Obstacle Mud Runner - issue 16

Here are just some examples: n Road races, 51,722 competitors, 884 DNF, equals 1.7%. Gender mix, Male 1.77% and Female 1.6%. Doing some very limited research we believe that the gender difference was likely to be that the males were more prone to race when they might not be as fit as they need to be. Road races tend to have less injury (as a %) DNFs than trail. n Trail races, 17,454 competitors, 1647 DNF, equals 9.43%. Gender mix, Male 9.8% and Female 7.65%. The total competitor split between male and female is very heavily male leaning. n Ultra-racing (50k plus), 9633 competitors, 1418 DNF, equals 14.72%, Male 15.63% and Female 11.21%. n Winter events, 9933 competitors, 342 DNF = 3.4% n Summer events, 11,661 Competitors, 718 DNF = 6.15% (surprise) The purpose of the exercise has nothing to do with gender however it does give some interesting results. What really fascinates me is how individuals can achieve a lower DNF? Some of the questions we asked when we attended three events (OCR, trail and road half) Q How long have you trained for this event? Q How many events do you do per year? Q How important is your kit to you? Q Are you here to compete or complete? Q Do you eat before an event? I won’t issue all the answers as they don’t figure alongside any of the data, nevertheless it seems right to point out that the greater number (over 70%) trained for the event and an even higher number were looking to complete rather than compete. I think that the fascinating figure is the 30% (ish) who didn’t train for the event. At a hasty guess (we didn’t ask) the majority didn’t train because they race frequently (that was me for about 6 years) or/ and train as part of their everyday lives. Over 50% of people (none OCR) didn’t feel that their kit was that significant toward the outcome of their race. I guarantee that a selection would have DNF’d due to poor kit choice. At the OCR event, kit importance was very high close to 90% of those that we spoke with. Taking into account the nature of OCR racing and the variety of obstacles it would be unexpected for an experienced runner not to take their kit selection very seriously. In a similar way, it would be difficult to imagine a tri-athlete casually choosing the kit they need for a race. Since my first DNF in 2012 I have achieved 4 more, all of which were injuries, one being a nasty one during an OCR that took 6 months to recover from. During muddy and wet conditions I slipped from a challenging rig and landed full weight onto my thigh. Race over and a visit to a warm and cosy hospital followed. However I fully believe that I would have more space on my medal rack if I hadn’t learnt lessons from my 2012 experience and the training and race journeys that followed. Quite simply it is about prep and planning! Train right, recover right and plan ahead. Simple examples: Have the right kit. I wear strong grip shoes for muddy races. It might seem obvious but I see many people in shoes that are not right for the terrain. I have trainers for all terrains. I also clean them, make sure they are race ready. I normally take two pairs with me but it can get expensive. The same goes with all my kit. My socks, my top half (I don’t want to be too hot or too cold). Glasses, hat, buff, watch, belt, shorts and most importantly (if required) my pack for hydration and nutrition. I used to get blisters, but I don’t anymore, I haven’t for years. I tape my feet on the hot spots and I wear the right socks and trainers. Many people get blisters and 11 KIT : BE PREPARED