So a friend asked me to name and review the “best” race of 2016. Truth is, with me running so many this year (37!), that picking just one would have been impossible. There are my pick of great races but all for different reasons. So here is my quick run down:
Best “Race” – Spartan Super – “Midlands”
Everyone who has done a Spartan race knows what obstacles are coming, and it’s only the terrain which makes the difference from location to location. The unassuming start was probably the biggest mistake most competitors made at this race. Being based at an airfield, it was thought to be “flat” – it became very apparent, very quickly that this was not true. Aston Down, now has what is know as “The Valley of Death” in which the RDs took it upon themselves to take competitors on a complete tour in and around it, sometimes with logs as company.
This was the first race I “went for it” just to see where I was at in terms of my fitness. 21st in my age category – not bad for a non-runner!
Mudnificent 7 brings together 7 other races to combine into one awesome race, each taking it’s own kilometer (or so) to bring their signature obstacles. This race was a great mix of technical challenges whilst being easy enough for the first timers. Non particpants were well catered for with a huge expo to spend the hard earned cash on kit – whilst a lot of the course was within easy walking distance of the village. 2017 has already announced The Suffering, Reaper and Urban Attack so it is already shaping up to be a stronger line up than this year. I’ve aready book so will see you at the start line.
Based adjeacent to the world famous Silverstone Race track this race is exactly what the first timers should be tackling. A mix of distances (5, 10 or 15km) and a great mix of obstacles, none which are too technically challenging. I managed to take on the muddiest muddy dunk I have experienced so far and the finale being the “Wall of Glory”. Permanent hot showers, toilets and bar ensures that the boot campers, first timers and those wanting a new challenge will be coming back for more.
Their first race of the season was widely lambasted for a number of “teething problems” whilst the weather played a part in closing one of the main obstacles (Mountain) so I was a little weary when it came to Manchester. I needn’t have worried as all the issues from the first race seemed to have been ironed out whilst the weather was perfect for OCR. What makes BGSR unique from other OCRs are the additional touches – 4 obstacles zones with their own take on “Mountain, Jungle, Arctic and Desert” whilst also having to “spot” and repeat codes, eat meal worms and fire a rifle adds up to a race striving to break out from the “norm”
I love tough muder – but even in here in the UK, they do differ from location to location. TMLS was the season finale and deserves special mention – This one is the shortest (just under 10 miles) and flattest course in the UK. Whilst it’s “Clover leaf” layout ensured that the majority of showcase obstacles were close to the event village. The last section managed to cram in KOTS, Block Ness and Everest meaning that you even finished “clean”.