Reaper Race – April Race recap

The last time I raced a Reaper Race was back in 2016 when I did the double – Their 10km Day and Night races. The night race was horrendous. Looking back there were several reasons – I wasn’t ready for a night race and the cold it would entail, it was much colder than expected and rather than run on to keep warm, I hung around with the group and started to get really cold.

Moving forward 2 years, I wanted to exorcise the ghost of near hypothermia and actually enjoy what is a very good race. The night race course was exactly the same as the day with three main differences – the lack of light, the temperature drop and that hundreds of runners had already run the course. Previously they had run a slightly different route of the same course.  I had already seen the course map which had 38 obstacles over the 10km course – a good, obstacle heavy route.

Reaper is also a qualifying race for the self titled OCR World Championships, which meant a lot of runners were out in the first wave to qualify. As I didn’t race in that wave, I am unable to “review” it. But qualifiers had to complete all obstacles. If they failed one of three bands were removed ad at the end, those with the most bands qualified ahead of runners with fewer bands, even if they had run a faster time.

I ran in the second wave in which most others ran. As ever, with my competitive self, I decided to see what I could do and put my foot down and try and tag as many runners in the qualifying wave as I could. It didn’t take long before I tagged the first three, somehow they got stuck at the first obstacle – the sternum checker!

What then followed  was 2km trail running through and around the trail and light forest before going into the forest for real. The ground was very heavy, a lot of mud or wet grass, with very little ground being hard and “runnable”. There seemed to be a lot of water around the course too. Not just puddles, but wades, streams and crawls (Kermit Canyon) – Mamma Mia (climbing wall onto a water slide) was early into the race, which was good as you could get running again to try and dry and warm up.

Emerging for Mamma Mia

Emerging for Mamma Mia

Some interesting obstacles were on route too, including “the floor is lava” a very simple cargo net spread across the ground around 5ft in the air. You had to traverse underneath it without touching the floor. It was very simple, but actually quite a tough obstacle to cross. I would guess a few qualifiers lost their bands at this one. The “disco” is also a favourite – an enclosed crawl with disco lights and music. It also doubled for Jessica’s 18th birthday!

Other obstacles included Tarzan rings crossing low rings by using your feet in the hoops, floating hurdles, tyre crawl, inverse wall, sand bag carry (around 800m long). The route was pretty flat, very little hills, but the few they had, they made good use out of. The terrain was varied, including forest, lakes and trail, whilst the rain in the week made for a very heavy difficult going course. The winner earlier in the day finished in around 1 hour 6 minutes, whilst usually the course would be finished in around 55 minutes.

The last three obstacles or Reaper were pure evil – a slide into the lake, followed by a wade through the lake and climbing wall out, three water dunks (for the elites, I did this too, but I am sure normal waves could go over the logs) followed by the final Stair Way to Heaven. This is a large A frame obstacle in which you climb using your arms along the inside of one wall of the “A”, across the top and then down the other side.

You were greeted at the finish with an awesome glow in the dark medal, flapjack and water. Runners were given their Reaper running vest at registration where many runners chose to run their race in it.

Overall, an enjoyable race. Recommended for all runners, including the newbies and kids as Reaper also run a “dry 5km” course missing a lot of the water. Their next set of Reaper races in October and prices start from £39.

How did I get on tagging Qualifiers? I think I passed around 25 in the race (they had a 10 minute head start) and had I ran in the qualifying wave, I would have finished 9th and qualfied for the OCR World Championships. Interestingly, had I ran the same time in the day, I would have only finished around 30th.

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Wil Chung