A mere 21 hours had passed since I’d finished a day of intense racing at Urban Attack in Manchester and I was back in my racing gear on the start line for another obstacle course race. This time it was 5k in distance and back in the great outdoors. Luckily the venue was a lot more local at Hellindon lakes just a 35 minute drive from home.

I’ve done six MSB events before including one on this course at the same time last year but this was to be their final one before passing over to Escape Races who had joined them for the set up and seemed keen on making a good first impression so I was intrigued to see what challenges awaited.

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My Parklands Tough Running team were out in force again

I was on a tight schedule as I was hosing my own Santa fun run in the afternoon so could only do the 5k and had to miss the 10k which was to be ran a couple of hours after. In truth I was quite pleased about this after the efforts of the day before but frustrated when the start time was but back by 30 minutes due to a very slow registration process.

Eventually we got underway with an elaborate prison breakout themed start which was all part of the new organisers big ideas. I can’t knock them for trying.

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Several runner started quickly and it took me a while to make my way through to the top few places and when I finally did we went the wrong way having to back track and rejoin the course meaning I had to play catch up for a second time.

Around a mile in the first three were clear. I was running alongside Adam from Team Ram Run who had ran in the other final from me the previous day and pipped me by a tenth of a second. I moved to the front and the two of us pulled away. I held a 10- 20 meter lead for much of the remainder of the race as we crossed two freezing cold lakes and rounded countless others fighting the way through bogs of tangly reeves.

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A few new obstacles had been added but it was much the same as 12 months previous. My arms were feeling tired but my legs felt ok. I tried to push the running on where I could but it was very much a case of stop start. As we reached a section of woodland my lead was still slender. I got up the rope climb without a problem and then my hight advantage helped me gain some ground on a succession of tricky horizontal log jumps.

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Just as I thought I might have created the gap I needed with only a few hundred meters to go I arrived at a log hoist. There were three ropes to chose from. I pulled on the first one I came to but the log as going nowhere fast. After a couple move failed attempts I hung my entire bodyweight from the rope and still physically couldn’t lift it. By this time Adam had arrived and without hesitation completed the job seemingly with ease and ran off into the distance. It was at this point that the marshal chose to tell me the logs were of different weights. I moved to the same one Adam had used and pulled it up and down immediately.

I quickly gave chase but with only a short distance remaining which included clambering over some huge boulders, climbing a couple of A frames and pushing a tyre through a narrow tunnel there just wasn’t enough areas to open up on and I had to settle to second place crossing the finish line just two seconds behind.

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In what will be my last competitive OCR of 2015 I was a little disappointed not to end the year with a win but happy with what I’ve achieved over the past 12 months.

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