Archive for : May, 2015

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Mudstacle Sprint Series: Wild Forest Gym

The 25th of May marked the start of the Mudstacle Sprint Series, hosted by Wild Forest Gym. A 2.2km course tightly compact with around 30 obstacles, the majority being very upper body specific so it was a killer on the arms.

Arriving (on time as per) at 8:00am sharp to register then meeting up with a few others, we eagerly awaited instructions from Michael Cohen who would lead us through today’s events.

We were first divided into groups and taken around the course to get familiar with it and to make sure we all knew where we were going, something i’d like to point out is pretty important as getting lost in the woods isn’t always fun, luckily for me though there weren’t any bears in these woods so i didn’t have to worry too much 😀

Anyway…It was an easy enough route to follow with white markers sticking out of the ground for the first 700m before the split for the “Trail Run” and “Obstacle Course”. You can probably guess which we had to follow.

After our little tour, which was gracefully taken by Caine Johnson might I add, we were allowed a play, sorry i meant practice, on the obstacles before the races begun!

***bonus info*** Little does FFC know, Brocket Gear has now taken Christie Wright under their orange wing.
Just kidding, you can have her back ;-D

So there were 20 heats of 4-5 people with a 2 minute gap between each heat, and the fastest 3 made it through to the quarter finals etc.
I was in heat 11 so i had a chance to watch the other heats shoot off and squeeze in a warm up, thinking i had more time that i actually had I watched as 3 guys shot off the starting line, at this point i knew my heat was coming up so I asked what heat had just left as i was wondering why there were only 3 (should have been 4) and i was told it was heat 11. I WAS LATE!!!
I shot off like a Brocket (excuse the pun) as the 3 guys in front already had the upper hand due to my lack of timing and concentration, what made it worse is i didn’t know who they were, so for all i knew they could have been semi-pro sprinters or clones of Jonathon Albon. Basically i had to put my foot down and move it because i really didn’t want to get knocked out during the heat stages.

Weaving through the forest like a rabid, orange squirrel I made up the places and got myself into 1st within the 700m run. I couldn’t ease up though as they could have been like monkeys over the obstacles, and with the tyre wall being the first of many i found myself being overtaken, i jumped down and was playing catch up again. Next up were the parallel bars, I opted for the double arm sliding technique (obviously the professional name for it) and I hopped back into 1st. After the monkey bars and rope climb i had managed to make a sizable gap on the other 3, and knowing i was doing this again shortly afterwards i didn’t want to be too burned out so i eased up a bit.

 

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On to the quarter finals and I was up against a very familiar face but one i hadn’t seen for a while, none other than a Mr Stuart Parsons, of Muddy Kit. It’s always a great battle between the 2 of us so to be racing against him again was exciting. With no idea what either of us would be like on such a short and obstacle heavy OCR compared to the longer races we’re used to, i thought it best to try and gain a lead on him during the run before we hit the major obstacles.

I gained a small lead but he was always hot on my tail right when we came up to the obstacles, we were neck on neck on the rings and we entered the tyre squeeze at exactly the same time. As we approached the monkey bars, which had a rope traverse in the middle which was a definite game changer, I managed to pull away and gain a sizable lead. Over a large wooden structure and on to the rope climb, I had managed to climb to the top of the rope (7 meters high) just as Stuart was approaching, I slid down and knew now I should be safe with the quarter pipe to go followed by a short run to the finish. I managed 1st place in my quarter final but it was hard fought throughout to secure it.

I think Stuart came 2nd or 3rd which meant I would see him again in the semi final. His chance for revenge.

The competition was getting tougher and tougher each round and joining me in the semi final along with Stuart was Adam Teszke from Inov8 and Alex Loudon from MIT. I made sure I was ready and waiting on the start line as I didn’t fancy playing catch up with this lot.
Away we went with Adam leading, myself in 2nd and Stu and Alex not too far behind. Stuart was once again making me work hard as we were neck and neck on the rings but this time i managed to pull away from him straight after the tyre squeeze and keep a gap open from there for me to take 2nd and into the final.

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Icebugs working well!

I was up against teammate Ross, Adam Teszke, Shaun Bucknole and Tristan Steed. Michael Cohen decided to make the final a little more interesting and add in the 360 metre jump course straight after the obstacle course.
I set off quickly sitting behind Ross and Adam with Tristan and Shaun close behind, though this only lasted for a few hundred meters before my back started to hurt and a sharp pain was shooting through me as i ran. It was bearable but slowed me down. Ross, Adam and Tristan were now out of sight and it was between myself and Shaun for 4th place,  I would lead on the running and Shaun would overtake on the obstacles, it played out like this until we hit the monkey bars where i managed to scurry across them quicker than Shaun and gain a decent lead.

