Race two in June and the weather could not have been more different from two weeks ago, the day was sparkling sunshine from the moment I got up, and boy did it turn out to be a hot race. We set off bright and early and headed to Surrey to run Back 2 the Trenches in Redhill.
Back 2 the Trenches offers three distance options, 6k, 12k or 18k. This was one of the first races that I had booked when I set out this year to do a race every month and I had picked the 12k option – although if I had booked it later I might well have gone for the full 18.
This was a race that was being attended by around 60 of the RPCC crew and the atmosphere at the start was really buzzing. As we waited to warm up (although admittedly some of us – me included – didn’t take the warm up to seriously, it was just too hot!) it was lovely having a chat with the huge gang of RPCCers waiting for the off – had a lovely talk with my friend Neil Phillips, who expressly asked to get a mention – and despite running with a hangover he smashed the course, so the mention was well deserved. Well done Neil!
We set off at 10am, with the sun beating down on us, and started off with a zigzaging run broken up with large hay bails to clamber over. It was really hot which made it a bit hard going, and we had only just got started.
The course took us up some pretty punishing hills, which you tended to have to wind your way up and down several times, it was hard on the legs, and if this wasn’t enough, we also got handed sandbags where we had to do two laps round a section of course before continuing.
There were two, two lap sandbag sections, and two, two lap tire carries on the 12k route, as well as having a section of woodland where you were handed a ball, then on exiting the woods you put the ball back and went round again.
There were lots of sections of ups and downs, the whole course seemed to be made up of hills, going through the woods it was a bit of a relief to get out of the blazing sunshine, and the sections going through water were really welcome.
There were a couple of tarpaulin slides down some hill, where they first had you go through a trough of soapy water to make sure you were good and slippery, these were fun, however I decided to take the first one head first and my left arm managed to find a hole in the tarpaulin, I got wrenched round and I have an interesting bruise and scratches on the crook of my elbow which is causing me some aggravation at the moment. It wouldn’t be OCR without a few bumps and scrapes though.
There was a pit of stinking mud/manure to wade through and some muddy pits topped with barbed wire to crawl through, which I think has added some more pretty OCR scars to my knees, and then a cargo net to clamber up and over before hitting some more hills.
Towards the end came a pretty punsihing section of up and down zigzagging a hill, which had trenches to get in and out of, tunnels to crawl through and lots of stinging nettles and thistles to negotiate as well. It also contained what looked like a tangle of string to get through – oh no – this was electrified and I got a couple of nasty shocks. I had to really psych myself up to have a second go and this lost me some time. I have said before in another blog that I am not really a fan of electric shocks at races as I don’t think its something you can train for. I got through eventually though, only to be confronted with some more a bit further round – after taking us through some water first to make it even more perilous.
Once you got through this section you were finally near the finish, you were handed a plastic grenade and told to throw it, I still haven’t really worked out why, then you had to clamber up over some tires, before another section of running round, through the tires you had just run over then down to the finish line.
After crossing the line and picking up my medal and wrist band I had a lovely time catching up with some of the other RPCC guys who had also finished while we waited for more of our friends to cross the line.
This race was hot, and tough, but really good fun. It also had some outside cold showers which was a nice touch, you don’t usually get a wash at the end. I always seem to end these blogs saying how much I have enjoyed the race but its always true. This was a great race.
I’m sitting at home now really, Facebook is buzzing with photos, I’m a bit sunburned, a bit battered and a bit bruised, especially my arm, but I can’t wait until next weekend to race again.