TLDR – great obstacle race with unique elements for a different type of challenge.
There are so many obstacle course races to choose from in the UK, it is becoming difficult to stand out from the crowd and offer something truly different that hasn’t been done before. Bear Grylls Survival Races have stepped up to the plate and dares to offer a unique experience within the OCR world.
I took part in my “local” Bear Grylls race in Manchester, whilst there are two others – Cambridge and London. This one was a 10km race out in the country estate of Tatton Park.
Parking and registration was a breeze and whilst I had a quick look around the festival (more about that later) I went to the start gate for the warm up and off we went.
In general, there was a lot of obstacles, well spaced out across the course, the furthest running section was no more than 750m before coming up to another obstacle. Obstacles included 5 different carries, inverse wall, monkey bars, A-frame, drags/pulls and rope climbs. The obstacles were very Spartan-esque – which is no bad thing and certainly supposed to be a compliment.
The difference comes in the “survival” elements from Bear Grylls. Remembering part of a code and using binoculars to spot the second part, recalling it later on. Jungle – rings. Mountain – 60ft climb and slide down an escape chute. Arctic – jumping across boxes against a background of wind and foam (think ice berg glaciers). Desert – sand crawl under barbed wire and through a loading container. Other unique elements including eating dried meal worms, starting a fire with fire sticks and finishing with a rifle shoot.
The event village was promoted as a festival and did have a separate entry fee for spectators. However, the village was the largest and most populated I have seen. It included many activities to do including a petting zoo (creepy crawlies, this is bear grylls of course) a stage with various presentations and music. There was a kids race, small funfair and many vendors to part with your hard earned cash. I believe that people got to try the survival elements whilst the races were over.
A fantastic race with some interesting unique elements. I have heard the 30km elite race starts with a 5km run with altitude mask. One to watch out for in 2017 and I shall definitely be returning.