Obstacle Mud Runner Magazine
OBSTACLE MUD RUNNING RACE CALENDAR
July - September 2018
(Scroll list)

JULY 2018
21: Colour Obstacle Rush
21: Gung-Ho
21: Jurassic Coast Challenge
21: Rat Race Man v Lakes
21: The Gauntlet Games
21-22: Rough Runner
21-22: Iron Ram
28: Colour Obstacle Rush
28: Gung-Ho
28: Muddy Dog Challenge
28: Nuclear Races Summer Party
28-29: Overload OCR
28-29: Tough Mudder
28-29: Mini Military Mud Run

AUGUST 2018
04: The Lanrick Challenge
04-05: Beach Ballistic
04-05: Total Warrior
10: The RAT
10-11: Tough Mudder 5k
11: Wye Valley Challenge
18: Muddy Dog
18-19: Rough Runner
18-19: Tough Mudder SW
22: It’s Grim Up North
25-26: Overload OCR
25-26: Tough Mudder

SEPTEMBER 2018
01: Gung-Ho
01: Inflatable 5k
01: Beast Race
01: It’s Grim Up North
01: Rat Race Man v Mountain
01-02: The Nuts Challenge
01-02: The Wolf Run
08: Gung-Ho
08: Inflatable 5k
08: Grail Quest
08: Nuclear Races
08-09: Rough Runner
08-09: Tough Mudder
15: Gung-Ho
15: The Gauntlet Games
15: Zombie Evacuation
15-16: Spartan
16: Splat Quack Go
22: Gung-Ho
22: Beast Race
22: Push It For The Peace
22: X Runner
22-23: Tough Mudder
22-23: The Little Welly
22-23: Mini Military Mud Run
29: Gung-Ho
29: Muddy Dog Challeng
29: Uventure
29: Autumn Monster
29-30: The Wolf Run
29-30: Muddy Dog Challenge
29-30: Tough Mudder

Obstacle Mud Runner Magazine
RACE INTERVIEW – Spartan women's ambassador Emily leRoux
Spartan Interview
1. What made you want to be part of Spartan?

Quite honestly it was people. I met Joe De Sena in Tokyo where he had moved to support the launch of Spartan Race Japan. At the same time I found myself in friendly competition in the Cross Fit box with Emily Downey who now runs Spartan Race Japan. They have infectious personalities, driven by something that is hard to explain other than the passion they have to drive others to achieve more that they thought possible. I knew right then that Spartan would inspire me, help me inspire others and on a personal level push me to be the best version of myself.

2. Your new role sounds full on and extremely rewarding, what does it involve?

Spartan is for those willing to mentally and physically push to achieve their personal best. It is a sport, mindset, community and way of life. Above all, it is a catalyst for transformation, pushing you beyond what you thought was possible. The Spartan Women community is for everyone whether you are 4 or 94. A lot of time is invested to listening to the stories of women and girls who have found their way to the start line of a race and have become empowered to share their journey with others. By shining a spotlight on our community, we are able to encourage women and girls from all backgrounds, cultures and of course levels of fitness. I also work with Partners in the International markets who are looking for innovative ways to engage with our racing community and support our mission to rip 100 million people off the couch.

3. I’m delighted to hear that 40% of competitors are female, that’s a high percentage.  Do you see that figure rising and how do you intend to make that happen?

I would love to see a 50/50 split globally in the near future. Consistently, I see that women and girls get together with a group for their first race. This means that they train together, race together, get very muddy together and as a result form stronger friendships, teamwork and camaraderie. Organically they bring new members into their group create an unbelievable environment for everyone to push themselves beyond what they thought was possible. At Spartan we are committed to ensuring that everyone, male and female has the support they need to train, eat well and enjoy every aspect of Spartan racing. 

4. Where is the future of Spartan heading do you think?

Into more countries first of all. This year we have inaugural races in Ireland, Romania and South Africa. Spartan is in the driving seat, taking OCR to the Olympics and Paralympics. This is so exciting, especially for the younger racers who are, for the first time this year, able to complete in age group categories. I think Spartan Race will produce some Olympians and Paralympian's in the future!

5.What advice would you give anyone who is considering doing a spartan race?  What would you advise regarding nutrition, training and preparation? 

Just do it! That is the advice from thousands of women and girls who have also found themselves considering entering. We have a saying "You'll know at the finish line'.  This is very true. It is difficult to explain the feeling of accomplishment when you cross the finish line. The smiles on race photos say it all. In terms of nutrition, training and preparation everyone is different, with different aspirations and varying amounts of time available to train. My advice would be to find some girlfriends or a partner who will commit to training with you (strength in numbers and all that...). You can find heaps of advice on Spartan.com and you can easily reach out to the Spartan Women community and be bombarded with friendly, supporting advice - anything from what shoes to wear to shorts versus capris. 

6. What motivates you to want to empower women so much and have you always felt so strongly about women and equality?

Both of my grandmothers were strong women who possessed the 'never give up' attitude. And having 2 younger brothers made me raise the bar on what I expected of myself. Working at Michael Page where men were very likely to be hired if they had been to public school and played rugby sharpened my ambition to work hard and be considered an equal. But it was my move to Japan in 2011 with a 12-month baby that I really started to see to unfortunate inequities in the workplace and the expectation that many young girls had of themselves. A BBC reporter, Mariko Oi, reported that more 16-year-old girls than ever in Japan aspire to be a housewife and don't consider a career as an option. I am proud and happy to say that quite a few of my previous co-workers are now mothers and successful business women with the confidence and ambition that will inspire many others to follow in their footsteps.

7. If you believe we are all equal regardless of gender, why is there a male/female split in waves and why do the men go first?

You are right that the elite waves are often split by gender. All other waves are co-gender, unless there is a race wave for a big team that has been specifically requested. The Elite women set off after the men to ensure that there are limited times where there is a delay on an obstacle and we want to give all of the elites the opportunity to power through the obstacles with no delays or waiting. I see Spartan as a gender-neutral sport where regardless of age, ability, able bodied or less able bodied we are all on the start line together in the Open waves. It is amazing!

8. Besides your professional connection to Spartan, what are your personal goals for OCR?

I need to conquer the spear throw. I just cannot do it and it is infuriating! Otherwise, my goals are to enjoy every minute of every race. I know I am going to meet some amazing people and that is very exciting.

9. Do you have any pre/post-race rituals?  We’re not just talking coco pops!

Ha ha. One of my friends, a professional nutritionist for some national UK teams told me about coco pops. It was the best advice! I don't really have any rituals. There is so much going on before and after a race that I don't really plan too much. I do LOVE chocolate though, so I will generally have a Dairy Milk stashed away to enjoy post-race, guilt free!

