Glodiator. 50 shades of mud

How to fall flat on your face, is it possible not to wash for two weeks, where are inquisitors trained, how to unleash an earsplitting stream of profanities, and how to earn forgiveness for your weakness

It seems like I was a pig in my previous life. More precisely, a swine. A great boar, who spent his whole life in a puddle, digging up the dirt and grunting with pleasure.

I never wash my hands before eating, and I only take a shower when … When … Damn, when do I take shower? In brief, not very often. And surprisingly, no one can say that I smell bad. I smell like a human being – as an ordinary man should smell, free of the odour of sweat and dirt.

I could never get it, why people take a shower three times a day? Does it help them live longer or get sick less often, or maybe they are happier than us, the unwashed? I suppose not.

The thing is that everyone has got his own yak factor. I was lucky to have mine at dog level.

I love to walk and run barefoot, roll on the ground. I can go without a shower for weeks, eat unwashed food, often straight from the floor, and sometimes swallow insects.

For example, crossing the Ganges  in the Varanasi region, where the remains of burnt human bodies are dumped into the river, or the Grand Canal in Venice, where the rats live, doesn’t bother me at all. And I really enjoyed working as a garbage truckman for 11 hours in the terrible smell of waste.

At the same time, I don’t get sick, don’t stink, don’t have complexes, and lead a healthy lifestyle. And that’s what I actually advise to all of you.

A bit of back-story: Tough Guy

The story started back in 2015 , when I read about the most brutal competitions in the world. Tough Guy – the most extreme obstacle race in the world, was listed among them. You can often find such a description as “The cruelest of the legal contests”.

– Exactly what I need! I exclaimed, rubbing my hands. But it was boring for me to go there alone, so I convinced my friends that we were going to spend a pleasant weekend in England. And they believed me. So naive…

I have already written about how hard and tough it had been, that’s why I’m not going to repeat. I’ll only say that mentioning the Tough Guy sends shivers down my spine.

See for yourself:

Then, shaking from the wild cold in the stable, I decided that I would definitely do a dirty race in Moldova, too. Let everyone now suffer, why should I suffer alone? In vain, my friends were begging me to have mercy for the Moldovan people, who are already suffering so much. But I was impossible to relinquish. Then the guys drew me a picture where the poor parents were lying dead in the ice-cold slurry, and the orphan children were standing outside the office and asking for some bread, I went soft. That’s probably because I’m getting older … And I decided to make the race warmer and shorter. But imagine that a person who does not wash his hands before eating, decided to conduct a sporting event. Can you guess how it’s going to be? Yes, it’s gonna be dirty, very dirty!

That’s how the GLODIATOR was born.
That’s right – “glOdiator”, as “glod” stands for “mud” in Romanian.


Well, since I promised to arrange a race that is not too cold, I’ll keep my promise. I didn’t say it would be comfortable though, so the start will be in early August. In the scorcher! “They will not freeze, so at least they will get charred,” I thought. After all, my life motto is:

The worse it is,  the better!

And we began to get prepared. We had been searching for a place for a long time, climbing dozens of moats, gutters, marshes, ravines, trash cans and dumps. Until there was an ideal place – Chisinau motocross track. Hills, ravines, roads, water and civilization nearby, and even not out of the city. In short, ideal conditions.

Since the format is something new to us, we’ve had a heap of questions. How we should build obstacles, what’s the technology of getting the right dirt, where to get tires from, what kind of material smokes well, how to mount walls and so on and so forth. Having estimated the route with the obstacles scheme and having calculated the estimate, we together scratched our heads – the amount was rather big, and unfortunately we didn’t have the money. Therefore, we decided to save, but saving money, you usually lose time. And so it happened – it took us not one month to prepare the event, but several person-years. And that’s the result we got:

Hundreds of tires, wooden pallets, barbed wire, mud pits, walls and, as usual, starting zone. Five-ton trucks had been carrying loads of obstacles onto the track for several days, and we had been filling the pits with water for two days. It was so hot that the water went into the ground, as if there was a Saeed buried in the sand. Infinitely. But constant dropping wears away a stone, and all the holes are filled with time. And we got such mud – a sight for sore eyes! So, we finished, drank whiskey and went to wait for the morning. For the dirty, hot, Sunday morning …

Day G

As a child, I used to dream a lot. Well, what else is there to do, when there is only an overhead projector and an iron constructor to entertain with. That’s probably why I’m actually shooting  cartoons  and building websites. But I had another dream, as many boys did, to work as a garbage truckman and as a fireman. One dream has already been accomplished, and the second one – not yet. And so, in the morning, at dawn, when all the runners were still asleep, unaware that some of them would burn, peel off skin, dislocate their legs and all without exception would be smeared with a thick layer of mud, I recalled my dream.

Damn, we got a hose!

My mind turned on… Wellll, I can hose all of them with my water cannon! Oh wow! The matter is settled – from a runner I’m turning into a firefighter!

