I had been eagerly anticipating my first OCR of 2017 at X-Runner Wild Mud run. I had done (the now defunct) Winter Warrior last year and this one was with friends from my gym. A mix of newbies and veterans, we were the typical team taking on X-Runner.
Wild Mud Run is based in the Derbyshire Dales near Ashbourne, only 30 miles from me so perfect for the team to take on as a challenge.
Wild Mud Run lived up to it’s name. It seemed for at least 1km it was just a wade through mud, at parts wet sloppy mud you could run through, but in parts, waist deep in heavy gloopy mud. So many people were getting stuck and needing assistance from others to help them through. I’ve done a huge variety of OCRs and this was without doubt the muddiest run I had done. In truth, I only did 1 lap as I couldn’t face the mud a second time – for me it got a bit boring.
Either side of the mud, the obstacles were varied and challenging. Starting with hay bales (why do RDs put hay bales in the first 100m of a race?) which very quickly starts the queues, into a ditch of water and then up a steep incline. A few walls here and there, cargo net climb and water wade before hitting the mud. The water section which followed the mud and signaled the final part of the course was the most fun. The weather was pretty dull and had the sun been shining, this would have been a welcome relief for most! Included a water slide and very short swim, short run to a floating Monkey Bar rig to floating pontoons.
Their signature cresta run slide ended the water section and seemed to never end (it was around 100m long). The course then ended with a number of obstacles including tyre mangle, wall traverse (graded difficulties) and fire jump. You could then opt to do another lap or finish with a a 20ft jump onto an air mattress. X-Runner claim to have “more obstacles and less running” with over 35 obstacles over 5km course, I would actually agree with this one! And they didn’t just mean endless hay bales either.
The goodie bag included a Tech T-shirt, Medal, plastic wristband and bottle of water. All great quality and worthy to be shown off at the gym the following week.
Organisation of X-Runner was pretty spot on – car parking was £5 and a short walk to the event village. Registration was straight forward – participants broken up by surname to help reduce queues. There was a queue for the bag drop and took me around 15 minutes to drop my bag off. Wet finishers were waiting around in their silver blankets clearly getting cold waiting for the volunteers to find their bags. In truth they needed at least 3 more people in bag drop. I would also suggest never bringing a black bag to a race- I have a bright red duffel bag or yellow kitbrix. Much easier to spot in a sea of bags! When I returned to get my bag, participants were in bag drop trying to find their own bags. Not great from a security point of view – but I understand the need to get dry and warm.
We were called into the start pen about 15 minutes before the race – The MC went through the disclaimer (yawn) and also mentioned the water being 10C – does anyone know what 10c water actually feels like? The warm up PT went through the motions (very flat without any enthusiasm) and neither her or the MC did anything to hype up the atmosphere for what seemed to be around 75%+ newbies.
Event village had a lot of picnic benches for spectators, a variety of food outlets, stores selling merchandise and a medal engraver. Plenty of spots to view the start and finish, whilst the water section was only 5 minutes walk so perfect for spectators wanting to take photos of the participants. I think I remember official photos being at least £5 each.
The X-Runner is a great introduction to OCR for the newbie. However, more than that, it does pull off that worn cliche by OCR marketers “Challenging enough for the newbie and veteran” without necessarily having to just increase the distance. There were a number of obstacles graded for ability (differing wall heights for example). Well organised, good variety of obstacles, minimal running makes for a good OCR. A bit on the expensive side (£50+) but good value overall and whether you have done dozens or races before, or its your first one, you will definitely have fun.
Want to join in the fun? – Visit X-Runner.co.uk for details, videos and registration.