Running the Grower’s Ironperson

Gold medalist Nigel (centre) and two runners-upGold medalist Nigel (centre) and two runners-upSitting in the back of the Hemp Embassy, rolling some fine Aussie Sativa, I watched video footage from last year’s Hemp Olympix. I saw last year’s ganjathletes running the Grower’s Ironperson and decided that I could do that, and faster than those I had seen.
On Saturday morning, aspiring competitors eagerly waited to sign up for the competitions: Speed and Style Joint Rolling, the Bong Toss and the Grower’s Ironperson. It was only $2 to enter each event.

All week I had been eagerly awaiting the Ironperson, so I was the first to sign up. Unfortunately for me, they used that same list to determine the order of contestants, so I was the first olympian to compete.

From the start/finish line, you had to run to some hay bales, upon which was a 40kg bag of fertilizer. This had to be carried while running 25 metres, then jumping three evenly spaced foot-high bales. Another 35 metres of running, then 20 metres up a hill to a pseudo-cannabis plant, around the plant and back to the start.

Then you had to drop the bag, pick up a five gallon pail of water, and repeat the run. Next you had to run to a four metre “leech tunnel” made of haybales in two rows, with broken branches and nettles strecthing between them, making a tunnel 1/2 metre high. You had to crawl through the muddy tunnel, pushing a 3 gallon water-bucket ahead of you, then run around the cannabis plant, and back to the finish.

I went to the start line and got ready to run what would be the most physically exerting thing I had ever done. The whistle blew and I was off. I hoisted the 40kg fertilizer bag without trouble, jumped the three hurdles, and ran up the hill.

I soon realized that the video footage had been deceiving. I lifted the bag from my shoulders to my arms, and then hoisted it over my shoulders. I was glad to drop the bag, but my relief was short-lived. Exhausted from carrying the heavy bag, which could be an event all on its own, I grabbed the bucket handle and headed off.

For some reason I thought I’d be able to run faster if I hoisted the bucket to chest level, but that resulted in a face full of water and a good soaking, not to mention many laughs and wasted time. I continued on, refreshed. As I ran around the plant I dipped my hand into the water and gave the plant a splash. I desperately wanted to dump out all the water ? as no grower would ever lug all that water to a patch and then carry it back.

It was emotionally as well as physically draining. I deposited the bucket back at the start line, and wanted to deposit myself, but I still had to do the supposedly leech-infested tunnel. I grabbed the smaller pail, crouched down and crawled through, pushing the bucket in front of me, and trying not to spill the water or get snagged in the branches. In my exhaustion I forgot to leave the pail behind, but the crowd reminded me. I headed for plant on the hill, grabbed a few leaves and returned to the start line, with the crowd cheering me on.

The leech-infested tunnelThe leech-infested tunnelI crossed the finish line totally wiped, and fell into a heap, exhausted and breathless. After drinking some water, and throwing up a few times, I was able to sit up and watch the next victim ? a Scottish fellow wearing a kilt.

My time was 2:31, it felt much longer. Those two and a half minutes were the most arduous of my life.

Eleven others did the Ironperson after me. My time wasn’t the worst, but it was far from the best. An Australian named Nigel had the best preliminary time of 1:48, which he improved on Sunday when he ran in the finals. He completed the course in 1:36, almost a full minute off my time.

Congratulations to Nigel and everyone else who competed. See you next year!The leech-infested tunnel