I run to the start realizing that today it’s gonna be hell-hot: the sun is already frying, and it’s only sunrise now. when it appears from the edge of the earth. Thanks so much! This year, half of our events were flooded with rain, and when rain is needed for mud, the sun shines as if nothing had happened.

Someone there is definitely messing with us. Well, well, we’ll try to do the same thing. Where’s my water gun …

People are already coming, bleak canvas backpacks on their shoulders, carrying the carefully folded remnants of their glossy sleek lives.

300 Spartans are already waiting at the start of the mud-smash-fracture-dislocation battle for the honor of getting poked in the eye with a stream of water, like Tyson’s fist. Everyone froze before the start. There was silence…

You could hear the hearts pounding and body hair standing. Even the birds stopped chirping. Slowly the fire flared up, and the sky was clouded with smoke. Pieces of adrenaline flaking off the air and slowly flopping into the mud …
Starting shot!

Ahoy! Hundreds of people jumped off and, under jeers from the crowd, they rushed right into the smoke screen. I threw the gun and went, rubbing hands, to my water cannon. Run, run … I’m here for you.

Slight digression, while the victims of the Glodiator are rushing past me with a hoot.

I was not a participant but rather an obstacle in this race, that’s why I won’t be able to convey the feelings and experiences of the glodiators. But those who have escaped will be able to do so, therefore, with the kind permission of Sergey Savchuk, I will insert excerpts of his remarkable report into my text.

And so, here is what Sergey wrote:

-As I turned my head, I saw black smoke rising towards the sky, in the direction where we were supposed to run. Red flames were sticking out the smoke. What???
Run through the fire!???

And then I became anxious. I felt some unpleasant chill in the area of ​​the solar plexus. I realized that Sporter was not going to joke. Everything would be very, very serious.
— This is war!
—Take no prisoners!
— And let the living envy the dead!

-Because of thick smoke I felt a bitter taste in my mouth. I was out of breath, since a really steep climb began. 60–70 degrees for sure. Perhaps someone could run uphill. I didn’t see who those cyborgs were, but most of the participants slowed down to a walk. Hard, upwards, meter by meter.

-They made a 20-meter pipe of car tires. And through this pipe you have to crawl. 10 centimeters forward, another 10 centimeters. And the pipe is not over. It’s dark, congested, someone’s pushing from behind, you’re bumping into someone’s feet in front of you. The inner part of the tire hurts into the arms and legs, tearing off your skin.

I feel like a larva getting out of a cocoon. And it is necessary to crawl out into the liquid, wet, sticky dirt. Because at the exit from the pipe Voloshin is standing and playing the chief fireman, with a sniper pressure from a fire hose sloshing those who crawl out. The water pressure is so strong that it knocks the participants down. The first steps in the slush, keep footing, but no – water jets in the face won’t let you find your way. Did you come for mud? Here it is.

After 15 minutes, I met the “suffering ones” with life-giving water blows to the chest, to the head and the quickest of them – in the cods. We, firefighters, love to put out fires and hot guys, so the most impudent people especially quickly, to the groin. We, firefighters, love to put out fires and hot guys, so the most impudent people got the most of it.

The hose is heavy but pleasant. I find myself thinking that it’s gonna hurt them now, and I’m gonna have fun. I used to think that I was merciless only to myself, but now I see that it also applies to the rest. A revelation to me …

All right, stop, let’s see. I don’t beat children, I don’t torture cats, I never laid a hand on my wife, although I get a spanking from her from time to time (deservedly, I must say).

But at that moment a sadist woke up in me – and I was trying to cause as much harm to the runners as possible. Alive, suffering people, who were already feeling bad. Holy cripes…

If I lived 500 years ago, I would definitely send my CV (with experience in the Glodiator) to the site (and where else?) of the Holy Inquisition. And I would definitely be invited to an interview:
— Have a seat, young man, we have a couple of questions. We studied your CV, and we see you did not work anywhere in your specialty, except for the Glodiator, but you have the main thing needed for our profession – the desire to torture people.
You got right where you need, congratulations! We are looking exactly for such candidates as you! So, don’t worry about the lack of experience, you will soon catch up, because we have a large choice of specialization: Spanish boot, rack, fire, Iron Maiden, wheeling, quartering, putting on a stake … You’ll figure it out. By the way, here is your first case for you – the case of a certain Joan…

What I’m trying to say is that I would have had an occupation those days. But let’s get back to the present day.
“Nobody’s gonna get sound out of here” – I thought, grabbing the hose and waving the jet like a Jedi sword, trying to crush the hordes of dirty people rushing towards me.

Just see how much “compassion” and “love for one’s neighbor” is there on this face…

photo by Egor Vokhmyanin

Reveling in the process of knocking down unfortunate glodiators running through the mud, I did not notice that they … ran out and I was left alone. But blood boils and requires the continuation of the wild celebration and abuse of the runners’ human dignity. And while they are crawling through the tires, under the barbed wire, deep in mud, I am preparing for them a new surprise.

