Tag Archives: Warrior run

The Warrior Returns – Warrior Run 2015

Yet again I was privileged to be asked to write up this race for the awesome Muddy Race website (which can be found here), so I thought on this occasion I would take a look back. Warrior Run was my first ever OCR back in October 2013, and I have now run it 3 times.

Warrior Run Attempt 1 – October 2013

Before Warrior Run, a bunch of OCR newbies.
Before Warrior Run, a bunch of OCR newbies.

We turned up, with not much of an idea of what to expect, and the noble thought that we would stick together as one big team (which lasted about 10mins before the first long run split us up into three smaller groups). I remember starting, going down the bank into a stream, out again, over some hurdles then hay bails then up a hill and feeling exhausted already, and I remember thinking to myself that I was not as fit as I thought, and perhaps I had underestimated this. I wasn’t sure if I would even make the finish line.

I was wearing a cotton vest, a pair of running shorts and my oldest trainers, ones I didn’t mind getting dirty. They had no grip at all and I was sliding around all over the place, particularly struggling up the steep bank at the end that you had to climb up using a rope, I think the marshals at the top had to give me quite a lot of help.

Of course I did finish the race, and experienced for the first time the buzz of crossing the line, made extra special as I had run this first one with my brother (Still his only OCR to date, he is more into cycling).

Finished, with my brother Andy, and our friend Graham.
Finished, with my brother Andy, and our friend Graham.

I was quite pleased with my time of 1h09mins for the 6km and I knew when I finished that I was absolutely doing that again as soon as possible. It was also the furthest I had ever run at that point.

Warrior Run Attempt 2 – March 2014

Back again a few months later, I now had a whole two more OCR’s under my belt and had learnt a few things, like ditch the cotton and wear quick drying technical material, I had brought my first pair of trainers with decent grip, a pair of Inov8 Mudclaw 300s and I had also discovered that all socks were not created equal and had a pair of Inov8 mudsocs too.

Splash down with my husband Phil
Splash down with my husband Phil

I made no rash promises to stick with anyone this time, I had decided I wanted to beat my time from October, but my body had other ideas this time and I was feeling awful, I actually felt sick while I was running and during the long run out at the start of the race I had already changed my mind about beating my time, I just wanted to finish in more or less one piece as I was doing it for charity and I didn’t want to drop out. I still ended up enjoying the race, and the obstacles, and was pretty surprised that despite not feeling well, and the fact that the course had been made tougher with more obstacles, I had knocked 11mins off my time and had come 9th Lady over the 6km distance. I had really noticed the difference the right pair of shoes could do as well, breezing up the end bank that I had so struggled with in October.

Coming up the final muddy bank
Coming up the final muddy bank

Warrior Run Attempt 3 – October 2015

So now it’s two years later, I think my current OCR count is at about 47 including this race, I now own 4 pairs of different trail shoes and my wardrobe holds more sports/race kit than normal clothes, so this time rather than 1 lap, I thought I would do 3 (the longest distance Warrior Run offer). Each lap is now 7km rather than 6, and they have added in a lot more obstacles too, this would mean 21 muddy kilometres, so basically a half marathon with obstacles thrown in.

I started quite badly, and had to tell myself to try and ignore everyone else around me and run my own race. I knew I needed to settle into a maintainable pace and not push myself too hard on my first lap. This time I didn’t have a goal like beating a time, or getting a good position, despite joking on Facebook that it was looking good for a top 20 as it only looked like 15 girls had signed on to do three laps, I just wanted to prove to myself I could do the distance, having been hit by one of my frequent crisis of confidence!

Coming down the slide on one of my laps
Coming down the slide on one of my laps

By the time I got to the Obstacle field on my third lap I was feeling so tired, I really wanted to be finished, but I pushed on trying to keep up at least a slow jog, up the bank at the end, which seemed to have more foot holds this time, only to be confronted at the very end with a huge half pipe. I grabbed a hug off the amazing Muddy Highlander Mark Leinster who was MCing the race, who told me I looked exhausted. I said I wasn’t sure I had the energy to get up the ramp, be he told me to be confident, and to head to the far side where the guys at the top were having more success helping to pull people over, so I took his advice and ran as hard as I could up the wall, the guys at the top grabbing my arms, while I was being cheered on over the mic, and suddenly I was at the top, the two guys there having managed to lift me up. I waved down to Mark and then headed off over the finish line. I had no concept of how well I might have done in the grand scheme of things, I just knew I was glad to be finished.

The following day when the results came out I was pretty stunned,  I had been the only girl to complete 3 laps, giving me 1st place girl for 21km.

Warrior Run, having stolen my heart in 2013 and spawning an obsession with OCR, is still up there as one of my favourites, and I’m sure I’ll be back for attempt number 4 one of these days.

In Conclusion – Looking back.

A lot has changed in the past couple of years, and a lot of it has been amazing, some of it has been difficult, and last year in particular was emotionally draining, but overall I wouldn’t change a thing.

