10 miles in the company of an awesome team and a tyre
Another Saturday race meant due to work I wouldn’t be able to make the elite wave but with my next quest to reach 100 miles in 24 hours just a week away I was quite happy to run this one with my Parklands Tough Running team mates but to make the challenge a little tougher I had decided to take our mascot Tarquin the tyre round the 10 mile obstacle course with me.
After a 5.30am start to get my work done in time I made the 1 hour 45 minute journey to Ollerton, Nottinghamshire along with my 60 year old Dad who was taking on only his second ever OCR.
We arrived in time for the last wave of the day at 12pm and the first thing I noticed was all racers were required to start the race carrying a tyre. As I had aimed to do every task with my tyre this meant I would start off carrying two so along with my Dad and another seven team mates we set off on the 5 mile lap, some planning to complete one lap, others including myself were going for two.
The tyre carry lasted roughly half a mile before everyone else was able to drop theirs and I carried on with mine for the proceeding log jumps and crawls. I though this was a great way to start as so many OCR’s rightly get going with a prolonged run to spread competitors out before the obstacles arrive to reduce queuing so this did that but still offered a challenge right from the get go.
A short run brought us to a 6 foot wall jump and climb before a swampy water wade carrying another tyre (so two for me again). We then entered the woods which would play host to a large majority of the remainder of the course.
The brilliant use of natural terrain as obstacles in this event can, in my opinion and experience of OCR’s, only be rivalled by that of Ram Run. Every turn brought about a different challenge from lake wades to weaving through a huge maze of trees, from mud crawls to hill slaloms, all exceptionally marked out with thin rope and all broke up with well placed man made obstacles such as monkey bars, inverted walls and two further carries. This time it was a log and a sandbag. There was also a hell of a lot of crawling obstacles.
I completed everything with the tyre, especially pleasing myself by fully clearing the monkey bars of both laps.
Each lap ended with a testing 400 meter straight of consecutive hay bale jumps placed 20 meters apart before coming back into the event village area where a scaffold structure involving an awkward clamped onto a platform with more monkey bars and a slide into mud signified the end of the race or the start of another lap.
These monkey bars offered a hard and easier route with one set of bars much more spread out than the other. I took the hard route with Tarquin over my shoulder and managed to get across mainly due to my long reach. This obstacle did however bring about one of few negatives.
One of my team lost their grip and fell from the monkey bars, which certainly isn’t uncommon as many people find this one of the toughest challenges in obstacle course racing, and took quite a heavy fall onto the wooden boards below. I would have liked to have seen something that would offer a much softer and safer landing. What I will say though is that a large number of marshals were immediately on hand to help her out and thankfully she was not only injury free but also able to continue for another lap.
The only other negative I could give is that there weren’t enough water stations on course. In fact other than at the start/ finish area there was only one which was empty when we got there. Dash of the Titan have big plans for next year with a 12 hour race planned. If these points are addressed they’ve got all the tools to produce something great that the UK OCR seen hasn’t yet experienced.
On a personal note I was very happy with how comfortable I felt for the vast majority of the race. The pace was a lot slower than I’m used to but the tyre did offer a genuine challenge but one I felt I coped with very well. The actually course distance was closer to 6 miles than the advertised 5 so almost 12 miles in total for my team and I who all really enjoyed the day.