Mud, sweat and Beers

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After a long hot summer, camping season was back… just.

It was still hot during the day but that just meant it was time for the mud, sweat and beers run through the mangroves near Yas Island. Last year we’d timed it for near to low tide. This time it was nearly high tide…

It’s fair to say this run did not begin propitiously. When Aarfabithore arrived at the run site, a secret location known as Sandpit Island, I was a little perplexed that he was towing an empty trailer.

“I thought you were bringing the jetski?” I asked.

“I did,” he replied. Then he went back and from the look on his face, it was clear he was somewhat surprised to see the trailer was very clearly not bearing a jetski.

We drove back along the access road, only having to go about 500m before finding it sitting forlornly  in the middle of the road, just beyond a large bump in the road. Remarkably, it was undamaged and we soon had it back on the trailer.

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At the appointed run start time of 4.30pm, about 25 or so hashers were present. Inevitably another seven or so rolled in over the next 20 minutes, which brought us yet closer to the high tide and the, er, adventures that would bring.

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It’s fair to say Sandpit Island is pretty featureless.

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H@sh F@g, All Ewes’d Up – some of the inaugural Sandpitters from Run#1 – and Alayna, who had done several Sandpit runs in utero and later in the child carrier, were up for it. Although it’s fair to say Alayna was blissfully unaware of what was ahead.

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But the trail soon wound its way into the mangroves and quickly became more interesting.

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This year we found real mud into which we sunk knee deep.

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And in between, there were the channels dredged as part of some distant and abandoned project.

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Alayna had been prepared for this by her parents, being transferred from the baby carrier to a pool toy.

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She took all this in her stride.

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On the far side, H@sh F@g reached into the bottom of the baby carrier and began bringing out cold bottles of adult beverages. Win!

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The trail headed deeper into the mangroves.

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There were a few natural channels to cross.

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Then into the mangrove forest…

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… which became dense at times.

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Floyd (hash name: Camel Toe) went business class once the water got deep enough to swim.

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Some were running… at least until out of sight of the camera.

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This was becoming hard work with the incoming tide. This had been bone-dry when we set the trail.

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But the beer stop,the one and only rule of Sandpit Hash, was just ahead.

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It was a nice spot to watch the sun set over the towers of downtown Abu Dhabi.

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Then it was time to swim the coolers back over the channel and head back to camp.

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The weather was fine to camp. Everyone was saying how surprisingly cool it was and how camping season was definitely back. And then nearly everyone left and drove the 20 minutes back to the land of aircon, refrigerators and hot showers. Go figure…

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Are you ready for Mud, Sweat and Beers on Sept 27?

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Now that the worst of summer is over but the water’s the perfect temperature, it’s time for the annual mud run through the mangroves of Yas Island. img_2908

Last year we had no idea what this was going to be like.

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It was a blast! (This assessment may have been in some way related to the beer stop)

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And the camping temperatures were perfect. So this year we’re doing it all again. Be warned: It will be MUDDY — really muddy — so bring your skankiest running gear

The route will also include a couple of short 10m swims across channels. You can do this in almost any footwear but the ones who seemed to have the least problem wore dive booties. The mud can be a little abrasive if you’re in aqua sandals.

But there IS a beer stop, the one and only rule of the Sandpit Hash! Bring water to wash with afterwards and some bug spray. There’s nothing at the site other than sand but plenty of room for camping. The run will begin at 4.30pm.

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We’ve even arranged for a special collectable* T-shirt to be made to commemorate the mud run.

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(* this isn’t actually true)

We’ve made 50 of them, in a range of sizes. The run fee is Dh50 with a shirt or Dh20 without.

The usual Sandpit Hash rules apply – it’s BYO everything and the only thing we provide is the beer stop and some beers to penalise people in the circle afterwards.

How to get there: The site is accessible by 2WD cars. From the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway, take the turnoff to Yas Island and head towards Saadiyat. Once you pass Ikea on the left, take Exit 29, marked “Yas Island West”. Turn left at the traffic lights and cross the motorway on an overpass. At the next lights, turn right and cross the motorway again via an underpass then take the first exit. Go through a fenceline and turn left at the next intersection then head towards the girder bridge over a channel. Cross the bridge then turn left towards the fishermen under the motorway bridge. This area was easily navigable by 2WDs a week ago. Follow the wheel tracks that parallel the channel towards a line of power pylons. Ignore any “Road closed” and “Construction traffic only” signs and follow the road along the pylons for about 3km then take the first turning on your left. You should see our cars, including a brown Toyota Fortuner with a kayak rack on the roof. From downtown Abu Dhabi, take the Saadiyat Highway until the exit to Yas Island West. Turn left and cross the motorway via the underpass then follow the directions as above. If you get lost, call shorth@ndjob on 050 561 7087

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