Pulling a 50 ton Hercules Plane

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Yesterday was the inaugural Law-Enforcement Torch Relay Charity Plane Pull.  Teams of 20 signed up to pull a 50 ton Hercules (J class) plane 10m along an air force runway, competing for the fastest time.  For some strange and probably unknowable reason, I was signed up as one of them.

I discovered that pulling a plane is not the hardest part.  In fact, that bit, once the inertia was broken, was relatively easy.  Having everyone pull in exactly the same direction, on the other hand, is way harder.

Being as short as I am, I was up the front.  When someone pulls a little off to the side at the back, that travels along the rope and becomes a bit like one of those waves that gets bigger.  Myself & the other girls up front were having to do double time skipping to keep hold of the rope as it went sideways, as well as doing our best to help pull it backwards.  I fell over at one stage, when I had pretty much my whole weight on it, pulling, it went left (I kept hold), but then it went right again without me.  Since my weight was on the rope instead of my legs, I went down.  Luckily we hit the 10m mark just as the girl in front was about to come backwards over me.  I got moved all the way to the front for the second go, so there’d be nobody in front of me to trip up if I went down again.  That meant my whole effort was hanging on as it went sideways, and along with the runway being wetter from the rain over lunch, we ended up with a slightly slower time.  When I looked backwards, the rope had drifted about 30 degrees away from the seam of the concrete – no wonder I was dancing doubletime!  Even so, we got a respectable 19 second time to pull the thing.

It’s truly amazing how sore one body can get after less than 40s total effort.

This morning I woke up with:

a) a grin on my face, because it was fun;
b) bruises on my leg, plus my underarm, from the rope, and
c) thighs that hurt like crazy!

Even so, I’d do it all again in a second.

For years now I’ve seen challenges on ‘Biggest Loser’ and other shows that pit the contestants against what looks like an impossible feat, and they come out on top.  Yesterday it was my turn.  I have a new appreciation for how beliefs and fears about how hard a challenge looks can be so much worse to deal with than the challenge itself.

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