Up the rope then over the quarter pipe, followed by a short run to the end of the obstacle course but continuing on to the jump.
This part of the day was by far my least graceful as by the end of it i was covered head to to in mud from managing to jump into most of the mud/water rather than over it like you’re intended to do (doesn’t sound very OCR to jump over the mud but it was the “jump” course after all). Either i was tired so didn’t have much energy to jump or it was karma telling me not to scoff a couple apple and black current pies earlier in the day. They were tasty pies though, so it was definitely worth it. Sainsbury’s finest.

Well done to Ross for winning and earning the WFG Male Legend tree stump, that’ll sit nicely on your mantel piece :-)

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A very different style of OCR which many of us aren’t use to, it made for a run yet intense race and one i’m looking forward to doing again.

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Brocket Gear Race Team does Rat Race Dirty Weekend

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Faye, Jayne, Laura, Phill and Tim all represented the Brocket Gear Race Team this weekend at Rat Race Dirty Weekend. Faye, Phill and Tim headed off first in wave 1 and Jayne and Laura joined the Mudstacle and Dutch Mud Men in wave 2. An amazing weekend was had by all, here are a few words and pics from each of the team on their experiences:

Phill

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Having run RRDW for the first time last year I came back with a target of beating my previous time of 3:31:40. This was going to be tough going with my lack of upper body training due to my dislocated finger from 8 weeks ago but felt quietly confident my running would get me through. I started the race feeling fairly confident but a bit tired after only a few hours sleep (sleeping in a tent is not ideal prep for 20 miles and 200 obstacles). Just before mile 8 and the main water section I was starting to feel pretty sluggish and with my right calf feeling tight, I really struggled with the water area, having to rely on fellow racers to pull me up on to all the pontoons due to not being able to grip properly. Out of this and onto the water jump which was done at the 2nd attempt, down the water slide and cramp hit my calf in the exact same place as 12 months earlier making the swim across the lake slow and painful. From this point on it was all about just completing the course rather than going for a time as the last of my energy had been sapped.

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After a few soul searching moments at the cut off point for the half mucker deciding whether to call it a day or carry on and get round the course, I decided on the latter and carried on. I completed the course in 4:04:19 which was over half an hour longer than last year, although the course was about a mile longer (and from conversations tougher) than previous years. After refuelling and an afternoon nap it was off to the after party for a few drinks and to enjoy the atmosphere. The highlight of the evening for me was Craig Charles who was superb. Already booked up for next year and looking forward to beating my 2014 time.

Jayne

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I’d been looking forward to RRDW since last year, but I knew this year would be so much bigger and better! Last year I barely knew anyone but this year I was camping with a few hundred friends from the UK , Holland & Belgium. How insane to think in a year you can make so many fantastic like-minded friends!!!

I arrived with Chris White , Mark Leinster & Sally Wright & set up camp before joining in with the Dutch advance camping team for a few innocent Flugels. Soon the camping area filled and the Dutch Mud Men & Chicks arrived on their plush double decker coach – time for the party & dirty undies run to begin!!!

For some reason I was really dreading the actual race – I knew I’d frozen at the water jump last year, and had almost slipped at the top of the tyre wall, so to find both obstacles were even higher this year was panicking me although heights don’t bother me!!

I decided to don my yellow Mudstacle tee to run in wave 2 with the Mudstacle & DMM runners. I chose my brand new Ice Bug Zeals for this race which was without a doubt the best choice I made that day!

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The race started and I felt much better , I managed a comfortable pace and found myself with Sy Goss for much of the time bringing back memories of JD Bordon. I enjoyed the obstacles and found an added confidence as my Zeals didn’t slip on any surface – I ran across the tyres on a pole while others sat straddling and felt my balance in all obstacles was good. One very happy lady indeed!

I have to be one of the few who loved the water section – I feel far better after a good dunking & so far have found I don’t get cramp after like so many did (must be the Guinness!)

My biggest disappointment was the jump …. I was so worried but not jumping wasn’t an option – however as you climbed up something took my body over and made me run to the lower jump and just go! (Still cross with myself for that!)

The rest of the race went rather slowly and became quite painful – I was aware of my IT band getting a bit tight & found I was doing a lot of run/power walking. I found the race totally exhausting …. Going past the bail out at 13 miles was hard and those last 7 miles felt much further.

I lost Sy and Mark MM Turner after the water slide when Sy had kindly pushed me down faster (OK crashed into the back of me!), so the rest of the race was lonely – just the same 3 faces who like me were run/walking or cramping as we took turns overtaking each other .

