Fitness

Epic obstacle course in KL: Taking on the Viper Challenge’s oh-so-muddy 20km jungle route

Rachael Wheeler takes on The Viper Challenge: 20 muddy kilometres and 20 even muddier obstacles.

As someone who considers herself fairly sporty, I went ahead and signed up for the Viper Challenge in Kuala Lumpur without looking particularly closely at the details. I knew it was the biggest obstacle challenge event in Asia, but – though I’ve never completed a hopscotch course, let alone an obstacle course – I didn’t appreciate the enormity of the task ahead.

In hindsight, it’s a great thing I didn’t look into it – because if I’d have clocked the 20km forest route, the walls of fire, mud pits, ice baths and (so much) more, I may not have considered myself fit enough to sign up. And I’m so glad that I did – it was one of my highlights of last year.

While a half-marathon through the forest with huge obstacles is naturally going to take its toll on your body, you don’t have to be super-strong or agile to make it through the Viper Challenge. Everyone who takes part in this event – whether they enter as an individual, or as part of a pair or a huge team – soon realises that getting through the course is about teamwork. There are some obstacles that you simply won’t be able to complete without supporting one another – at one point, I had five dudes hauling me over a 12-foot inverted wall, three on the bottom and two on top (oo-er!).

The Viper Challenge isn’t a race – there’s no clock; instead, batches of 500 people are released in stages across the whole weekend and everyone gets (and fully deserves) a medal. There are 20 obstacles of varying difficulties – you don’t have to attempt them all, but everyone does: it’s all part of the fun. My favourite ones were those that I looked at and thought: “There’s absolutely no way I can do this.” And, sure, I ended up being dunked into muddy water on a lot of them, but the ones I did get through? Amazing! You get applause, high-fives galore and a wicked sense of self-achievement.

I’m aware of how cheesy this may sound – but spend four hours scrambling under electric wires, dangling from monkey bars and wading through lakes and you’ll start to feel like you’re part of a community. A tired, yet hilariously enthusiastic community.

This is why I shouldn't have worn white
This is why I shouldn’t have worn white

Want to sign up to the next one? Here’s all you need to know…

When’s the next Viper Challenge?
It will take place on the weekend of 14 and 15 March 2015.

How do I register?
Head to viperchallenge.com. Race entry per person starts at 89 MYR – get in early for discounts.

Where to stay
The course starts at Sepang International Circuit, so I simply booked one night at an airport hotel; but there’s plenty of accommodation in the Sepang area.

What to wear
I can’t express how dirty your clothes will be at the end of this race – being covered in mud is unavoidable! Good trainers or walking shoes are a must – I saw abandoned shoes all over the place.

For more information
Visit viperchallenge.com for more (or go in blind and enjoy the surprise like I did!).