Earlier this year, Dirty Dozen Races announced that they would be hosting the first ever OCR UK Championships in Kent. For me this event came at a great time as I was full of confidence following my selection for the OCR world champs and I felt this was the perfect platform to prove I was worthy of my place.
There were 6k, 12k and 18k race options and although during my 18 month spell since taking up this sport I had always chosen the longest possible distance to challenge myself personally but this was a championship so I decided to go for the race I thought best suited my strengths so coming from the middle distance background I do, I went for the 6k. This was shorter than any OCR I’ve done before so I was going to have to take a slightly different approach in my tactics.
The race went off in waves, mine being the first ‘elite’ wave for those who wanted to contest for the title so it was a much smaller field than normal but one of a high standard.
My aim was to go off amongst the leaders making sure nobody got away then push on when I felt the time was right. I had noticed when warming up around the course that there were plenty of running sections which had only increased my confidence further and within the first half a mile I was clear in second place with the leader only a few seconds in front of me.
I moved up onto his heals during the early section of woodland running which involved a few stream crossings then we were side by side as we hit the first few wall climbs but before I knew it I found myself in the lead.
I pushed on in the September sunshine and created a gap between myself and the rest of the field. Within the first mile or so I was well clear. It all seemed a little too easy. That was until I reached a suggestion of energy sapping trench jumps straight after 3 barbed wire crawls. These were really tough. Once the jump to clear the water had been negotiated there was no grip what so ever to clamber back up. They seemed to go on for an age but once completed another running section lied ahead.
I used this to extended my lead in what was the hottest weather I’ve ever ran an OCR in so I was actually relieved when I reached the sheep dip. 3 successive underwater submerges. Once out I felt fully refreshed and kicked on. It felt great to have a comfortable lead in such a high esteemed race. I knew that baring any major mishaps this title was mine for the taking but the monkey bars followed and a 20 burpee forfeit was in effect so any slips could cost me dearly.
Theses weren’t any old monkey bars either. Dirty Dozen’s constructions are never small and this was one of their centre pieces. They were made tricky by slopping upwards then back downwards and were suspended high above water. I went for it and was massively relieved to find my grip was good and I made it across without incident. The championship was now within reach.
I clambered up and over a huge rope climb and entered the final field with the finishing arch in sight. It wasn’t over yet though. There were several massive wall climbs to negotiate but I’ve always been pretty good on walls and none of these caused me any problems including the 10 footer which was the final obstacle before the finish line. I had made it. I was the UK champion!