Archive for : October, 2015

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Judgement Day Bordon- A perfect Saturday of OCR

Here it is then, another Judgement Day review from me. And if you were hoping for something different, you’re going to be disappointed. By now, you’re probably used to me gushing over #JDCopehill and it’s awesome FIBUA village section, or #JDUnknown and it’s new take on mental and physical endurance. So, if you were hoping for anything but praise for #JDBordon, you’re going to be disappointed.

I didn’t have the opportunity to run the Bordon event last year: I had a trade stand and customers to look after and had to watch the action unfold from the sidelines. I had a good idea as to what went on on the course based on feedback from friends who ran it, but I also know that Mark and Dean are all about innovating and creating new races even when using the same terrain, so I was sure that I wouldn’t be the only person who wouldn’t know what was coming.

While I ran for the team as always, I took a later wave and ran with a good friend from my bootcamp, Ashleigh. Ashleigh has done a few OCRs before including Tough Mudder, Rough Runner and Monster Race and was looking for something different and challenging. With #JDBordon just around the corner, it was an easy recommendation for me to make. We’ve spent some time training together outside of the bootcamp session, as Ashleigh is keen to run in more OCRs, so we were both looking forward to seeing how well the training was going to pay off. Time would tell! The great thing about running a race with Dean as the RD is that you know safety will be paramount, so as well as a tough challenge, it would be a good place to try new techniques and obstacles in relative safety.

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We headed to Bordon with Ali and Oscar in support, Oscar being keen to play in the event village sand as he did the previous year. Unfortunately for Ash she had to endure my usual ‘OCR Family’ catch up, stopping to talk to, hug, kiss and pick up the fantastic JD team members and my fellow competitors. It was great to see so many of the The Unknown family there too, both competitors and staff. JD seems to feel like more of a family catch up for me than a group of runners.

From the event village we could see two awesome looking rigs, on set of monkey bars and a warped wall leading to a bridge, under which was the Start line. We watched the first wave head off, checked in our bags, prepared the GoPro and set off at 0930. It was a great wave with fellow Unknown runners Darren taking on the course with a 26kg Bergen, team Mudstacle headed up by Phil (And I finally got to met his smokin’ new bride Philine!), Team Raw legend Ami and some great friends from RPCC, RPPC Warriors and Muddy Race, a pack with which Ashleigh and I found common pace and ending up running with/around for the whole event.

I won’t go into all the obstacles- There was simply to many to list, but amongst them all were some amazing highlights. The sandy trails of Bordon saw us through an exceptionally long tyre carry which also went in to part of the infamous swamp. Sandbags, as always with JD, played a part but it was strange to see such a short sandbag carry: Normally you expect a longer carry but again, a great sign that Dean and Mark were looking to mix things up and make an entirely new race.

Speaking of new, there were a few obstacles that were new (to me) at Bordon (I missed Pippingford so they may not be new to everyone!). There were two awesome rigs, both of which were tough due to vertical hanging poles and chains. There were the opportunities to get past some of the objects on the rigs with a long swing but, personally, I like to hit them all to test myself. I managed to successfully navigate both rigs but knew about it afterwards: It took a lot of grip, lat, shoulder and arm strength to get through the both of them.

Another great addition was the fully suspended Irish Table. This is an obstacle which, when deployed without a hanging wall to push off, can really stump some people. It was great to see such team work but the other participants to get over this tricky obstacle, which I was able to conquer with a quick muscle up.

The final new addition was huge warped wall. It’s positioning at the side of the bridge to make it over the start/finish line gave spectators in the event village the perfect opportunity to watch the pain of a fall and slide or praise the victors hitting the top. Unfortunately, I was the former! My Icebug Zeals were superb as always and after making short work of all that sand and swamp, still provided more than enough grip for me to run right up the steepest part of the water and mud soaked wall.

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Unfortunately I ran so far up that I ignored the lip of the ramp to grab onto and instead waited for Graeme Harrison of Team RPCC Warriors to grab my arm. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen and I ended up sliding back down on my bum. Ashleigh on the other hand absolutely smashed it, flying up the wall and over the top while I took the walk of shame around it.

Speaking of Ashleigh, I can’t go any further without saying how proud I am of her effort on the course. Not only embarrassing me on the warped wall, she also conquered the monkey bars with ease. It was her first time on a rope climb and with a 15 second tutorial from me (And my lack of technique on rope climbs is pretty legendary!), she shot up it! It was the same story with the overhead rope traverse- She’d never tried it before but a quick tutorial and example during the race and straight across. We’d also been working on confidence in getting over smaller walls/hurdles which thankfully JD had a few of in a row. Ashleigh was more and more confident with each one and by the last it was vaulted like a pro.

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We completed the course in just over two hours filled with sand, mud, bruises, rope burn but most importantly, fun. We were both buzzing and I’m really pleased that Ash has now properly got the OCR bug. After a long session of saying goodbye to everyone, we headed back to Salisbury on a high. I’m really struggling to find something wrong with Bordon, and in my experience if you have to think for too long, then their likely isn’t anything worth mentioning. I unfortunately have to miss JD goes Nuts due to it’s timing, so the only problem that I have at the moment is that I have to wait until 2016 to hit up JD again. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: JD should be on everyone’s “Must do” list of UK OCR.

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Born Survivor – 2015

I have raced competitively in many obstacle races, however this would be the first I have attended that would not be timed. Ive been put off a number of events in the past for this reason but with this event only being 30 minutes away from my front door, and having only heard good things about Born Survivor I was intrigued to give it a whirl.

The sun was shining as we pulled up at the venue. My wife and 2 year old had decided to come along and cheer me on, they chose a perfect morning for it there was hardly any cloud in the sky. The location looked awesome, registration was quick and within no time we were walking in past the impressive Capesthorne Hall and into the event village.

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The atmosphere was buzzing with many groups wearing brightly coloured matching t-shirts from different gyms and supporting different charities. I went for a short warm up jog around the starting/finishing area and scouted out a few of the final obstacles, the one that really stood out was the ‘Grenade Killa Bars’ – a solid looking rig with monkey bars down one side and hang tough rings down the other with a tank of water underneath, a definite crowd pleaser.

After a brief chat with a few familiar faces we were hustled into the starting cage for a rather claustrophobic warm up and then sent off on our way through the clouds from smoke grenades. The course was fast and filled with some cracking obstacles including ‘Drop Zone Alpha’ – a slide which stopped short and sent you dropping off the end for a refreshing dip. Plenty of barbed wire crawls mud and walls, the biggest of which being the rather daunting ‘The Blitz’ – a monstrous  wall with a half pipe type ramp in front of it. Speed and momentum would be the only way to get the best of it. Apparently later runners were also given the option of a rope to help them reach the top.

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All in all I really enjoyed Born Survivor it was a fun, well organised event for anyone who needs a bit a challenge. Suitable for first timers and experienced runners alike.

A final point to note for the organisers would be to maybe introduce timing or at least a stopwatch timed first wave, which wouldn’t be difficult to organise or costly. This would definitely attract the more competitive obstacle races to their events and thus expanding there audience and publicity. I think this is something Born Survivor need to consider as they move forward with their events in the future.

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