10. What is your favourite, most memorable race and why?

2017 World Championships in North Lake Tahoe. It was an absolute privilege to be racing with people from all over the world with stunning scenery everywhere you looked. I also raced with two new friends there, which was a very powerful bonding experience.

11. Who would you most like to see take on a Spartan race?  This could be a friend, a celebrity, the Prime Minister, your dog... Why would you want them to and what do you think they would bring to an event?

I would just like to see someone who had never contemplated a race before. Someone who, like me, stumbled across Spartan and crossed the finish line with a mixture elation, pride and the hunger to take on another challenge. I believe that those feelings on the finish line drive many people to reassess themselves. With that boost of confidence, he or she might go for a promotion at work, ask for a pay rise, step up in his/her community. If you think about it, every Monday morning there are thousands of Spartans who wake up on the Monday morning with a bounce in their step, a boost of confidence, ready to take on the world!

Red Red
RACE REVIEW – THE ELEMENTS - KENT - 3RD JUNE
Elements Mudslide
Now, I'm all for new races, but with so many seeming established races dropping by the way side, my initial thoughts, if I'm honest with you were dubious to say the least.

My opinion very quickly changed as this seemingly new face had appeared on the OCR scene and BOOM, he and his wife wanted to be RD's and so The Elements was born. From that moment on, every event I seemed to go to, bang, there they were. Either racing, volunteering or just supporting but I guess what you don't often consider is that in each of these outings you experience, you are learning from the good and the bad.

READ THE FULL ELEMENTS REVIEW click here ... hide

Not only do you realise what works, you also, if you're looking for it and paying attention, soon work out what doesn't. These guys seemed to fit in like a glove. Kids and all.

Often seen marshalling as a family, these faces were soon recognised everywhere I went. I have to say, their online presence was remarkable, as was the opportunity to advertise their event wherever possible, and so it seemed the marketing for this race had very much a daily presence in some form or another. The Mr Smevs pose has become a trademark and a household name down in the south, and the team colour, yellow, complimenting nicely the Mudstacle boys and girls.

Initially down to do 4 laps, I was excited to be doing this brand spanking new event. Then a last minute cry for extra volunteers made me feel guilty about my entry free gratis so I offered my services and reduced the laps to just 1. More than satisfied that I get to experience the whole thing from all angles, besides, I like to do my bit in the community. Race day arrived and I had everything crossed for a successful first race. If anyone deserved success after all the hard work that was apparent then it was Mr & Mrs Smevs and I wished them all the very best of luck for the day. Their social media and magazine involvement meant I felt like most of us have watched their journey and shared their experiences along the way.

So, onto the race itself, everything was just superbly done, minor details which others may not have covered such as the laminated strips with phone numbers for the volunteers to take out in case they needed additional contact. Major obstacles and check points had radios but phones are a good back up just in case. On the whole I would say the volunteers were very well looked after with lunch, plenty of water and enough cake to sink a small battleship. I'm not complaining! Staff tshirts get a big thumbs up from me, meaning that crew are easily recognisable. Clear explanation about our roles and what action was necessary in an emergency, safety procedures, self care and advice about the day, ourselves and our obstacles, as well as the all important thanks. However cliche it may sound, without volunteers, races really cannot take place and it's nice to know that is acknowledged.>

Directions and parking both easy. Registration tent, big white thing, can't really be missed. A really good variety of stands in the event village which carried a fantastic family vibe. A bar, food, clothing, cream teas, sweets, massive foam fingers and more, what else could you want?

The start, I thought was cutting it a bit close on time but Emz Watts did her funky stuff and the first wave were off through a billow of yellow smoke grenades and Mr Smevs was hi 5'ing runners as they set off. I whizzed round to my obstacle which was also covered by 2 other wonderful volunteers and between the 3 of us it meant if we needed the loo or a break or were called to help elsewhere, we were covered enough to not be pinned to our post all day without a breather. All waves of the day set off successfully and with few hiccups, all returned.

Elements Donna Jenner-Hall

I'm a people watcher at the best of times, it could actually be a full time hobby for me as I'm constantly on the look out trying to read peoples expressions and nothing was different this day. Of all the faces crossing the line and around the village that day, they all had a similar story to tell and that was a sense of achievement whether you ran 1 lap for fun or all 4 gruelling laps. The course itself was pretty tough. The ground was hard due to the recent hot weather which was a strain on the ankles, but after the first downhill and uphill, it tended to not be quite so rutty. (Is that even a word? You know what I mean though) I hope. I really think there were some good, challenging obstacles on this course, all achievable by most but still a challenge. Even the frisbee into the drum, doesn't take strength but a little bit of skill and probably more luck than judgment I think but still a fun element to the race. The classic "there's a hole in my bucket" was a welcome cool down if you carried it on your shoulder although just out of the water myself, yes I fell, jumped, laughing, (you can picture it I'm sure) off the pontoons so was already wet anyway. Not sure how I'd like it in December though. The route through the woodlands is always my favourite part of a race, time to let the mind wander, find your rhythm and just focus each step in front of you, planning your route letting the brain interpret the terrain for a safe landing on each strike. I'm normally a lone runner but on this occasion I ran with an excellent choice of sidekick. You might know him as the Muddy Highlander but today he was my laughing partner, my chatterbox and my mud sliding king. We crossed the finish line together , caked in mud, much more than anyone else, you'd have thought we'd face planted every bit of mud at every opportunity?!!!!!

We went off in search of some form of wash down which we successfully discovered in the shape of a plastic drum which we just climbing in and washed off as best we could. A quick change then time to exchange banter, stories, opinions and eat cream tea with all those around us who had already conquered The Elements. I take my hat off to Matt and his team, Carly, kids included. This was a brilliant first event. If I had to grumble about anything I'd like to see some more toilets next time please or at least a volunteers one or two so we're not queueing when we make that last dash before heading out on course. Stuart Amory did a fantastic job of MC'ing over the entire day and I truly hope that future events only exceed what this one was as I believe it is a race to be reckoned with. Wishing you all the success for future.

 
Inflatable 5K Start
Being a seasoned and fairly experienced OCR runner, doing something at a slower pace with family and on obstacles that were full of air was somewhat out of the ordinary to me.

From the moment I clicked “confirm order” until I arrived at the venue in the morning, family in tow, I was really, really excited about this event.

The sun made a glorious appearance and spirits were high all around. I’m familiar with the venue’s location so I knew to expect a flat run with just lots of fun to be had.

READ THE FULL INFLATABLE 5K REVIEW click here ... hide

Direction and parking were a piece of cake, well manned and clear. Toilets were conveniently positioned right next to the warm up zone and start so that last minute dash before you set off is easy. Race packs and numbers were pre posted prior to the event so no need to queue for registration.

