This was to be my last OCR of what has been an amazing year so I wanted to go out on a high. I was excited by the new venue of Hellindon lakes golf and spa but apprehensive about the cold weather. Saturday had brought freezing conditions with frost and ice everywhere. Luckily on Sunday’s race day the temperature had slightly risen and rain over night had put pay to having to break through any ice. It was however still a very chilly day.

On the start line we were given the news that there were 7 lake crossings on each of the two 5k laps that made up this 10k race, three of which were too deep to wade through so required swimming. It was too late to back out now!

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The first part of the race was mostly running so I found myself in what was a leading pair. We entered the first lake together and were sent the wrong way across it which gave the chasing pack a chance to catch up. We had I jump back in and follow the correct route. I clambered out and gave chase alone. I caught all but one who had developed a good lead but there was a long way to go so I wasn’t panicking.

I closed the gap to approximately 15 meters then sat in. I noticed I was catching up on the obstacles but not gaining much ground on the running sections, which is the opposite to what I normally find in these races. I later found out the reason for this. The leader was a very strong middle distance runner in his first OCR.

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Several freezing cold lake crossings later the first and only hill of the race came at around the 4.5k mark. I made my move and regained first place. Once over the summit I was met with the main bulk of obstacles all in the start/ finish area which gave me a chance to extend my lead before completing the first lap which also signified the half way point. My fingers were numb. I ran as hard as I could on the running section that followed wiggling my hands frantically to get the blood running again but the thought of doing all those lake crossings again was very daunting indeed.

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I knew I just had to get on with it and power through. The faster I moved the warmer I would be and the sooner I’d be finished. This tactic helped to build a significant lead, one that turned out to be an insurmountable one. I knew the win was in the bag and that really seemed to help fight off the cold. I completed the second lap almost as fast as the first one even though I was slowed by runners I was lapping and I came home almost five minutes clear.

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The weather and amount of water of course made this race idea preparation for Tough Guy which will more than likely be my next OCR.

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