Set in its new 2017 location of Harburn House, this years Bing Blazer promised to be bigger and better than ever.
I had apprehensions going in, I had my first top 10 finish at last years Bing Blazer but I wasn’t a massive fan of the long running sections and the obstacles didn’t really tick all the boxes for me. This year promised to be very different though and I was eager to see what we would be presented with. Niamh and Erin were also running, along with Hayden, in the Bing Bairns race and Niamh was massively excited to tick race number 3 off her list from her #9for9 challenge.
Waking up on race day to single degree temperatures and some of the worst rain we’ve had in months threw everything up in the air however and it became a waiting game to see what sort of course we would have come 11:30am.
With weather like this everything would be harder. Running, climbing, breathing, everything. Not to mention the fact Audrey and I were then going back out to run with the girls after the adults run.
First though, we had to navigate registration and the toilets. Which unfortunately were the only things to let Bing down this year. There were a lot of people in one rather small area and it made things slightly chaotic. We struggled to get registered on time even though we arrived over an hour before the start time, and the pre-race wee was secretly executed from behind a tree but we made it, we reached the start line and we were set.
It was great to see a lot of familiar faces, with a mass turn out from Race Fitness and the Warrior Fit teams as well as the MacTuff Team out in full force. Bing Blazer is a European qualifier, and there were fast, formidable racers lined up on the start line ready to try and grab an elusive spot in the top 10.
My initial thought had been to just run and have some fun, which is somewhat hard to do when you’re standing next to such exceptional runners, and I was swept up in the fast start.
The first couple of obstacles included a wasit high swim across a pond, and the infamous Lion Rampant (which I failed, meaning 10 burpees) and suddenly at 2km I couldn’t breath. And it was awful. I was still carrying a slight chest complaint after getting ill post Dirty Weekend and my lungs just ceased to inflate and I panicked. What felt like eternity but in reality was only about 4 minutes was spent trying to convince my brain I was in fact ok, able to breath and functional, albeit slightly cold. Thankfully Audz came up behind me and helped calm me down and we then ran together for the rest of the race.
And the rest of the race was exceptional. The obstacles were really well thought out and the Valley was hard, with six exceptionally slippy, exceptionally hard obstacles waiting for us. I really enjoyed Tyred Monkey which was three tyres hanging from chains which you had swing across. You had to think about it and the rain made them even harder. Lava Sharks as well was a highlight, balance beams connected to platforms connected to more balance beams, but my god they were slippy. There were also things like kettlebell pulls and ninja rings, although sadly they were closed when we got there which meant another 10 burpees.
With it apparent I had no racing in my legs at all we just took it at an easy pace and it was as enjoyable as it could be with the weather and the ache in my chest. The only being that we were on a time clock, the girls were racing at 1pm and we had to run with them, so we had to be back.
With more burpees coming at Weaver and the last set of Monkey Bars I was thankful for the finish line, after descending the firemans pole and being colour dusted by the lovely marshals. I collapsed over the line and promptly burst into tears, the fright at 2km had left me pretty shaken and I took a moment just to get my head back together.
The kids race had been delayed, I imagine because of the delay in getting adults back over the finish line, however by the time we started I was really really cold. The rain was coming down hard and there had been no time to change before going out again. Niamh had shot off at the start, running with Tim, her firm favourite who she has dubbed the fastest man in the world and she cruised round into 2nd place earning herself another trophy for her seemingly never ending collection. Erin and I went round together as did Audrey and Hayden and I think had the weather been better, and there had been some more obstacles for them, they would’ve felt happier about it, but they were cold and miserable and thankful to just go home.
Over in the adults results there were some very impressive runs from the Warrior Fit and Race Fitness teams alike with the top ten littered with names from both. I had set out to try and achieve what I did last year, this is the first repeat race of this sort for me, and I didn’t. It took me a few days to stop berating myself about not feeling well, for holding Audrey back, and for not at least equalling my position from last year. There is a lot about OCR that is competitive and it sometimes takes away from why I fell in love with the sport in the first place.
OCR came into my life in the form of a non competitive Tough Mudder event and transformed me from someone who was unsure where life was headed into someone who found their passion. It transformed me into someone who challenged herself and who felt like they could actually succeed. It came into my life at the right time and I fell in love with OCR because of the challenge it brings, because of the sense of achievement it brings, and because of the fun. Because if you’re not having fun then why are you even doing it?
Was Bing Blazer everything that I wanted it to be initially? No. I didn’t ‘race’. I didn’t finish top ten and I didn’t qualify for Euros.
Was Bing Blazer everything that I needed it to be? Yes. It was hard, the obstacles were challenging, when I crossed the finish line the sense of achievement was incredible. And once I’d warmed up and got new clothes on I realised I had actually enjoyed it.
Bing Blazer delivered on its promised. It was bigger, it was longer, and it was much more of a challenge. Let’s hope next year it’s sunny!