It wasn’t long before our wave was called for warm up, done by a fab team from Pure Gym. A brilliant vibe was all around as we finished warming up and made our way to the start. Separated and set off in groups of 50 or so at a time meant no mass bundle for the first obstacle. From that moment on it was non stop chatter, laughter and happy family memories being made, despite the frequent “my legs are tired” and “I’m thirsty” from the youngest member of Team J-H.

Perfectly placed at the half way point was our refreshment stop. Kindly sponsored by High5 there was a flavoured squash option or water and a snack bar on offer too.

As we set off for the second half, I stopped for a moment to listen and look around me and absorb what I saw. As fully expected it was still non stop laughter and smiles all around. Some fantastic efforts in fancy dress and recognition that we come in all shapes, sizes, ages and sex. It really is an event for everyone. (provided you’re taller than 1.3m). After conquering all the remaining obstacles, all that was left was the final one. It was upon us in no time and the littlest J-H and myself chose the almost vertical slide whilst the men of the family, senior and junior, went all out bravery for the leap of faith.

It was quite a climb for our sheer slide and upon reaching the top, that sudden drop from the top really was too much for my brave little princess so we made our descent back down. Despite this, I couldn’t be prouder of my little one as the effort she put in and the fun we had was absolutely priceless and I really couldn’t have asked for more. We watched our boys do their leap, albeit I’m sure, through gritted teeth before we joined hands for the finish line.

Greeted by 2 photographers to capture those final moments, we were given a very decent medal, nice t-shirt as well as water refreshments and milkshake freebie from Yazoo, made for a very pleasant finish. An immense sense of achievement all around, especially my 2 youngest tribe members. A fantastic venue, extremely well organised, brilliant goodies, all duly noted and each part of this jigsaw fits together and works perfectly.

Sucessful Race

Event village was small but sufficient for this type of event. The ice cream van had a steady queue and was just perfect for spectators and runners. I tracked down the RD and thanked him for such a brilliant event.

Would I recommend this event?? YES I would. To EVERYONE and I mean everyone. If you’re feeling really challenging, there is a 10k option too.

You don’t need to be able to run 5k to do this, we didn’t. You just need a smile and know how to have fun and that we did! Maybe I’ll see you at the next one.

 
Stewart Savage
Sadly, we say goodbye to this cracking little race, set just outside the quaint village of Penshurst, in the beautiful Kent countryside.

Race Director, Sam Winkworth, is well known and respected in the OCR community. To say, he lives and breathes this race, is an understatement. Sam had promised us, ‘ A bas***d of a course’, or words to that effect ! And he was not joking...!

This was the 5th Dirty Rotten Scramble (DRS). I had previously ran twice and marshalled once, and each race has progressed…better and also harder.

READ THE FULL FINAL DIRTY ROTTEN SCRAMBLE REVIEW click here ... hide

This one was a lesson in proficiency, easy parking, and registration, down to the hard work of Sam, and his wonderful assistant Claire Watts Williams. I am glad to say, there were over 300 runners. Good going for a small independent race, with Rat Race Dirty Weekend and Tough Mudder South on the same weekend.

The friendly event village, with DJ, led to a cracking atmosphere, that carried round the course, thanks to the wonderful marshals.

I was on the 10.15 (second wave), and as it was the last DRS, went for the 3 laps, 18km (which was actually 20.7km). The furthest I had run in about 10 years. From the start, there is a long run, mainly downhill (he makes you pay later!), which opens up the runners, before the first splosh pool, a new addition, cut out of a very different looking area of the course, from the last winter race.

The course is on Penshurst Off Road Cycling Club (PORC), and the very hilly terrain just lends itself to an OCR, and Sam sure uses the hills to good effect. It’s still downhill till the ‘No hope Rope’, where we met our first queue, before leading to the Cargo net ‘A’ frame, inverted walls and Monkey Bars, all in a row. From here it’s to my previous least favourite bit of the course, ‘Sammy’s Slalom’, 26 slalom lanes, up and down an incline, on a rutted field, with a tyre carry.

It’s probably about 1.5km in total, and a killer. I had always struggled with this, but recent hill work, and the encouragement of my running partner, Big bad Brian Tinker, meant I ran it in full, with no problems (all 3 times). My first moan here, but at the competitors, not the race. Sam had asked people to complete this in full, and not cheat, in his pre-start briefing, but despite the brilliant marshalling of Caroline Watts, some people still cheat themselves. We overtook 2 guys on about lane 6, as they were walking, and then when we were on lane 13, they had got to 19.

From here it was on to the Lake Swim, which was cool and refreshing after the long run, but quite long….you certainly felt it on the arms on Lap 3. After this it was payback time, all uphill, with Walls, Cargo nets and a great Rope climb (when Brian found his ‘J’ hook !!). Next was the 20’ wall ladder, which offers just the best views of the stunning Kent countryside from the top, and then a number of obstacles at the top of the course, before you start descending down again, including Sammy’s shocker, which to my surprise was live, as my forehead can confirm, then a difficult 8’ wall, and a great wall combination of testing inverted and ramp walls, which we really felt third time round.

It carried on downhill to a series of ponds, water trenches, the sheep dip and the troll bridge. It was then a climb back towards the event village, and up to the ‘Monkey shuffle’ and then a climb over the scaffold ‘A’ frame, ‘Savage Summit’. 2 great obstacles, but I’m biased !! (and THE best Marshalls on the Monkey shuffle). From here, you think your first lap is over, after the pond drop zone slide (the 7th water obstacle) but you are sent off on a loop round the village with a wall, spiders web, a tyre carry before the sternum checkers mark the end of your first lap.

By our second lap, the field had spread out and there were no queues. We got into a good running rhythm, and felt really good, in fact we seemed to fly round and with taking on some gels, felt great for the third lap. Another little moan about competitors here… not good to see ‘elite’ runners, pushing in quite rudely to fun runners, on an obstacle.

Dirty Rotten Scramble

So, the third lap began, and the downhill was fine, and surprisingly even ‘Sammy’s Slalom’ was achieved, with a heads’ down gritty attitude, helped by marshal Caroline Watts’ vocal encouragement. We were about 3 lengths away from completion with another participant about to start the slalom when the sweeper, Lee Cote appeared. So we headed for the final swim (briefly considering taking the burpees instead…but No, lets complete properly). The swim was a killer on the arms third time, and as we came out of a lake, to our surprise there was said runner, in front of us (missing out the slalom and the swim...Why?)

The sweeper caught us up and ran a fair bit of the uphill section of the course with us, assisting and encouraging (cheers Lee). The hills finally took their toll on me, and my legs just went. I was determined to run every bit of the course, but have to admit I had to walk some of these ascents, despite Lee and Brian’s encouragement. At the water section we caught up with some 2 lap fun runners, and Lee stayed with them as we overtook them to finish the course and receive a great piece of bling, coming 12th and 13th out of the 25 runners who started the 18km (really 11th and 12th !!!) Quite happy for a 53 year old git.