So I no longer turn up to a race in cotton and road shoes, but the smile is still the same, when it comes down to it, I still love the buzz of knowing that I’ve pushed myself hard, even if that takes a few extra laps nowadays.

Improved kit, same smile
Improved kit, same smile

I’ve met a lot of new, lovely,  people, some of whom have become very close friends, and all of whom I am grateful for now being in my life.

Some things don’t change though, and I still have no confidence in my own ability, but I have learned that I am too stubborn to give up, not one race goes by where the thought doesn’t enter my head wondering if I can actually do it, but I keep pushing myself to prove to me again and again that I can.

In the past two years I have learned that people can care about you and be unbelievably generous even when they don’t know you very well, I have learned that you can do anything with the right support and that it is possible to achieve more than you ever dreamed was possible, I have learned to find something to do that you love and I have learned that it matters what socks you wear!

Warrior Run

The third and final race for March took place on another sunny day, along with my training partner Viki we were also joined by Phil Carrington, Garry Stapley and Rachel Poile to complete this 6km obstacle race located near Brighton.

Race Description

Viki, Phil and I had run this race before back in October, which was all of our first obstacle race. In October I had set a time of 1h9mins and my aim for the day was to beat this time, although I knew it was likely to be tougher this time round, as it was wetter, colder and they had added in more obstacles.

We arrived in plenty of time and got ourselves registered, this was fairly well organised into different heats and it was easy to get our race packs and timing chips sorted. Since we had some time we then headed back towards the cars to take a look at the main obstacle field.

Warrior run selfie while we wait to start with Phil Carrington, Viki Stapley, Garry Stapley and myself
Warrior run selfie while we wait to start with Phil Carrington, Viki Stapley, Garry Stapley and myself


 The Race

It’s fair to say that I was not feeling well this day, I had a stinking cold and if it hadn’t been for charity I would probably have dropped out, nevertheless I was excited at the start line, as I had really enjoyed this run back in October.

Right from the off we could tell they had changed the course a bit, it wasn’t straight into a stream this time, but the hurdles and then a clamber over the hay bails were the same although as a twist this time we also had to clamber over a truck!

Then as before it was a run up a hill, a log carry and onto a long stretch of running, this is where I realised how unwell I was feeling, I was feeling sick and worried that I would have to drop out – so I gave myself a mental shake, I told myself that this was for charity, I decided that it didn’t matter one bit if I beat my time or not, and that I just needed to get myself to the finish.

The log carry (Pictures from Sussex Sport Photography)
The log carry
(Pictures from Sussex Sport Photography)

There was a section through some woods, and a nice crawl through a wet muddy tunnel and some monkey bars to navigate (penalty press ups for me as I fell down!)

There was an added section through some pretty deep mud, up and down some muddy hills, and onto the obstacle field.

The obstacle field included several walls to get over, a high tire wall, a fire jump, rope clime (more press ups for me) some crawling and a wall to traverse.

The Tire Wall climb (Photos from Sussex Sport Photography)
The Tire Wall climb
(Photos from Sussex Sport Photography)

Then it some more hills, a pretty epic slide, more crawls and then another section of up and downs. There was a pretty shear bank to abseil down which was pretty scary, and then some deep water filled pits to jump in and climb out of, which I happened to reach at the same time as my hubby, so we got some great pic’s of us leaping together into the murky water.

Phil and I taking a leap into the unknown (Picture Courtesy of Sussex Sport Photography)
Phil and I taking a leap into the unknown
(Picture Courtesy of Sussex Sport Photography)

After this there were some more ups, downs, crawls and running through water. The winter rains had definitely increased the amount of water to get through. Towards the end the water had been pretty deep the first time, but there had been something of an island between two pools, not this time, it was one big pond to swim across, before hauling yourself with the help of a rope, up a steep incline.

Just coming out of yet another steam  (picture from Sussex Sport Photography)
Just coming out of yet another steam
(picture from Sussex Sport Photography)
Swimming through what was an island last time! (Picture from Sussex Sport Photography)
Swimming through what was an island last time!
(Picture from Sussex Sport Photography)
Pulling myself up the bank (picture from Sussex Sport Photography)
Pulling myself up the bank
(picture from Sussex Sport Photography)

After you had made it up the bank, it was a short run round to the finish, but before you crossed the line it was over two more big obstacles, including trying to get up a tarpaulin covered slope that was wet and slippery.

Once I had crossed the line I went to check my time, sure that it would be way over last time, but to my surprise I had actually knocked 11 mins off, and I had just about managed to do it sub 1 hour with a time of 58mins, which just goes to show how much fitter I am now, despite being quite ill on the day. When the final results were released It transpires that I also came 9th woman and 34th overall for the 6km.

This is a great race, and good for beginners too. You can also push yourself more if you want to with 12 and 18km options.

Me and Viki rocking our medals
Me and Viki rocking our medals