Trailtroopers had a lot to live up to today. I have completed a fair few races so far this year (28 to be exact) and some of them have been exceptional. So as Event 29, I was expecting big things. Especially when I typed in the postcode last night and realised it was going to take us 1hr and 48 minutes to get there.
And it absolutely didn’t disappoint. I would actually go so far as to say it’s in my Top 5 of all races this year.
As it was Halloween the distance was fitting; 6.66km precisely. There were zombies everywhere and the weather played its part by being misty and drizzly and pretty atmospheric.
We started in Wave 1, a little mini team of warriors today; Abby, Jamie, Paul and myself. Our friend Ali was due to run but unfortunately is injured so just the 4 of us to represent today. Jamie was 2nd at the last Trailtroopers at Castle Dangerous and both Abby and I made the Top 10 so we were excited to see what today would bring.
The start was a downhill which lulled you into a false sense of security really, considering it lasted about half a kilometre before we started to climb. Having said that, the first half kilometre was full of obstacles; under barriers, web-crawl, A Frames, a tyre carry and water. Lots and lots of water today, with a full body submersion (under a coffin no less) at around the first kilometre.
The trail was incredible all day. ‘Undulating’ is probably the best word to describe it, with sharp inclines and declines interspersed with stair cases and the odd tree to duck under. After the first initial burst of obstacles there was a long long section of trail which took us again through water and tunnels and out into the hills. Still climbing, the runners in front and behind were sucked in by the mist and I spent a lot of my race running alone. The hills were certainly unexpected and challenging, I clocked my watch at 4 kilometres and we were still going up.
But, what goes up must come down and we hit the peak and then sailed down the hill to another section of obstacles. I nearly missed the rope climb, it was hidden at the end of a ploughed section of field and I thought the Marshall was shouting that I’d gone the wrong way, ironic that I then did take a wrong turn not long after.
Another tyre carry, a swamp and then through a gate to home. I entered the gate and saw a downhill stretch and just opened up my stride a bit. Having seen the last few obstacles at the starting line I knew I had a carry, a crawl, an A Frame, the wall and the slide and then it was the finish line. Except as I ran down the path I pooped out at the slide, I had missed a turn somewhere. Annoyed with myself I turned around and ran back up the path and met Abby, who had also assumed we were to come down the way. Together we went back up, jumped over the gate into the right section of field and carried on our race. The last few obstacles were in sight and we crossed the line just a few seconds apart.
This race was everything that makes OCR great. It had challenging obstacles, long hard sections of running, water, mud, carries, crawls and walls. There was nothing missing from today, except again (sorry Trailtroopers I’m a massive fan) that the Marshalls were just not up to scratch. Abby and I were not the only ones to go the wrong way down the last hill, in fact I counted at least 10 more participants popping out at the end slightly confused as to where they should be. The marshals that were there on the whole were ok, but only a few offered encouragement or words of support/direction as we passed. It is definitely the one thing that lets Trailtroopers down.
Having said that, it’s a great race. It’s family friendly and they get it right obstacle/running balance wise every time. And it reflects on the fact it took us just under an hour to run a 6.5k race with an an ascent of 1200ft today!
Thanks Trailtroopers, for delivering a great race today, we will definitely be back!