Big thanks to Brian for getting each other round the course, and the laughs (and building an obstacle with me). To Tony Jarvis for the brilliant photos. All the amazing marshals (never been offered so many sweets), and finally to Claire and Sam... I’m sure we will come across Sam and The Dirty Rotten Scramble again, in the future, in some guise, at a different location... I don’t think he can let it go and it’s just too bloody good to go away...

Just my opinion. – Stewart Savage

 
Toughest Amsterdam 2017
This truly is one of the top 3 events I have been looking forward to, with making my plans for it to be a weekend away with one of my favourite races right in the middle.

After many months of talking and not much planning we headed out to Amsterdam early Friday morning full of excitement and non stop OCR chat for the 6 hour trip out for myself and a few teammates traveling together. Our first plan once reaching Amsterdam was to visit the race venue for a sneaky look around and get a feel for what we are in for the next morning. From the outset I was blown away with the quality and quantity of the Toughest obstacles. Let alone bumping into the legend Johnathan Albon. We had a little look around (6k of the course) before meeting up with another team mate and going out for pre race dinner and rest.

READ THE FULL TOUGHEST AMSTERDAM REVIEW click here ... hide

Race day, after very little sleep and getting kick started by a very excited team mate watching Bob the builder in Dutch we was off to Spaarnwoude to get prepped and race, parking was a doddle, €10 quickly spent. Then an easy registration and a free bag drop sponsored by the best company in the word (KitBrix). We met with the rest of the team that could make it out for this one and got ourselves ready for our own very different approaches to the event. The Toughest village is always a very lively place to be with a great sound system and perfectly selected beats to get you going, all levels of participants from world leading athletes to first timers.

With the countdown to our 11:00 start from Toughest's MC we was off and running, obstacles came quick with only a few hundred yards in we hit the first Incline Wall followed quickly by Irish Table, Swing Walk and the Step Up. By this point the smile on my face just got bigger, we was heading for the first time back through the event village and completing Traverse Rings, Net Pyramid and Ring Slide.

Toughest Amsterdam

With just under 3k complete we had a water station and completed the same amount of obstacles as in the full distance of some other 10k events. After another 2k of trails heavy in obstacles we headed back into the village again for my favourite obstacle, the Platinum Rig followed up by Spinning Wheels, another great obstacle with a tricky fast lane, a long reach would have been a great help on this one. 

All this fun could not get dampened by the light shower Amsterdam offered us as a brief cool down. Back into the village and onto a new obstacle, Urban-Sky Superstructure, this section had a very nice twist to monkey bars, with a drum of bars that rolled along the rig as you passed from bar to bar. The last 2k of the track still had so much to offer, we hit some of the old greats with Money Bars, Traverse Walls, Dragon's Back and the Rope Climb and also the even bigger Trampoline Jump and tricky slippery Ninja Jump. Finally we had past 8k and back at the finish we just had the Ramp to complete before the finish of one of the best events I have ever competed in. Tired and grinning from ear to ear I was sorry it was over but ready for some food. 

Taking some time to catch up with the team and other competitors was great, something we have not done lately due to the cold or rain, it was so nice to put some names to faces and hear other views on the event, my only wish from the event is I wish I could afford to do more Toughest events in Europe. With a relaxing Sunday heading home with the post race withdrawals I now can not wait for Pippingford Park.

Toughest Amsterdam
 
RACE REVIEW – NUCLEAR FALLOUT– Donna Jenner-Hall
Donna Jenner-Hall - Nuclear Races
Nakedness is frowned on by some - Donna Jenner-Hall

Having only ever done 2 Nuclear events in the past, both of which were supporting the Blesma wave and run for fun, I knew I was up for a tough race by starting in the first wave.

The grey, cold, dreary morning was not remotely welcoming when I crawled out of bed at 0630hrs. The temptation to crawl back under the covers after I’d peered out the window was hard to resist but I took myself downstairs and it wasn’t long before the excitement kicked in. Bag packed and ready to go the night before meant I just had my morning dose of coffee and breakfast to sort, and I was out the door. (You’ll be pleased to know I got dressed first. Nakedness is frowned upon by some.)

click here for more ... hide

The journey was problem free, parking easy as pi, registration very clear and very straightforward. The rain was not a pleasant addition to the already cold start. You could say it put a bit of a dampener on it (boom boom) but that’s just not true, the atmosphere was buzzing, the event village was fantastic, literally something there for everyone. They make it a family event, not just a runner’s race.

So, bag dropped and shout outs a plenty for the first wave to enter the warm up area and start zone and before we know it we’re off! It seemed like a mad panic rush to get down the first hill, into the water, up the other side of the ditch and back in the water again before scrambling up the hill where the pack starts to thin out a bit. A few nice easy climb through’s and I’m settling into my own pace.

Having run Nuclear before I had a vague idea of what was to come, or so I thought! WRONG. A completely different mix up, obstacles had moved, new ones had appeared, routes had change, the general brilliance of the whole shebang remained.

In my opinion, this race has it all. Some of the familiar suspects are there such as walls, a frames, tyre scrambles, mud slides, tyre wall, rope swings, pulley, slackline, cargo nets, carries, drags and oh mud, there’s lots of mud. The rain this day just made it all the more fun. Now, if you’ve never experienced a Nuclear Race before then you definitely need to. The more innovative obstacles like: para plunge (zip line), helix, spinning monkeys, death slide, atlas stones, weaver, pole traverse, fireman’s floating pole, the chain drag, dragons back, ninja rings….. I could go on and on. Some of these obstacles you’ll have NEVER seen anywhere else.

The huge fire added enormous clout to the adrenaline surrounding the death slide and zip line area. Again, I was caught out here as I thought I knew the route but nope, proven wrong again as I was sent out of this zone and would come back later to complete the rest.

What I particularly like about this race is the innovative obstacles which just seem to get better and better each time, and each time I’ve returned here I overcome an old fear and maybe gain a new one. The Nuclear obstacles definitely pack a punch.

Wild forest gym, quite rightly placed within the woods, was a great insight as to what they have, it’s now on my to-do list to visit them in the future too.

Fave part for me?? That hot orange from the Pit Stop out on course! Man oh man did that go down well? Totally unexpected so it was the best surprise ever for me. Favourite obstacle? It has to be the zip line. Nuclear team and finish line - I was looking forward to that final GONG!! Muddy hugs and medal at the ready, the welcoming committee were full of smiles to bring us all home.