Meanwhile, Sergey has already crossed half the distance:

-By that time, I thought I was very dirty and proudly posed for photographers. At that moment I did not know what real dirt was. And what I would be like in 20 minutes. Lost count of obstacles. They promised 18. It felt like each new thing was harder and more devious.

The volunteers and I kept dragging the hose to another point of the course. Right before the finish, at the mud pool, I’ll ambush them – that’s what I was thinking. The hose turned out so heavy, that the four of us were hardly dragging it, unleashing an earsplitting stream of profanities! But the final goal scored off, and we went hog wild over two edges and one ravine, getting the instrument of torture to its destination.

Still, I missed a couple of people, lucky someone … But never mind, we’ll take it out on the rest. Hold on!

Sergey :

–I barely carried the bag to the end. Then took a bottle of water, my hands trembling. What I could not drink, I poured on my head. So hot.

–I moved on. And I saw a wall ahead of me, which I didn’t even try to climb. Wet, slippery, tired. It’s impossible to do it all alone. Plank hold.

–I went around the wall, and there I saw…
I saw mud. It was not simple mud. It was some sticky, viscous mash. I could not believe that was possible to do, just by pouring water on the ground. It seemed to me that the organizers had brought from the pit a whole KAMAZ of selected sticky clay, dumped it and kneaded it well with water.

-Before me stood a participant, knee-deep in this mess, not able to take a single step. He tried to step and fell. Then got up. He pulled one leg out and there was no sneaker on it. He started looking for it in the dirt and could not find it. He fell again.
And then I heard the shouts of volunteers.
— Crawl on your belly!
— On belly????
— Right! Here you can only crawl!
— You won’t pass it on foot! You’ll lose your sneakers.
And I got on my stomach in the mud. My hands at the same time plunged to the shoulders. And I started crawling. When I got up, I realized the advantage of participating in shorts and bare-chested. An incredible amount of mud stuck to my clothes. I became 10 kg heavier and barely moved my legs. And the dirt wouldn’t stick off. I carried most of it to the finish.

-Everyone probably remembered the water pit just before the finish. When leaders crossed it, the depth was knee-deep. And since then water has been constantly poured into it. When I ran to the pit, the volunteer girl said that I had to jump into the water on my stomach and swim.
What??? Swim???
It turned out that there was water above the waist, and it was possible to swim even butterfly stroke.

Meanwhile I was hosing people. In all meanings. After an hour of mudbath, I could hardly raise my hands, but what pleased me most was that the runners felt even worse than me. I knocked them down, beat off their kidneys and liver, and broke their ribs (so it seemed to me). Some of them got water-streamed in their faces and cursed at me.

A couple of times I almost got punched in the noodle, when another guy, infuriated by my hose, came on me. And only after a close look at me, they recognized the “darned fireman” and forgave me this minute weakness and let their fists down. If in my place there was an ordinary volunteer, he would have been crippled long before. So, my reputation saved my life, although it remained “stained”.

I take this opportunity to apologize for bruises, abrasions, cuts and hematomas of all shades and colors. But damn, you came yourself to the Glodiator to suffer, and so I tried to do my best. Sorry, guys…

Having bathed the last one in mud, I move towards the finish. And there people are already drinking, not water alone. All in the mud, bruised, dead, burned … But so happy! I approach carefully, so as not to get a sock on the jaw for my experiments, but I see people smiling instead.
They even hug me — I am pardoned!

Serotonin is in the air and we all breathe it. And exhale dopamine. The feeling of love for everything moving fills our capillaries and we embrace each other. Someone is singing, someone is jumping in the puddle with friends, someone is kissing his beloved. In short, the hormonal storm covered motocross on the outskirts of Chisinau. And it’s good that it was in daytime, otherwise, in the dark, it could turn into an orgy of sport, suffering and love for one’s neighbor.

–Everybody were overwhelmed by a feeling of euphoria, which has lasted for three days. Now I am a Glodiator. For now, it is one of the brightest and most spectacular events of all that Sporter has conducted. It was interesting for both participants and the audience.

The Glodiator  has become for us a breath of fresh air, because it is not just running or swimming at speed. This race is about something else…

It’s about how tough you are to help others by sacrificing your time.

How strong you are to forgive your fellow’s weakness.

And how much of a human you are, no matter what. No matter if you are an inquisitor by nature ????

See you next summer! We’re gonna strike you out with something tougher…

Thanks for the gorgeous photos to Egor Vokhmyanin, Pavel Levinta and the Simpals team!

Mentioned projects:
Glodiator Sporter
Sonr. The first prototypes

Sonr. The first prototypes

Who eats batteries, how to shove the unimpressible, is it possible to assemble a tank, is it convenient to swim with an antenna and why does Darth Vader cough? After the first conversation about the underwater radio, 3 months have passed. The guys still considered my idea unrealizable, but, as they say, the master is the master, so the work was in full swing



How did it happen that we are so different, why does the world give some people the opportunity to move forward, while others do not, and is it possible to correct your brain?