Autumn is the time of year to get whimsical about stomping through piles of leaves on crisp weekend afternoons and warming up by a crackling log fire with a glass of wine.
There’s a lot to like about this time of year, especially the chance to behave like a big kid by carving pumpkins badly, dressing like a demented zombie, and generally getting excited by things that go whizz and bang in the sky.
I seem to have taken ‘letting the child inside loose’ to another level, however.
Last Saturday saw me wading waist-deep through a boggy river, trying not to completely fall over as I laughed my way to the other side.
It had me clambering over 8ft walls, failing to climb up a wet rope, falling off monkey bars, and crawling under barbed wire like some sort of demented sand crab.
After a year of struggling with bad knees, which made me hate running with a passion, I made a promise to myself in January that I would only do exercise I enjoyed.
It’s paid off. I’m fitter, faster and I enjoy running again.
But most importantly it’s led me to make new friends.
Two of those I met at Havant Parkrun. They like to do obstacle course races – which generally mean usually-sensible adults get to run and jump and clamber and get dirty and muddy in the autumn puddles just like when they were kids.
Last Saturday’s OCR (as they’re known) was my first.
It was up at the military tank training ground in Bordon, slap between army barracks.
Called Judgement Day, a friend of mine, upon hearing what might be in store for me, dubbed it JuddMental Day.
It was great fun. I came home bruised, exhausted, looking and smelling like some sort of bog monster…and ready to sign up for more.
I spent much of the time giggling at the ridiculousness of it all, and enjoying every step and every obstacle.
Being a grown-up is hard, so sometimes it’s good to blow a raspberry at serious sport and just let that inner child as loose as you can.