Autumn Wolf Run 2017 Race Review

The Autumn Wolf Run was my first taste of The Wolf Run. A very well known obstacle race based in Leamington Spa, whilst they also have Stamford Hall and next year will add Pippingford Park. With a very large following (58k facebook followers and around 8k runners over a weekend) I was looking forward to running it. Truth be told, I was also a little nervous – an OCR friend of mine raves about the Wolf Run – He is a season pass holder and “Alpha” Wolf (runs all 4 races in one year). Should I not like it, it may well be the end of the friendship.

However, I had no need to be nervous, it was a good solid race with an amazing atmosphere across the course and in the event village. Joe, we can remain friends. Here’s my thoughts on the Autumn Wolf Run 2017:

  • Loud PA across the event village meant that every knew what was going on. Waves were every 10 minutes (around 150 to a wave) and were called for a warm up just as the last wave went off
  • Warm up was the usual stuff, but had some interesting pre-race information – “How to Slide” and “How to grab an arm”. Now for the OCR regulars this may be common sense (Superman style and wrist to wrist) but I would guess that at least 60% of the runners were newbies so was really useful. Warm up was quick with a bit of hype and we were off
  • Within 100m there were the usual hay bales (groan) although this is a nice warm up, this makes for a very quick bottle neck so early on. I sprinted off to the front so missed the bottle necks!
  • As I did this, I then saw very few queues for obstacles, I was catching up earlier waves, but managed to squeeze past on the trails or just grab an opportunity through an obstacle
  • The course was 10km and definitely a runners course. Individual obstacles spread apart by around 500m with very few put together one after the other
  • W of Wolf stands for woods – a lot of trail running through and around woods made for an interesting run. Running exclusively around the edge of fields if probably the worst part of OCR
  • O is for Obstacles – As there was no course map published online, I cannot go through each one but the obstacles I remember included: Walls, crawl, tyre hop, lots of mud pits, mud crawl, A frame, cargo net traverse and water slide (one of the longest I’ve ever done). None were too challenging but difficult enough for many new runners and all could be done individually.
  • L is for Lakes – two crossing, one as a wade and one as a swim (running alternative available)
  • F is for Fields – Not just running around fields, but through and over.
  • All of the obstacles were very well built and well thought-out, no filler obstacles like jumping over pallets or endless hay bales
  • A lot of marshals were present – I have been informed that they are all paid rather than just given a free race. Maybe this is the way forward.
  • Great use of terrain – hills, fields, woods, trails and mud all in abundance. Not making up distance for distance sake and not endless fields to run around.
  • Great finish with a few obstacles and ending in a mud put for a final photo and for all spectators to wait and watch the entertainment
  • Finishers goodie bag contained a Cliff Bar, wrist band (so 90s), water and T Shirt….
  • NO MEDAL. For some racers this is a big thing. I do like my bling and would prefer a medal to a t shirt. However i am a big advocate of Tough Mudder who also don’t give out medals. The only way to earn a Wolf Medal is to do all 4 seasons in a year and become an Alpha Wolf (Great marketing)
  • Lots of photographers on the course – but you will have to pay extra for these – £3.50 for low res version “facebook brag” up to £8.50 for a higher res version. I personally think this should be included in the price, especially for the usual £50 price ticket – the vast majority of OCRs include pictures in their cost.
  • Great atmosphere within the village, a lot of space for the spectators, a wide range of food outlets, a bar and even a video wall for live coverage and social media posts
  • Key drop (free) and very small bag drop – this was mentioned in the info pack and really only for solo racers. Changing area, large shower wash down and loads of toilets
  • I paid £32 for the ticket (early bird, wolf pack discount) whilst the price usually starts from £40 and late bookings was £65. I think for £32 this was a more than a bargain (parking was £5 per car extra).

Really happy with Wolf Run – a good solid 7. Challenging enough for me as I was interested in how quickly I could finish the course (1h 08m for 10km) whilst for those new to OCR the obstacles would have been challenging but fun. I think the organisers had got the balance about right for both parties. I would do it again, but I personally didn’t love it, certainly not enough to want to buy a season pass and become an Alpha Wolf (It’s also a 150 mile round trip for me). Depending on how my diary is next year, I would like to do Stanford Hall for a different challenge.