I finally finished in 4hrs 35 which I was pleased about despite being 12 mins slower than last year. My fears for the obstacles were unnecessary as I enjoyed them, but the exhaustion was what I needed to train more for. The water crossing & hurdles for the 140m monkey bars zapped my energy – but all was worth it for the amazing after party !

I’m not sure being blamed for drinking all the Dutch guys Flugel was quite fair – and being forced bottles of rum punch and a nasty Ouzo type drink as punishment definitely set me up in the party spirit!

One of the best parts for me was spending so much time with my team mates & chatting with Icebug UK GM John too. Love my girls and hugs – we eventually left as the last there Sunday at 1220 knowing next year will be even bigger!!!

Tim

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This was my first shot at RRDW, and in all honesty I was completely unprepared. Cancelling three weekends’ of events in a row meant that I jumped at an opportunity to do a “biggie” so signed up with only a week or so’s notice. While I’ve been relishing putting some training time in using my new found freedom following the merge of Obstacle Kit with Brocket Gear, my training has only been over short distances. I took the decision to not look at the course map or any of the obstacles, knowing only what I remembered from reading reviews of last year’s race.

With only a few hours’ sleep I arrived on Saturday morning and lined up in the elite wave alongside RPCC’s Katie Keeble who I’ve run with at a few races now. I knew that despite her just coming off of holiday, she’d still give me a real push over the distance which is exactly what I would need as I tend to get distracted easily over the longer distance races.

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We shot out at a great pace and settled down after a km or two, tackling some great obstacles including a few I’ve never done before, such as crawling through cars. What struck me about the course was that the quality of obstacles was fantastic throughout, despite the quantity of them. It would be easy to become lazy when trying to come up with 200 obstacles in a single race, but I’m happy to report that this was not the case. We had a jittery first half between the two of us suffering from a combination of tired legs and not being able to settle. We both had a bit of a moment in the lake crossing just after the water slide and I must say I’ve never been so pleased to see dry land before!

The jittery start was soon put to bed when KK’s legs came back to life and I seemed to get a second wind after fighting some crippling cramp (I forgot my Zeropoint calf sleeves and paid the price!) At mile 15 we were able to start laying some pace down, and with a constant stream of people to catch in the last 5 miles we finished very strong, personally feeling like I could have gone again, with a bit more food in me, and my calf sleeves.

RRDW was an amazing event in terms of atmosphere and quality in both the race and the event village. This is now set firmly in my diary for 2016 as a must-do event, but with a bit more prep next time.

Faye

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For two whole years I’ve wanted to do RRDW. Mainly I couldn’t afford it, so this year it was my Christmas gift from my family. I didn’t do any specific training for it, I’ve done a couple of marathons so I knew I had the miles in my legs and obstacles are my speciality so didn’t think I’d have a problem and went on to enter wave 1 & set off on my own!

I really enjoyed the first half of the event, great obstacles and amazing competition! The water section was so much fun, but after getting out the wind went straight through me. I’ve never been so cold. I was extremely disoriented and emotional and was quite happy to DNF for a couple miles- yet managed to warm up in time to tackle the famous monkey bars. I got further then most females, but very disappointed to not reach the end due to numb fingers (my thumbs are still tingly 4 days after!) Altogether I did find the event long and lonely simply for running on my own & struggling with the cold. I finished a whole hour longer then the time I had expected, yet by the time I finished was just happy I hadn’t quit :-)

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At 17 miles I came across my friend Chloe of Muddy Race who had injured herself on an obstacle yet was also powering through, smashing every obstacle and turning down a piggy back more then once. We stuck together till the end, which meant a lot to us both and both finished with a smile, which for the majority of the OCR community this is the experience we all want from these events.

It was my first event running in my Ice Bug Zeals, they were perfect for me, very comfortable and I felt safe on every surface- they did not collect water or mud either. I also wore my zero point compression and didn’t suffer with cramp until the very last wall which was impressive, as on every corner there was someone suffering with cramp.

I do wish now that I had been more prepared for the cold, better kit and probably wiser not to run a distance like that on your own, it’s hard to keep yourself motivated over that kind of distance, as most OCR events I do are half that distance. But after all, these events aren’t meant to be easy and this is why we keep doing them, to keep pushing ourselves to the next level.

All in all it was a great weekend, it had the whole OCR family feel with everyone camping together along with the Dutch Mud Men. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to head over to one of their events! It was especially lovely to spend extended time with my fellow team members and also meet Josh from Brocket Gear and John & his son from IceBug UK.

Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to do this event next year again and be more prepared to compete as well as complete it.

Laura

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Rat Race events have always been on my to do list, but somehow I’ve never gotten round to entering one. With so many great friends going to Dirty Weekend and such hype over their after-parties, this race seemed like the perfect one to enter. On the start line however with 20 miles in front of me – a distance I’ve never even tried to run before –  and not having had much sleep, the after party seamed a long way off.

I ran in the Mudstacle wave with the aim just to finish. I set a steady but consistent pace and with the mile markers going up and up it was the first race in a long time that I absolutely loved! I found a new technique for the sack jumping and made it off the top ledge for the jump, though not quite as gracefully as I’d thought I’d be in my head! I loved the water sections, sang a few songs with Christie from FFC Elite along the way and had some interesting encounters with total strangers I may never meet again. Normally crossing that finish line is an amazing feeling for me but every now and then you do a race that you love so much in a crazy kinda way you just don’t want it to end. This was one of those races.

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Some people ran the course twice, some ran in fancy dress, some for charity, some for PBs and some just as a personal challenge to tick off the list. The course made some people happy and others cry but I’m pretty sure everyone loved the after party! I have no idea how many of us were there from Mudstacle and joining up with our friends the Dutch Mud Men and Chicks, but if we raced hard we partied harder!

It was an amazing event and I was so lucky to have so many from my amazing team there with me. I was told the other day to be careful of worrying about what other people think of your achievements, as ultimately people normally secretly want you to fail. The support I get off my lovely Jayne and Faye is totally unquestionable, and having them there with me on the start line really makes all the difference. I can’t wait to go back again next year and would recommend the race to any one that loves a bit of a kick to life!

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Forest Warrior OCR

I was really looking forward to Forest Warrior as it was my first OCR in quite some time. I’ve been focussing on ultra marathons for the past few years and I’d also had some minor surgery on both arms – only just got the stiches out the week before, so it was with trepidation that I took myself to the start line (having only entered the night before hoping I wasn’t going to fall apart on the first wall!)

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The organisation was good, plenty going on but got my race number and to the start ready for the start of Wave 4. Off we went and I found myself surprisingly at the front of the pack after a few hundred metres. Then came the first set of obstacles; walls, leopard crawls, sand bag carry…. you know the score! Weather was ok so  I kept pretty warm and soon started coming up to the earlier waves and plenty of water obstacles where things started getting a bit cooler. Had some fun helping people, and being helped by others up some very muddy banks then it was time for the tyre carry, which seemed to go on, and on. My dodgy shoulder wasn’t thanking me for the tyre but I was soon in a hilly section where my fell running helped me pick some time up on both the ups and downs.

I then got to the final water obstacle which was the “iceberg”, an inflatable in the middle of a lake, great fun going up and over at which point I heard my wife so I knew I was getting close to the finish. Last km was a run in and some more walls before the finish, a medal and a nice cup of tea! Just wish I had my dryrobe for the end. The course was a lot of fun, challenging and there was a great crowd.

 

 

Forest Warrior Jump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I won my wave and came 3rd overall, which I was really happy with all things considering. I tested out my X-Talon 200s for the first time on an OCR and my 2XU top and bottom combo kept me warm. All in a good day!

 

 

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The Black Mountains Ultra (the Might Contain Nuts series)

I’ve run all of the other ultras in this series of races in Wales so I knew what to expect – a well organised race HQ, A fully marked and easily navigable course and hills. Lots of hills. Wales doesn’t pay attention to normal seasons so I was fully expecting poor weather despite it being spring.

I wasn’t disappointed, it blew a gale most of the day which meant the 3,000 metres of ascent over 42 miles was even more enjoyable. Especially on top of 4 hours sleep! The course itself offered plenty of variety, from a little bit of tarmac at the beginning and end, tightly packed tracks and trails, to boggy ditches and mud. So much mud that I wish I’d worn my Inov-8 X-talon 200s and saved my Inov-8 ultras for more firmer ground in the summer. There were some really tough hills and fatigue aside, they seemed to get longer and steeper as the course went on. Coupled with the wind and occasional mud it did make the going pretty tough so well done to all involved.

I managed to keep a fairly decent pace throughout (without going too fast too early) and maintained roughly the same position give or take a few and finished 14th overall, 11th in my category. Pretty pleased to be honest as training had taken a back seat in recent months with the start of a new job and a new business!

Plenty more races this year and I would really recommend them www.mightcontainnuts.com/store/index.php?main_page=page&id=16

Happy running,

Adam

Brocket Gear

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