Get stuck in the mud for fitness with Dirty Dozen races in Kent

PUBLISHED: 11:28 08 August 2013 | UPDATED: 11:28 08 August 2013

The group celebrate finishing the race.

The group celebrate finishing the race.

© Charlie JH Round-Turner, 2013. Moral rights asserted.

Long gone are the days where you could safely brag about running an ordinary half-marathon.

Rebecca struggles over the mud spattered wall during the Dirty Dozen.Rebecca struggles over the mud spattered wall during the Dirty Dozen.

Today the trend is moving towards obstacle courses caked in mud, designed to test the mettle of even the strongest of strong men.

Those who finish these modern, sludge filled minefields well and truly claim bragging rights whilst, more often than not, experiencing the warm glow that comes with putting your body on the line in the name of charity.

The latest military style obstacle course sweeping Kent is the Dirty Dozen Races - six, 12 and 18 kilometre runs on energy sapping terrain, including climbing walls and awkward nets to crawl through.

Those who participate are often lured back time and time again to The Hop Farm, in Paddock Wood, forgetting the fatigue in favour of weight loss and muscle building that can often come through training.

Rebecca (far left) conquered the dreaded wall with the help of other Dirty Dozen runners.Rebecca (far left) conquered the dreaded wall with the help of other Dirty Dozen runners.

Co-founder Doug Spence puts that down to his theory that “the harder something is to do, the more you get out of it.”

Alongside Hugo Elliott, Doug started the business because he liked the idea that entrants needed little more than a pair of trainers to enter.

He added: “When you think about triathalons, you need a bike and all sorts to do that. But our races require nothing more than trainers and shorts. As long as you’re up for a bit of exercise, you can get involved. And there’s a great sense of camaraderie too - strangers help other strangers, it’s a great way to meet friends.”

Typically including 20 obstacles designed by former British Special Forces soldiers, runners can dodge climbing walls and tunnels if they choose - but they must face the penalty of 20 burpees.

The next Dirty Dozen 12k race takes place at The Hop Farm in October, with entry prices staggered. The next batch of tickets priced at £70 are on sale until August 1, when the price increases to £75 until September.

To enter, and find out more about the race, visit

Rebecca Drane, 29, of Northfleet tell us about her experience completing the Dirty Dozen 12k.

I wouldn’t say I’m super fit, but I’ve lost two stone since I started training and running in September last year.

When I first started running I was really bad, it took me over 50 minutes to run two miles. Now I run with my dogs tied around my waist and we easily do the two miles in just under 19 minutes.

My brother and I completed an obstacle race for the first time in June. The most I had ever ran before this, was four miles with the dogs. I had to complete 12 miles and 25 obstacles. It was the hardest thing I have ever pushed my body through.

To have the encouragement from my big brother, and friends we made whilst running, was amazing. Running on complete empty and just managing to keep going was crazy, but I could have cried when I crossed the finish line.

I’ve have never pushed myself to any sort of limit before. Even today I’m so proud of myself, I was even proud of every bruise, cut, ache and pain.

As I’m only 5ft, so climbing the 12ft wall was the hardest part.

Getting up with people’s help was fun, but once you are up there, sitting on the wall, you think ‘how am I getting down?’

That was harder than getting up there.

I enjoyed meeting other people and coming away with new friends. That’s what I loved the most. I’m entering another race in September with my friends and family.

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