A quick dunk in the sheep dip then that lovely warm shower to look forward to meant I was reasonably presentable for public viewing once I’d got dressed in the ever so welcome heated changing rooms. T-shirt collected and tea (in my case a cup of hot water for my cuppa soup) and I was all but done.

I wandered back out to welcome others over the line then took off to review the village and start area for the waves that continued to sprawl out over the land. Still all high spirits, things going well, happy finishers, slightly nervous newcomers and excited ready to goers. I wandered down to watch some competitors battle their fears of heights, climbs, jumps before I decided to call it a day. The mood and buzz about the day seemed to be constant throughout.

So, commenting on the practical side of things:
Toilets – plenty of them and conveniently placed.
Shelter in the event village – a sweet touch when seeking cover from the elements.
Bag drop - a long queue but moved quickly and efficiently.
Warm up – just what I needed and totally sufficient.Merchandise and food vendors – something for most peoples tastes.
Marshals – what a brilliant team we seem to be wracking up here in the UK. Despite the weather and temperature, I genuinely felt that they all wanted to be there and were enjoying what they do. Sometimes all you need is a smile or a little bit of encouragement and they had that by the bundle load so well done you lovely lot. Thank you for making the day what it was.

To all the rest of the team working away for months and months behind the scenes I thank you. It’s clearly apparent how much hard work goes into make Nuclear races what it is.
James Parish. Well done on producing such a brilliant event. Your team have done you proud.

I’ve been trying to think of a negative or constructive comment I can feed back to you but the only moan I picked up on was the waiting for the road crossing. Something which just has to be that way though and certainly not important enough to deter anyone from returning.

Hats off to you all. Well done.

Donna Jenner-Hall

 
RACE REVIEW – RockSolid Race – as experienced by Tom Wilson
Race Tips
RockSolid Race - Tom Wilson

Undoubtedly one of the highlights from Mud7, RockSolid Race hosted its final race of the year in Milton Keynes. Having enjoyed their 1km section of Mud7 I was looking forward to finding out how this would transfer to a full course.

Parking was quick and easy, costing £5, which seems to have become the standard fee across most races. Running in the first wave meant an early arrival before registration had even opened, however a small queue was building with eager racers, but the RockSolid volunteers worked efficiently to get people through registration as quickly as possible.

click here for more ... hide

Entering into the event village, I was amazed how professional and organised the area was. Event villages vary from race to race, some looking like they have been thrown together on the morning of the race; however RockSolid had clearly put some thought and effort in. Making great use of the venue, the event village was located in the Silverstone Camping area, just on the edge of the Silverstone Circuit. This provided great access to hot showers, plenty of seating and toilets and an onsite pub for a cheeky pint after the race.

Onto the race itself and I was signed up for RockSolid’s 15km option; the longest of three choices available, with the shorter distances being 5km or 10km. The availability of different distances is a great way to cater for all runners. The course was clearly marked out for the different distances, with coloured markers informing racers where to go.

The MC for the warm up was enthusiastic and got the crowd ready to race (although having recently returned from the Worlds in Canada – he was no Coach Pain!).

Lining up ready to run it was clear the race had attracted a variety of runners. There were familiar faces from the OCR scene and others with the look of panic that is usually reserved for the first timers. However the race is in fact a great introductory race for people new to OCR. There is no chip timing, no bands, no penalties and no placings. All the things we’ve come to find as standard in the current ‘Must Qualify for Championship’ era of OCR. So it was nice to get out there and just race for fun for a change; almost taking you back to the reason you got into it in the first place.

RockSolid

The course itself contained the standard obstacles; walls, cargo net, barbed wire crawl with a few ‘fun’ elements added in. The course contained two water obstacles which had been strategically placed one after another, ensuring that racers didn’t need to get wet and cold repeatedly throughout the course. The first required a 15ft jump into water, more mind over matter. Following successful completion of the jump, you were rewarded with a slide into water, another classic obstacle loved by many. Midway through the course, upon arrival at the next ‘obstacle’, the marshal informed me I had to jump in a sack and hop up and down a hill. Certainly not something I had trained for, and failed miserably at! Still, it was a throwback to my school days for sure. There was a lack of technical obstacles, but this does make the race accessible for all. However, some more seasoned runners may find this disappointing and not enough of a challenge.

RockSolid

Having reached the end of my 15km, a standout and original feature of the race was ‘The Laundrette’. Stepping inside a mammoth washing machine filled with bubbles was a great fun way to end the race before RockSolid’s signature climbing wall up to the finish line. In addition to the obligatory bling, there was hot soup and Chia Charge bars to refuel you for the drive home.

Tom Wilson

RockSolid
 
RockSolid Race
RockSolid Race... Stuart Neall style

So, after getting a taster or Rock Solid Race in the last km of Mud7 back in August, it made sense to give their main event a try. For those that did Mud7 were all in agreement that Rock Solid section stood out, and with just a little sample of some of their unique obstacles they brought, a venture to Milton Keynes, one of 2 of their locations was on the cards.

Arriving at Silverstone Race track, where the event was being held, easy parking with a short walk to the registration tents which had long queues coming out even early on, but once got inside there were desks not being utilised and people didn't really see you could go up to any desk, which could've done with a little better organising, but got seen to eventually. Once identified and race pack/number collected, which included receiving your tshirt at the start, you then walked through to a really well set out event village.

click here for more ... hide

This is where RS had it set up well for competitors and spectators alike, a good mix of food stalls (to be visited later!) coffee stalls, and a permanent pub onsite, along with merchandise stalls and music through the tannoy, it was a great place to congregate just before the start line.

RockSolid

Rock Solid were offering 3 different distances in their event today, 5km, 10km, & 15km, great for beginners and competitors alike. They removed the chip timing facility from last years events based on feedback and to offer a more fun based event but promised a large clock at the start and finish line for those wanting a time, unfortunately I didn't see this at either line, but knowing I was going off in the first wave at 09:40am, managed to time via watch.

Having opted for the 15km, we set off on time after a warm up in the starting corral, the wave included all those doing different distances, and you were identified by the colour bib you wore (5km - Blue, 10km - Red, 15km - Black) with each distance having different cut off sections and different signposts directing you on which route to take. From the start line we immediately hit a succession of hay bales to help spread the pack out before then arriving at some 6ft walls.

RockSolid

Some further running and then into the woods for some trail running and small streams to run through, Barb wire crawls and tyre hops before out into an open section and a RS obstacle seen at Mud7, the tube with climbing blocks on it where you go over then further in the race run through it.

An A Frame followed by a Vert wall with ropes to climb up, then into a field with the first of a water slide. Sadly being in 2nd place at this stage, I don't think they were expecting the runners through so soon and hadn't turned the water on so was a bit of a "dog bum shuffle" to get down it. Next however was a good 25ft rope traverse over a pond, which had a lot of slack in the ropes causing you to really hold your balance well.

