When marshals turn nasty!

After a morning at work in Kettering I made the short journey over to Rockingham for this 10k obstacle course race.

As well as a bit of morning rain the venue had already played host to a 5k race too so just getting out of my car and walking to registration was a muddy slog within itself. It was a great set up so as expected I could tell this was going to be an all round good event and I was hoping the course would match up to the race village where both the start and finish arches stood tall.

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I set off in the first wave at 12pm and within seconds I was crawling under a giant cargo net along with hundreds of others. Once back on my feet a fairly flat, even running section followed for the next 1k or so which spread out the field leaving myself within the first 3 as we reached the first section of obstacles and the first set of Marshals known as Reapers in this event. Their job was to inflict extra pain by setting various random tasks, mostly body weight exercises as they saw fit. 5 wall jumps and box crawls later along with 3 sets of 10 press ups and I was back into my running but not for long as lots more obstacles and sadistically enthusiastic Reapers followed.

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At around 2k in the leading group of 3 became 2 as one runner was ordered to do 10 sit ups in shallow water for not listening to the Reaper’s demands on crawling on hands and knees under a cargo in muddy water. From this point on I took the lead and worked hard to extend it.

After 2 heavy water container carries, some woodland running and a succession of press ups, burpees and squad jumps I reached a hill. It was only 1 singular hill of approximately 70 meters from bottom to top but it had been taped off in a cruel and relentless slalom involving at lease 15 climbs up and down. It was really tough but it did give me a great indicator of exactly how far ahead of my rivals I was and allowed me to gage weather I was loosing or gaining ground. I pushed hard and it was a comforting feeling not only to be finally leaving the hill but to be leaving all the other behind still working hard as I was off, back on the flat ground and gaining momentum.

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At this point the reward for being in first place wasn’t a pleasant one as I had to trample my way through waist high, untouched nettles, twigs and brambles creating a path for those in pursuit of me.

Two more hilly sections followed which again allowed me to get a view of what was now 2 runners trying to chase me down. The second section involved more press ups and burpees at the summit of each hill and a double tyre carry. This is all areas I work on during my training so I was feeling strong and confident that I could push on which I did. I flew through the next section of uneven running mixed in with some wall climbs, fence jumps and web crawls.

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I arrived back into the event village area well clear and could really enjoy the final section of monkey bars, a water dunk, slide, tyre flip and succession of walls along the home straight. As I reached one it looked like a 2 man job to get up and over it so I was told by a reaper to do 10 press ups instead. I did them before realising that this was in fact the final obstacle so then went back for another go and managed, rather unorthodoxly, to get myself over it before a victorious run in to the finish line.

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As well as the finishers medal and t-shirt, my prize for first place was a cap from the merchandise shop and a full crate of Crabbies ginger beer from behind the bar which I was well pleased with.

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I really enjoyed this event. It was a good course and played to a lot of my strengths which allowed me to cruise the majority of the distance (which was actually closer to 12k than 10k) but still feel like I’d had a quality workout.

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