Obstacle course racing?? this is a bit different isn’t it!
Having done running races, cycle challenges and sportives, I decided to try my hand at an obstacle course race (OCR) to mix things up and test myself in a different way. The Men’s Health Survival of The Fittest OCR held in London is the first of two OCR events I have signed up for, with Tough Mudder Yorkshire to come in two weeks time.
I was doing this OCR with one of the guys I met on the Death Valley ride last year (DEATH VALLEY CYCLE CHALLENGE 2016 MEGA BLOG!!!), Phil, who has become a really good friend, his daughter Hayley and her friend Mel joined us. Hayley and Mel are OCR veterans whilst Phil and I are new to this so we were very much following the girls lead. I was due to be running the Vitality Move 10k the day after so I wasn’t planning going crazy today.
The OCR was being held in the car park at Wembley Stadium with a few runs around some of the local roads and streams. I got the first train down to London and met up with Phil and the girls 30 mins prior to our start time of 10:30.
We held back at the start to let the quicker runners go ahead, for our first obstacle of the day we had to scramble over hay bales stacked up, a nice easy start, we then spent the next 1:47 mins crawling under things, climbing, jumping, swinging, lots of running up and down the steps around the stadium carrying sand bags and cones.
There was also a big water slide that went from the upper concourse down to ground level, which felt pretty big to me but Hayley said that in previous years the slide had been a lot bigger than this one. We think that they have had to change things around a little this year with a lot of construction work going on around the stadium. A little further around the route we veered off the road through the trees and down a dirt path to a stream or storm drain. We had to jog about a quarter of a mile through the water before returning back on to the road again. With it being a hot sunny day, this was actually quite nice and cooling on the feet and legs but I did try to forget what might be in that water.
Once back on dry land we headed back to the car park for more sand bag carrying, a rinse off under a big hose and the final challenge a wall. Luckily Mel knew what she was doing and gave us all a boost over the wall before flying over it by herself, show off lol.
All in all I really enjoyed my first OCR experience, I did feel that a lot of the obstacles were not too difficult and it was a lot of running and carrying which is all good for the marathon training anyway. Most of all, it was really good to spend a few hours with Phil. I had not seen him since we went our separate ways in Las Vegas last year, so I really enjoyed running around chatting with him and having a good catch up. We will be meeting up again next month for a leisurely bike ride around Cheshire, something I am really looking forward to.
Would I recommend the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest? yes I think I would do, it would depend on what you are wanting to get out of it. If you are after a tough challenging course with big obstacles then I this wouldn’t be for you, but if you are new to OCR like me or looking for an event to take on as a team building exercise or just a charity challenge then this is ideal for you.
Next up for me is the full Tough Mudder in Yorkshire, after today I am now looking forward to this one even more and I think it will be a little more challenging than today was.