Getting you ready for the water they followed this up with the "Bambi stepping stone" pontoons, a grouping of 6 platforms to navigate across the lake whilst trying to keep your momentum to leap from one to the other.

RockSolid

Further running into the woods then greeted you with the "muddy dunk", full submersion under the conveniently placed tree trunk, forcing you to go under and emerge the other side like the monster from the lagoon, again, going through this early on meant it was just water, but it was soon churned up for the later waves that ended up head to toe in mud!

Once out of the woods into a clearing, you took on a structure climbing over/through frame that you would come to go through 3 times as different parts of the course looped through it at different intervals, from here it took you to a field with trail running through a stream, and the point where the 15km split for the first time away from the main course to tackle further distance and obstacles.

On the 15km we then faced a dingy paddle round a buoy and back to the shore, some hill running, a tractor tyre flip lane to and from a set out point, a succession of inverted walls, cargo net hill climb, then onto an evil sack race up the hill and down again, followed straight after with a log carry up the same hill and back, this sapped your legs in succession of each other and  only here did we get our first water station.

Rejoining the 10km route, there were some further cargo net mud crawls and some higher 8ft walls before further water obstacles. These now included the platform jump, 10ft leap of faith off a container into the cold lake and before you could get warm again, straight back into it with their "plummet summit", a water slide with a decent sized kicker at the end! Safety lifeguards were in the water at both obstacles which was good to see.

RockSolid

The course marking wasn't the best in some places with just small flags of tape to identify which way to go, and even I took a wrong turning off the 15km route, and I'd heard a few from the 5km had gone the wrong way also, however as there wasn't that many doing the full 15km, the 3 of us who had broken away kept each other in check with route to go and path to follow.

Back on track, took you back through the frame section again and the only 2nd water station on the course (would've liked to have seen one more over 15km), and then over industrial pipes and mud mounds, more 8ft walls, a log balance over another pond then start to head into the events village again.

Through a nice gimmick obstacle called the "Launderette", designed as a washing machine, you climbed inside to disco lights and full of bubbles/foam, a good way to clean you off before you finish, then over their signature climbing frame truck, using rock climbing hand and foot rests to take you over the side and over the finish line to collect your dog tag medal (colour dependant on distance completed).

Finishing in 3rd place (I'll take that) in around 1hr20mins, the distance was pretty accurate at clocking the 15km, and you received a nice welcoming soup provided by Tideford Organics, and a chia charge bar and water as you crossed the line and had your finishers photo took.

RockSolid

The venue boasted onsite hot showers which were very much welcomed, and then a return to the event village to try one of the many food offerings and the onsite pub!

It was here that you also got to see that they host a kids race called Rock Solid Stars, and whilst the kids races had gone off first thing in the morning, the course they had looked really good with a great array of obstacles and mud for the little ones, and some very muddy children with big smiles.

If you want a good well executed event that is good fun and not too serious for friends and family to take part in, a great set up and lively event village, then I would recommend you give it a go. Nothing too taxing in the way of obstacles, would've liked some technical ones in there, especially as the year before they had monkey bars apparently, but weren't on this course.

Feedback given on some better course marking, and extra water stops, but I would give it a ROCK SOLID 8/10.

Stuart Neall

 
READ OTHER RACE REVIEWS...
Sebamed
LEGACY
Brutal
Rocket Race
OCR European Championships
I wasn't keen on having a band back on my wrist (having broken myself at the 2015 World Champs, and frustratingly lost my band at the UK Champs in the rain and the cold)...

Mud Monsters Review
MUD MONSTERS RUN

Winner of the Mudstacle award for “best event for mud” 2015, could Mud Monsters Run really be any muddier than other ‘mud heavy’ races I’d completed in the past? When they have 4x4’s on hand to winch people out of the mud, you know you are in for some serious fun!

click here for more ... hide

The race started off with a great warm up from Emz Watts of Bootcamp Revolution, who then set us off on our adventure, and what an adventure it was. We began with a few hay bale jumps and then straight onto a set of muddy ditches. The mud then just kept coming thick and fast. There was very sticky, shoe engulfing mud, waist deep mud, muddy rivers and even chest deep mud, all of varying degrees of thickness. The organisers Mark and Becky also made great use of the natural terrain, mixed in with some man made obstacles, including cargo nets, walls, ladder climbs, tyre crawls and log carries. The mud definitely sapped all the energy from your legs, and it was a welcome relief to find some grass to run on dotted round the course. The course was great for spectators who could see some of the more technical obstacles, including the monkey bars, wall climbs, weaver and the ninja rings. There were also opportunities to see the racers wading through the mud in the forest close to the event village.

You never strayed too far from the event village and so you could hear the music, Emz mc’ing and other racers starting, which added to the atmosphere. The course looped back at some parts so you could also see and hear racers in the later waves laughing and shrieking as they tried to pull their friends out of the mud.

The mud levels were helped by the fact we had heavy rain leading up to the event and the venue is a permanent 4 x 4 track, where conveniently, a whole fleet of them had churned the site up nicely a few days before.

There are a number of options on the course, you can take the 5km route, 10 km route or even do multiple laps and do 20km which contributes towards earning a triple-dipped medal if you signed up to complete all 3. I had initially signed up to 20km, but with a knee injury from Nuclear a few weeks earlier, I moved to the 10km distance the week before the event. Mark and Becky were really helpful and quickly changed me to the 10km and even refunded me the difference.

I was pleased to make it round the course with both my shoes still on my feet! The medal and t- shirt afterwards were great, and the triple-dipped medals looked top notch. A great plus was the showers after, which although cold, were much needed to remove the worst of the mud.

I have to admit that I had not heard of this event before and was drawn to signing up by the fact that it was a UK Championships qualifier event, and I was looking to qualify and represent The Pride of Bootcamp Revolution team at the Championships later in the year. Sometimes the fact an event is a qualifier event is seen as taking away the fun, all-inclusiveness of an event. However, what made this event great was the fact that the organisers still catered for all levels. At every Championship obstacle or more technical obstacle there was an alternative obstacle, and so runners didn’t have to go round obstacles at this point. Everyone could have a go at the Championship obstacle if they wanted, so you could really challenge yourself. The event was also made more fun, not only the mud, but the organisers and marshals (providing sweets and general encouragement), as well as the great stalls (in particular, the beer bus!). The event was really well run and I will definitely be adding it to my race calendar in future – I will be earning my triple-dipped medal in October.

I also managed to qualify for the UK Championships. It wasn’t easy – I really struggled at the ninja rings, but eventually conquered them with advice from Tony Campbell and the encouragement from the supporters, so it was a great day all round.

