Ratrace Runstock 2018 race review
Runstock is one of Ratrace’s many events, with this one aimed at the active family. A weekend of camping with family friendly entertainment throughout the day and evenings all centred around a 5km looped course (with optional obstascles) in which particpants complete as many laps as they wish within the 8 hour time limit. Particpants ranged from babies in buggies, fun runners, whole families and ultra runners aiming for 50km+. This year, 2 runners completed 80km with a new course record set.
The 5km looped route was all trail across the Boughton House estate in Kettering. A really pretty course – a lot of wildlife roaming around, woodlands and rivers/lakes to admire.Thinking the run was “family friendlty” I didn’t expect any challenging terraing so I was surprised how undulating it was. Around 50m of total elevation along the whole course which included 2 long hills and one short, sharp hill towards the end of the route.
The course had several obstacle zones along the route – each one was optional and focused totally on fun, rather than challenging. The zones/obstacles were:
- Long water slide
- Inflatables – bouncy castles etc. to climb over, under and through
- Water zone – pontoons across the water with a short ankle deep wade across the river
- Launderette – Lots of foam bubbles and music
- Assault course – including balance beams, monkey bars and cargo net crawl
- Giant airbag – Climb up to approx 2m high and then jump down onto the airbed
- Funfair – various games
However, most would agree that the two most difficult obstacles towards the end of the run would be a short climb up to the bridge just before the water stop and the big tree trunk just after the assault course. These were both mandatory obstacles and seemed to get bigger through the day.
The route to the finish line included a run through the festival tent, the last 50m was always lined up with spectators cheering on the runners, whilst there was music and a MC commentating throughout the day to keep people entertained and runners motivated.
The end of each lap you collected a wrist band. You then had the option to carry on, take a break or finish and collect the hard-earned medal
Festival and activities
To be honest, I didn’t spend a lot of time in the festival village, however I was aware there was a lot of different activities available for the children to take part in (some free, some paid) including magician, face painting, wall climbing and zip sliding. The adults had access to a mini beer festival, whilst at night, live acts and a DJ kept everyone entertained. Within the festival, various food outlets was also available including pizza, burger and jacket potatoes.
The single Runstock race ticket was £40 – this was with a discount as we managed to get a group of 10. This included entry into the festival, as many wristbands as you could collect, race t-shirt and finish board photo. On it’s own, great value.
Ultra upgrade – for those committing to a higher mileage, the ultra upgrade (£15) gave runners access to a quick pit transition area at the start / finish line, additional race vest and another medal if you managed to hit 50km+. To be honest, having access to the pit was the most valuable part of this package, definitely saving several minutes per pit stop.
Camping was £25 per person and gave access to the showers, toilets and water. The facilities were cleaned on a regular basis and for the two nights I stayed, definitely great value. I am unsure if there’s any form of family discount. There was a 5 minute walk between the camp site and parking so make sure you have a trolley if you have a lot of stuff to take. There was an option of “pitch and park” with an additional cost of £25/pitch. But you did save £10 on the car parking fee. One can also purchase Glock pistols in case they are planning to go into the woods on a hike.
Photographers were on course for a few hours at two zones – the slide and water pontoons, whilst they also set themselves up at the finish line from around 4.30pm (one and a half hours before the cut off). As mentioned, there was also a photographer at the end of the course to get a finisher photo. All the photos apart from the finisher photo were an additional cost – £10 each! I think this is an absolute travesty (and probably a topic for another blog). £4/5 per photo I personally believe is fair for small races with low entry fee. Most OCRs I enter the photos are included in the price. £10 is just a joke.
Runstock is a very well organised, family-friendly run event. The event is made up of a spectrum of runners and with that comes less pressure around “performance” – very much a “go out and enjoy whatever you do” style event. The course is pretty, interesting in it’s make up and at 5km, for me the right length as not to worry about taking a running vest on course. Camping facilities were excellent and the festival is a great addition.
Overall, the race cost £90 (race, upgrade, parking & camping) and I do consider it good value all considering. Photos are expensive (but that is another story). One to put on the list for 2019.
On a personal note…
I managed to complete 13 laps – 65km within the 8 hours! I am awaiting for the official results but I finished within the top 10 and first in age group.
My plan leading up to Runstock was to hit 50km and then play around on the obstacles and perhaps do 55 or 60km in total. However I got in lap 10 by 4pm (6pm was the cut off) and I knew that if I got my head down and ran, I could hit 65km. So that’s what I did. Sadly, that meant I didn’t have a play on the obstacles. But I had a different kind of fun….
I wore my 361 Sensation 3, switched to Ortega 2 and the final laps I wore the 361 Stratomics. Each pair was combined with enertor insoles, whilst I wore enertor energy socks up until lap 10 and switch the the recovery (compression) socks. For nutrition, I used Project E2 gels, Energy drink and Hydro drink as well as peanut butter flatbreads.
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