What happens when you combine the somewhat hilly streets of Edinburgh with the genius that is Rat Race?
I’ll tell you, you get the best Urban Obstacle Course Race in the country, that’s what.
Registration was without issue, as always. So plenty of time for the pre-race nerves to build. By the time I’ve got my wrist band and head band on I just want to run, I hate the hanging about bit. But if you were still on the right side of your pre-race adrenaline rush then there were plenty stalls and the like to peruse before your starting wave.
I was Wave 1, or the green wave as it was today. After the usual pep talk and warm up from the BMF guys (which was slightly longer than normal due to the start block deflating) we were off, bang on time. Also kudos to Rat Race for having the portaloos right next to the starting line, that was a massive help today!
The race started with a 4 hurdle jump and then we started the first climb. Up up up we ran until we arrived just outside the Castle esplanade. The weather and the views were absolutely stunning and it was a real pleasure to run in Edinburgh today. The first couple of kilometres were sparse on obstacles with only a wall, a transverse wall and a rope climb to tackle but heavy with stair cases and inclines and by the time we reached the top of Carlton Hill my legs were burning. And then we were met with the first real obstacle zone which included the tyre sandwich, two sets of monkey bars, an inverted cargo net A frame and a couple of cargo nets to crawl under. There was also a bog standard A frame which I came unstuck on for the second time this year. It didn’t feel safe as I climbed and a lose foot placing at the top sent me into a fall which resulted in a rather hard collision with the ground. That, coupled with my shoes coming untied and my hair getting caught in the second net I descended the hill feeling pretty frustrated.
More stair cases and alleyways ensued and it was certainly a unique experience to run such a city race. I wasn’t keen on having to wait for traffic or pedestrians however and it took away from the race element slightly.
As we came to the half way point we were met with a cone carry and hanging rings and then suddenly we were on radical road and we were climbing again. At this point I was hurting, the A frame fall had left me a little shaken and I walked up the majority of it. Downhill however I am confident and I found my stride on the way down as we ran towards the loch. We were at 7km so the end was in sight. We ran down towards the loch and then doubled back under an underpass I didn’t even know existed until today. After emerging into another built-up area we were greeted with a sandbag carry and a slightly quirky basketball shoot out before heading back towards the Grassmarket.
The airbag jump was centred in the middle of the Royal Mile and it was surrounded by spectators and the atmosphere was amazing. As was the crowd at The Travellator which was at the 11km mark. Ironic that it was only a 10km race. The slide was next and it was definitely the steepest water slide I’ve come across this year, lots of fun!
There was only one more ‘zone’ after that which included the space hopper race as well as the ring hang, horizontal bars and another cargo net A frame. Tim was there marshalling and after a few stern words from him about my absolute lack of game face I picked off the female in front of me and then it was a sprint to the end.
The iconic survivors wall was all that was standing between me and the end and as I was approaching I spotted my mum and #3 in the crowd cheering me on. I hadn’t expected them to be there and it was just the boost I needed to scale the wall and cross the line.
Total time was 1:35:46. I was 11th female across the line. It wasn’t my best race, but I am a victim of my own mindset and unfortunately today I let the A frame tumble trickle through into my thought process and it slowed me down. Thankfully I had a mascot in the form of Paul who kept popping up at the various obstacle zones to offer encouragement and reminders that I wasn’t allowed to cry until after.
And regardless, Rat Race are exceptional at what they do and this race is unlike any other I have participated in this year. There were so many hills, and so many stairs. There was enough running to make it feel like a running race and enough obstacles to make it a tough tough day at the office. It has everything that you want from an OCR and it was a lot of fun. I’m very excited to experience all of them next year that’s for sure. The medal is awesome and the t-shirt is one of the nicest of the year so far.
There are adventure races…and then there’s…Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest.
Rat Race you did it again, you lied about the distance (it was 12km today) and you knocked it out of the park.