Rough Runner, Charlton Park – April 2022

Unfortunately the original Rough Runner was lost due to the events of 2020, fortunately Rough Runner found new owners and their first event back was this April in at Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

Before I go on, be sure to check out the video as many of the obstacles really are unique in the world of obstacle racing!

Rough Runner YouTube Video

I did this race back in 2017 in Manchester and was genuinley sad when I heard the original owners had gone out of business and equally happy when I had learned of it’s return.

The course route was pretty good – based on Charlton park estate, it had a mix of everything. Some good flat field running, small undulations bit of trail through streams and woodlands. Nothing extreme and was perfectly marked out to reduce the chance of getting lost or taking the wrong route.

A huge number of obstacles too – not only the obstacle race staples such as walls, cargo nets and monkey bars, but also the unique motorised obstacles which stand Rough Runner out from the rest of the crowd. These included a windmill gauntlet and the grandstand Travelator finish obstacle. In this incarnation, there were two travellators (I was told running ay 6mph and 5mph) for the participants to run up and celebrate the finish at the top. Cue – lots of face planting, laughs and (I managed it second time)

Lots of water – three large obstacles over water (monkey bars, rings and scaffolding rig) to save you from a hard fall when you (probably) fall off. There was also some natural water obstacles – a run through a stream, crawl through the same stream as well as an (optional) slide into the pond.

Unfortunately there were some issues with some obstacles – apparently some mischevious locals damaged them the night before, but overall didnt impact on the amount of fun there was on course

The event village was very small, 2 food vendors and a coffee stand plus a place to change/leave your bags. However parking was so close to the event village (and the weather so warm) there was no real need to use the bag drop or changing facilities. Hopefully as the event grows, the village will also grow with more things to do and to keep spectators and finishers around. There is a very large infltatable tent which could be turned into some form of bar / disco should Rough Runner want additional entertainment – I do remember the tent from previous incarnation and it was for the safety video which was played on repeat!

A great return for Rough Runner. This venue was perfect for the newbies, no big hills and a really good mix of runnable terrain. The obstacles too were a perfect blend of something more challenging (and hey, if you failed you fell into the water which itself was a little fun) as well as the fun elements like the large inflatable see-saws.

Rough Runner has a bit for everyone and if they remain part of the UKOCR series, its also a fun challenge with a difference from the Nuclear Races and Nuts Challenge.

Definitely one to look out for when Rough Runner announce new dates and I hear on the grapevine, they will also be adding new venues too.

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Wil Chung