they are the Smutettes. Since first coming to marshal for us, they have been almost omnipresent. They are part of our family. They are brilliant fun, full of compassion and will stop at nothing to help our runners. I put them on The Big One at Bordon this year – the enormous, indoor, multiple level confidence leap and cargo net. Race days are pretty hectic for us but every time I looked up they were encouraging and supporting the runners on the obstacle. Without the likes of The Smutettes there is no JD. End of.
Mark and I frequently find ourselves being in awe of the amazing, strong, inspirational women that take part in our races. How do you argue with these two photos. The Kuit sisters and Emily Shergold – three brilliant ladies smashing out the ropes in probably our favourite race weekend, Pippingford last year. Look at them, now look again…what a bunch of awesome!
Speaking of Pippingford and Awesome, I can’t use those words without mentioning this good looking fella:
I first got to know Darren at Pippingford last year. He had been running on the Saturday and come across someone, who he had never met before, who had hurt themselves. There is a common, beautiful trait in OCR that we all look out for each other. Darren does that in spades. He abandoned his race, came back to the event village with the injured young lady looking after her, then went to hospital with her and remained with her until her family arrived. As a thank you (because we are warped) we gave him a free entry to The Unknown. Midway through that crazy, amazing event, Darren was medically pulled. The Unknown isn’t about finishing, it is about pushing yourself further than you thought you could. Darren beat himself up because he didn’t finish the event (silly, silly human). This photo is of him completing Bordon later in the year carrying the rucksack, shovel and bib that he would have done in the last section of The Unknown. He faced down his demons and did it in style.
Speaking of style, what can I say about this:
Mudstacle came to play at Pippingford. This was the 10k on the Saturday. Watching them was so much fun, in fact I think I was jealous. None seemed to have more fun than Paul who made it around carrying an inflatable banana for his birthday. You may ask why but that would probably be a waste of breath. Because it is fun; because you can; because, frankly, it looks epic. These are all valid reasons. But sometimes you just need to go with, “why wouldn’t you?”
If Paul’s photo looks fun, then the other end of the spectrum is this:
Dexter’s first visit to JD and he was suffering from cramp at the time this photo was taken. We, at JD, want you to love racing with us but we are at our most happy when you do that whilst pushing yourself to your limits. It looks very much like Dexter was pretty close.
Right, so let’s talk about our final three photos, our winners.
Mark’s final words of wisdom to me – make sure they reflect the JD values.
So, what does that look like? If you’ve read this far you will know it means things like compassion and support; athleticism; fun and family. So, in third place we have this mighty offering from Judgement Day Goes Nuts:
I genuinely have no real idea what is going on here. But it looks like fun is being had…a lot of it. I can only commend this sort of behaviour, particularly in our team event. So Martin Carroll, you get the first free pair of tickets, you crazy loon.
Now, aside from being a truly epic picture of our very sizeable quarter pipe at Bordon, look at Danny’s face in a photo posted by Adam Pickering. Pure focus. That quarter pipe wasn’t easy but Danny does it in style here. Well done.
And the winner:
Here we have Rick Burgess with his wife just after she managed the confidence leap at Copehill Down. Let’s not forget that this obstacle is designed to push the military. You can feel the emotions flooding out from the photo as the adrenaline slowly subsides. What a moment. I get goosebumps just looking at it.
And finally, my favourite photo of them all?
Well it isn’t perfect as there are some very key players missing but this one.
Even on race days we barely get to spend any real time together but this was taken at the very end of Judgement Day Goes Nuts. We were really proud of what we had achieved together having seen so many happy faces throughout the day. It was time to relax with your mates, which is really what JD is about for us. Happy days.