I’d entered this event to accompany my wife round for the second of her three OCR’s for her charity challenge for Macmillan cancer care (www.virginmoneygiving.com/bexfaye). A nice relaxed trot round the 12k course suited me fine just six days after the London marathon and with the Wing for Life World run the following day. However family commitments meant I had to pull out of Sunday’s event so I had decided to also race the elite 12k wave before going round with Becky.
I wasn’t sure how my legs would hold up but I felt I’d recovered well and was ready to give the race a good go. It was a strong field with Muddy Kit bringing almost their full elite team as well as a few other well known faces on the OCR circuit.
After a fairly flat, obstacle free start I was one of a group of 6 that had got away from the rest. That was until we came out of a wooded section and the course opened up for us to find that most of the rest of the field had taken a wrong turn following the 6k route. As we worked our way back to the front the leading group went down to three. Myself, Lee Pickering and Shawn Crew. Both racers I knew of well who always finished highly.
After a long, swampy bog wade we were neck and neck, allowing time for a little chat about how so many runners had managed to go the wrong way and Lee revealed someone had told him that there were still three in front of us. We gave chase, the lead changing several times but Lee making the best effort to create a gap. I kept pace until the 7k point where some extremely tough hills made my legs reminded me I had 26.2 flat out miles in them less than a week ago and I slightly lost touch.
I did however manage to close down the other three overtaking the first not once but twice somehow. He really needs to work on his navigational skills!
A succession of high quality obstacles followed including an epic water slide, one of the biggest, longest and fastest I’d ever had the pleasure of experiencing, a 30 meter swim in what I was told was 18 foot deep water, a unique obstacle that involved squeezing under a cage like space and pulling yourself uphill by a rope, several different yet all testing wall climbs, some fire pits and more hills, so steep a rope was attached to haul yourself up and lower yourself down.
I then came to the final 2k. A part of the course I had ran on my warm up. I still hadn’t caught the other two who took a wrong turn early on but knew it was mainly flat running for the next kilometre and one of them was finally in my slights. I could take finishing behind Lee and Shawn but I wanted to make sure the result was a legitimate one so I was determined to get that final podium place which I felt was rightfully mine.
I flew into fourth place and pushed on. The third placed runner then appeared the the distance, he had a big target on his back and I was gathering pace ready to strike it down. As I got closer and closer I knew a long steam wade followed where any overtaking opportunities would be few and far between and there wasn’t much running left after that so I needed to get ahead of him now. I did it just in the nick of time and I wasn’t giving it up.
After the stream came another slide, this one was much smaller than the last but still great fun. I slide down and headed down the final couple of hundred meters to the finish. Over one more wall and I was done.
I was happy with third on the day and pleased to have mixed it up with two class racers for so long on tired legs as well as beating many others. No time to rest though, 15 minutes later I was off again, this time with the wife.
This lap was at a much slower pace but in truth wasn’t as easy as it could have been and I was thankful I wasn’t racing again. Becky did amazingly well considering the lack of training she’s done and impressed with her technique over the obstacles.
24k done it was a very constructive days work. Looking forwards to racing some of the UK’s best obstacle course racers again later in the year but for now the attention turns to upping the miles future in readiness for Endure 24 next month.