THE RED BULL NEPTUNE STEPS

I'm sitting on an aeroplane making my way back from Glasgow, I'm tired, I'm hungry and I'm licking my wounds from a disastrous attempt at the Red Bull Neptune Steps.  As I sit back in my seat to reflect upon the weekend I glance over to my side to see a couple going through a load of pictures on their camera of the said event and I'm intrigued.  I hold back from making a comment as I'm not feeling in a great place, however after a while and listening to their excited chatter I strike up a conversation; it's only when I do that the enormity of this event sinks in...

click here for more ... hide

The Neptune Steps is a typically crazy event from the Red Bull team that combines an uphill swim with an obstacle race. How can you swim uphill? I hear you shout.  Well you simply use the Maryhill lock system in Glasgow, throw in a bunch of obstacles to get up the lock gates and job done. This event, now in its second year had all the usual hype and razzmatazz that we have come to expect from Red Bull and it's advertised as 'The toughest open-water swimming race in the UK'. Well for me I didn't grasp that concept and simply saw this as another challenge, big mistake!

This event came up on my radar in 2015 when Mudstacle posted it up on one of the OCR Facebook pages. It instantly caught my imagination and although I'm no swimmer I just saw that as another obstacle and wanted in.  The chatter started and obstacle folk were starting to get excited about this one, I was seeing posts about it and I just knew that I should get on it.  Not even the fact that I couldn't swim for toffee was putting me off; however, those few days of procrastination cost me my place as the event was sold out by the time I went to register.  I had missed the boat.  The race came and went, it looked amazing and everyone who was there bagged a complimentary Dry Robe along with a paid bar at the after party ensuring that the awesome OCR fraternity made it a night to remember.

The season rolled on and I quickly forgot about this one until again in 2016 it popped up on my news feed and those excited feelings kicked in again! This time I was determined to get a place.  I wanted to be part of this gig.  I wanted to be a Red Bull competitor and I wanted one of those awesome Neptune Steps Dry Robes too, yep when it comes to race swag, I am that shallow.  So without even discussing this with Mrs Sparta (and only narrowly avoiding a divorce) I got myself a place after some tense moments hovering over the laptop when the event went live.  Good job too as it sold out mega quick.  Now I needed a plan, did I mention earlier about my lack of ability to swim?

Just to be clear, for me I viewed the swimming as just another obstacle and one that would take me out of my comfort zone.  I'm no slouch and I run my own fitness business.  I do ok on the OCR scene so my thinking was 'I've got four weeks of solid training time.  I can do this'.  I wasn't looking to be a contender I just wanted to be confident in the water and comfortable knowing that I could do the distance.  I bought an unlimited swim pass to my local pool and was pumped although also a little bit scared as during my childhood my experiences of swimming had been less than great.  I didn't learn to tread water till I was 16... Yep I know this whole plan seems completely nuts as I couldn't even swim 400m in the pool yet alone in the icy waters of those formidable Glaswegian canals. But isn't this what the whole ethos of OCR is? Well at least in the beginning when as an OCR virgin I graced the soil of Spartan and ran, climbed, pulled stuff, crawled under barbed wire, chucked a spear, leapt over fire and was adorned with a shiny medal from a Spartan Princess at the end - I will never forget that day.

Since then I've come a long way, I race to compete and I love that too, however some of the mystique has gone from the sport as obstacles these days are seldom 'new' with the challenge for me nowadays is learning to run faster.

So this was the draw of the Neptune Steps and what a draw it was!  For an event billed as a swimming race the OCR representation was significant.  ORM were there, Mudstacle were there along with the Dry Robe Massive (I wasn't jealous at this point as I still had the assumption that we're getting one at the end)! It's fair to say that none of us were there as contenders, but instead, like me, this group was up for the challenge and we certainly added some flare to the day.

The event was well supported and the set up was spot on, easy registration, heated changing areas and plenty of toilets.  There were also complimentary hot drinks and food for competitors along with enough Red Bull to sink a battle ship.  Once through the registration process the safety briefings took place and the format was explained, for the men we had a qualifying heat followed by the semis, then a final. The ladies went from qualifying straight to finals and for some reason Red Bull split the available tickets down to 150 men, 50 women which I did find a bit odd as women can swim!

The nerves had already kicked in, the music was pumping and the prospect of my first open water swim could not have worried me more, the whole trip so far had dished out little reminders exposing weakness in my game plan. The final one being as we waited in the tent for our heat to be led out, one of the other competitors, who had up until this time been sat there in a pre race game faced trance looked up, pointed at me and went 'hey a vintage Snug wetsuit'.. My primary goal on this day was not to drown, however this last kick to my confidence actually had me crapping myself and for the first time I was now quite worried for my own safety and questioning my sanity. Hey you're all thinking 'Get a grip Papa Sparta you've had some solid training time behind you'.

Correct this was the plan, however during March my older brother passed away suddenly and without warning; this levelled me.  My training was parked and all of a sudden I had some seriously important stuff to do, the logistics alone were a nightmare as he lived in Swindon and a 2 1/2 drive away from me.  Deep down I knew that NS wasn't for me and that I shouldn't go and as the event drew nearer I grew more tired, I felt ill and a lingering chest infection came back to haunt me; but there was still something inside me that thought I could still conquer this, it's out of my comfort zone, but hey I can do this!

That walk from the tent to the start line was about as close to a final journey of a medieval convict facing a beheading that I will ever get and I was about to get served.  As soon as I got in to that murky  canal I felt my chest tighten and knew that there was nothing that I could do about it.  I lacked the confidence, ability and I had no experience to fall back on.  In a bizarre way this was the fix that I had kinda wanted when I signed up, I wanted to be out of my comfort zone, I wanted to try something new but the danger here being that I was so uncomfortable that I actually felt scared.

The countdown came and went with the front swimmers creating a wash as they powered away to charge down the 165m swim ahead of them, I stayed behind and my pace (or lack of it) kept me behind.

I then entered a place that I was familiar with, I was cold and I felt threatened and in turn I kicked in to survival mode.  One swim I thought to myself, one swim that's it...! As I turned to my side the supportive crowds had raced ahead to see the action and I was left with a safety marshal walking along the side of the bank, I was only half way to the first obstacle at this point but it felt like I had been swimming for ages, I was going to come out.  I then reminded myself why I was there in the first place, found my balls and started swimming again and although I was struggling to breathe I was determined to get to that first obstacle - the cargo net.  As I drew closer the unwelcome force of the water flowing though the sluice gates had me at a stand still and working flat out at a point when I was already done, I then floundered to the side of the lock and grabbed the exit ladder while I gasped for breath. While I was hanging there compensating my life choices a safety marshal had come down the ladder, presumably to get me out. I didn't hear what he said to me and I replied with some mad waving that I was going for the net and before he said anything else I had launched myself straight back at the lock gates. My tale does not continue with ‘epicness’ of success nor completing the course to be greeted by yet another can of Red Bull, that net was as far as I got and after hanging there for what felt like forever with my face taking a constant battering from the canal water the next thing I know is that I'm going up the ladder and I'm out. It didn't take me long to get sorted once I was on dry land so I ran round to the finish line to catch the final swimmers coming in from my heat and to offer some support.

