With barely time for my bruises to heal from the last two weekends of races, July has arrived and brings with it two races, the first of which was The Obstacle based at Jimmy’s Farm in Suffolk. A bit of a drive, and a last minute addition to the list after receiving an email from the people at Beat the Bog saying their race on the 20th had been cancelled for environmental reasons.
This was a 10km run, made up of two 5km laps. Unlike the other races that I have run rather than going off road, through woods and streams, it wound its way up and down a field with pretty evenly spaced and frequent obstacles.
I was running this race with the hubby and we had signed up to a later wave to start as it was a two hour drive and we had been out at a wedding the day before, but we had a good drive there and arrived in plenty of time to get registered, we were told we didn’t need to bother wearing our numbers, just our timing chips, as they had run out of safety pins – not actually a problem for me with my X-Racewear top complete with bib protector pocket – but I didn’t bother with mine either.
We gathered just before 11.30am to have a warm up, followed by possibly the most disorganised start I’ve seen, there was no countdown suddenly we were just off, which put us on the back foot a little bit. The start line consisted of some hay bails to clamber over before starting up the first zigzag of the course. You were quickly confronted with some hay bails that had mini trampolines in-front of them to give you a bit of bounce as you went over them.
The ground we were covering was a really gentle slope that the course wove up and down, it was easy running over grass, with nothing for me to trip over for once. At the first large wall there were a couple of hay bails to stand on, but still not enough of a boost for me, with the upper body strength of a flea, so Phil gave me a leg up and I was off again, through a spiders web of bungy ropes strung up on a frame, through a skip that had about an inch of muddy water in the bottom and across the back of the field.
As we continued to race we traversed the field what felt like endless times, the obstacles were frequent and fairly varied, without much running in between. As it was two laps criss-crossing the fields I’m sure I will get things muddled, so I’ll just talk generally about the obstacles, but probably not in any order.
There were about three skips covered in tarpaulin, at different stages, these had a tiny bit of water in, and we overheard that they had been fuller the previous day but the water had obviously leaked out by the time we got there. I think getting out over the side of these is going to account for some interesting bruises once they all come out.
There was a set of monkey bars, which although I did fall off, as usual, I got further than I normally do – both times round – so I’m quite proud of that. There were also several traverse walls, which I managed every single one without falling off – another first.
There were walls to climb over, nets to crawl under, wooden hurdles to jump, tyres to carry, clamber over and crawl through, pallets to clamber over, a log carry, tunnels to crawl through and a huge slope that on one leg you had to climb up the back of and basically abseil down, then after another zigzag down and up the field again you had to do it the other way round – up the slope and down the scaffold – I think I did this pretty well considering my love of high obstacles.
Other obstacles included a set of bars that if you were strong you could hoist yourself up and do using just your arms, or if you are a bit of a weakling like me you could hitch your legs over the bars and oh-so-elegantly drag yourself along that way. A section of netting that you had to climb up, then crawl across the top of, before climbing back down. Some wooden tree stump “stepping stones”, some wooden balance beams, and a couple of sets of seasaws to run up, and back down again. I have to say my x-talon 212’s were brilliant, I had great grip, even on the wood when I thought I might slip. Then towards the end of the lap a couple of walls, which I was helped over by a couple of young lads who seemed to be either slightly ahead or behind me the whole way round (by this point I had left Phil behind – he wasn’t feeling too well today).
You then headed down to where the finish line waited tantalisingly, but it was off to the right and round for a second lap first. I’m sure I have missed out quite a few of the obstacles but I’m tired and my poor brain is feeling a little fuzzy!
This was a great race for people who prefer the obstacles to running, and it was completely different to all the others that I’ve done so far and I’m really glad we made the trip. I think it would have been a fantastic race to do as a group, as while snaking up and down the field you would see a lot of each other. It would also be a really great race for spectators as you could see the whole course. I would defiantly do this race again. I ran the race in 1h05 and I’m really pleased with this time, considering its only 9 mins slower than I ran a flat 10km in February without obstacles, which hopefully goes to show how I have been improving this year. I ended up placing 82nd overall, and 11th woman.
After the race it was time to jump into the dryrobe and get changed, it was a bit of a rainy day and I was pretty soggy, but the one thing this race did lack was mud, meaning that I wasn’t half as dirty as usual. Then it was back in the car and home to Hastings, until next time!