Anyone who knows me is well aware of how much I love obstacle races... I honestly haven't found anything else to do on a weekend that is as much fun!
Why do I love them so much? Well, I enjoy the way that running is interspersed with challenges along the way, as well as the constant changes to the terrain you're running on, and the way they channel your inner child - running an OCR is like playing in a big kid's adventure play ground!
Perhaps even more so, I enjoy the team spirit of them. Having the hand-eye coordination of a sloth (I assume they are lacking in that though to be fair, a sloth's may well be better!) I've never been any good at all at the usual team sports; netballs have a tendency to bounce off my face, footballs career away at strange angles to bounce off other people's faces and I have no idea what a hockey ball would do because I'm usually running in the opposite direction away from those big
scary sticks!!! Obstacle racing gives me the opportunity to take part in a team sport despite these shortcomings... plus, I've got pretty good at throwing myself over walls and wading through knee-high mud!
Today's obstacle race was brilliant fun. For the first time, I took part in the Royal British Legion's Major Series at Bramhall Park, Leeds. It's run in association with BMF where I've been a member for years but for reasons unbeknown to me, I've never taken part in the race.
The setting is great, a range of terrain including woodland, fields, water and mud... lots and lots of mud! The obstacles were fun too, making good use (as you'd expect of a military inspired course) of the natural terrain in addition to climbing nets, disappearing bridges and a water slide.
Plus, what I noticed as I ran round is how it's accessible to everyone. It's timed with a chip so if you are a seasoned OCR racer, there's the opportunity to race for time and place. Equally, BMF instructors are placed at every obstacle along the course doing what they do best - helping, encouraging and motivating - so if it's your first time at something like this, you know there are people there to get you through it and keep you going.
With the slogan 'No Mud, No Glory!', the Majors lived up to expectations and there was mud galore. Having done a fair few OCRs over the past couple of years, I thought I'd experienced more mud than most but this took things to the next level. There are moments on the course when you're chest deep in thick mud, barely able to move that you wonder whether it's time to reassess your life... is this normal?... what the hell, probably not, but it is fun!
And anyway, the free porridge at the end as well as the medal and technical t-shirt ensured everyone was well rewarded with glory!
I think the Major Series is now a feature in my race calendar for next year... In fact I might have already convinced my friend to sign up to the March one... watch this space!
Want to run your first obstacle race in 2017? Build the speed and endurance to PB in your next OCR? Just want to be strong enough to drag yourself or your friends out of the mud? If you live in North Manchester or the surrounding areas, get in touch to see how personal training with Spark Fitness can help you achieve any of this... and more!