Make no mistake people this event is hard, off the chart difficult and one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever done but certainly one for those who can swim and who want a challenge there is nothing else like it out there. So what about that couple on the plane, the ones with the pictures from the race? Well it turns out that they went up for the day to cheer on their son, he came 4th in the men’s final and he's only a World Champion triathlete! It was then that I didn't feel so crap about my efforts and under the circumstances I felt that I gave it my all but I was still left thinking that I had been hanging out in the big boys playground.

Oh and we didn't get a complimentary Dry Robe plus the after party had a two drink token system which as a non drinker didn't phase me but I certainly wasn't in the spirit of things and on the plus side, I didn't drown.

Papa Sparta.

Gaunlet Games Review
THE GAUNLET GAMES

Having overheard a conversation in a field designated as a parking area, in which an attendant was having the cars park tightly together, but without leaving any space or vacant rows for cars to leave… I was already laughing. Here’s what was said:
“I’m packing the cars in tight.”
“How are we going to get out and leave?”
“Why would you want to leave?”
Well, there you have it, why would you want to leave?

click here for more ... hide

However, his mistake was realised in time and cars were reversed back to create an exit route. Being British, you’d expect a few mumbles, but there were only smiles and friendly giggles. The excitement and anticipation for the obstacle course trumped any usual British reaction.

As we made our way to sign-in, my shoes were already muddy; no avoiding the inevitable, you just embrace it! I collected my race number, attached it with safety pins (provided) to the t-shirt that they give you and headed to the warm-up area. Thrust into a mosh pit of excitable participants, the Gladiators warm you up with the usual stretches as well as a few fun hokey cokey style games – not a frown in the house, or field rather! I really liked the pep talk given just before we set off, which included statements such as, ‘team work’, ‘have fun, it’s your race’ and ‘help one another out’. Although you’re surrounded by a bunch of strangers, everyone was friendly and it felt more like you were running with a bunch of friends.

We were off! As it was my first Gauntlet Games, I opted for the 5k course, however there is a 10k option too which includes even more obstacles. The course began with a short run to the first obstacle, the over and under beams, however, our group decided it was over and over! I witnessed the teamwork as all the participants were desperately trying to clamber over the high beams, with the aid of anyone near by, despite the inevitable muddy hands that resulted from a leg-up! Laughter was contagious and challenges were embraced!

The course continued around the beautiful fields and small hills, adorned with bluebells creating a fabulous setting for a fun assault course. The wacky walls provided a new set of laughs as people tried to clamber over the highest wall; a near impossible solo feat at about six feet high without any divots to assist. I managed the middle wall, with assistance from my friend, but it was tougher than you’d think! We continued through the woods and through the next few obstacles; a balance beam over a pool of water and a giant slip and slide aptly named the Flume of Doom as you inevitably slide into the mud half way down, but so much fun. I used to have a slip and slide when I was a kid, but this one was huge! I then attempted the monkey bars despite the body of water beneath me and didn’t even make it half way, but I did make a splash!

After wading through streams, navigating through (what felt like) rivers and bouncing around on space hoppers, we headed to the next wooded area. The slam dunk tested your aim as you attempted to throw a ball into a bucket. The distance wasn’t a problem, mainly the gladiator knocking them in different directions with his mallet, depriving you of the victorious whirl of a ball swirling to the bottom. If this wasn’t enough, he then tries to block your escape until you get a ball in which was amusing to watch others fail at for some time! We then headed through the woods and were directed down into a tunnel, which looked like it had been built for world war two. I’m still not quite sure what this random concrete tunnel was doing in the middle of a wooded area; it was quite scary!

With the end in sight, we entered the Inflatable Zone. We made our way through inflated tunnels then down the inflatable and bouncy foam filled slide. Tip – don’t laugh down this one, as your mouth will fill with foam! Ugh! A short run down the hill, then back up again as you battle your way through the awaiting gladiators and climb atop the final obstacle, a rope swing onto an inflated crash landing area! Once through the finish line, I felt exhilarated and wished I’d signed up for the 10k… next time.

Looking like the Michelin Man, I was pleased I had packed my post muddy course kit, including a soft towel and change of clothes! Feeling a little cold, the car heating was pumping all the way home, but it was worth it!

Final Thoughts:
There were only a few things that could have made the day even better. The lack of showers, other than from typical English weather, left you quite dirty. At other similar events, they have a hose off area, which would have been useful here, as the Inflatable Zone leaves participants looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man! Due to the moody weather, the event didn’t have much in the way of an after-party. The drizzle meant people left quickly and the catering vans were packing up by the time the last wave of people came through the finish line. The promised hot tea at the finish line was denied as the van had run out of water! Oversight? I was disappointed at the lack of photographers posted around the course as they seemed to be at the start and finish lines only. Luckily, I took my Go-Pro to record the day, but many of my pictures are a little blurry due to the foam, mud, water, etc! Had it been my first obstacle course, it would have been nice to have had the option to purchase pictures with a vast selection, not just the final moments.

I believe this course is great for first-timers as it is relatively easy, especially compared to some of the more intense courses on offer out there. If there is an obstacle that you don’t want to do, you don’t have to do it, no bullying here. The Gauntlet Games is especially fun with friends, so I would recommend setting up a team and roping in as many willing teammates as possible! A group of ‘Pink Ladies’ ran passed me, all dressed up and clearly having a blast.

I really enjoyed the Gauntlet Games and would definitely go again, but I’d do the 10k for a harder challenge and drag along more friends. There were a few obstacles that I had seen advertised, but did not come across, so these must be exclusive to the 10k course. I am disappointed I missed these, but it gives me another reason to go again! of the Neptune Steps and what a draw it was!  For an event billed as a swimming race the OCR representation was significant.  ORM were there, Mudstacle were there along with the Dry Robe Massive (I wasn't jealous at this point as I still had the assumption that we're getting one at the end)! It's fair to say that none of us were there as contenders, but instead, like me, this group was up for the challenge and we certainly added some flare to the day.

Obstacle Mud Runner Magazine
Obstacle Mud Runner Magazine
Obstacle Mud Runner Magazine
Obstacle Mud Runner Magazine
Obstacle Mud Runner Magazine
Obstacle Mud Runner Magazine
Obstacle Mud Runner Magazine
Obstacle Mud Runner Magazine