This Natal Day long weekend, I did something amazing! I participated in the Not Since Moses race, where you walk (or run) 5 kilometers along the bottom of the Bay of Fundy when the tide is out. There is a 10k option too, but you have to run that one in order to avoid the quickly rising tides in the Bay.
The Bay of Fundy is an amazing phenomenon of nature. It’s over 16,000 square kilometers and has the highest tides in the world, raising to as much as 16m (56 ft). In just over six hours, the tide will go from being all the way out to reaching its peak. Every hour, the water rises about 10 feet but it does so with incredible force, causing rivers in the area to reverse their flow during the tide change.
Not Since Moses race organizers have things down to a finely tuned science. We picked up our race kits and jumped on a bus around 7:30 am, which took us to the race site. There was live music and a lovely view (I imagine that it was lovely, having seen it before, but it was obliterated by early morning fog on race day). Promptly at 9 am we started our journey across the start line.
My sister-in-law joined me on this adventure and we were sure that we had prepared for this race so well. We had gotten together and done some hikes on the beach leading up to this event. We knew we had this nailed! However, as lovely as our walks on the beach were, traversing a sandy beach on the beautiful Northumberland Strait in no way prepares you for the absolute muck that is on the bottom of the Bay of Fundy.
We very quickly learned to move like we were skating to move over the mud flats and for the love of all things holy, don’t stop! I learned this the hard way when I slowed up for one of the racers in front of me and my right foot got suctioned into the muck. Thinking it was no problem to get out, I immediately planted my left foot down to give me some umph for removing my stuck right foot. This is not the plan to go with, in case you should ever find yourself in this predicament, I was stuck solid with both feet suctioned into the mud. The good news is, when I lost my balance and fell forward on my hands and knees into the muck, both of my feet let go and I was good to go. LOL
Now, very mud covered and only about a kilometer into the race, I got myself up and we kept going. I’m excited to report that the only fall that either of had was that one. We definitely had some close calls, but managed to stay vertical the rest of the time.
The terrain was really interesting during the race. We started out on sand, much like our practice beaches, and then slogged through mud for a bit before we moved back to a more solid muddy sand mix, with some large rocks and seaweed. It was fascinating to see how varied the terrain under the water actually is. One of the volunteers told us that the terrain is different every time depending on how the currents move rocks and sand with the tide. We reached the halfway point in 36 minutes, making our way around the boat that was grounded on a sand bar to mark this milestone, as I inwardly cheered that we were half way there!
It actually seemed easier on the way back until we reached the last bit of a hill and I lagged a little. But with one stop to tie my laces tighter so I didn’t lose a shoe, we made it to the finish line in 1 hour 12 minutes and 55 seconds. My original goal was to do it in an hour but that was before the beach vs mud flats lesson happened. This gives me a goal to work toward for next year to beat my 2019 time.
It was also interesting to see how far people come to do this event. There was someone from Copenhagen on the podium and an 87 year old woman from South Carolina who came to get this crossed off of her bucket list with the help of her daughters. It was amazing to be part of the crowd cheering her across the finish line.
I learned a lot by doing this event, besides how to move through mud and that all beaches are not equal. I learned that mud gets into everything! I also learned that it takes soaking your muddy clothes in about 5 buckets of warm water before you can even think about throwing them in the washing machine, and I learned that I really love walking in the mud. Can’t wait to do it again next year!