We’re big fans of Rat Race. I’ve never been disappointed by one of their events, the production they put on is second to none.

This time though we were trying a new Rat Race event – Runstock. Pitched at everyone from fun runners to ultra enthusiasts and from tots to the more mature runner this was an off-road event like no other. 5km laps complete with obstacles with the option to run as many laps as you wanted within the 8 hour time limit. With each lap completed came a different coloured wristband with specially designed Runstock medals given out once you had decided enough was enough, wether that be at 5km or 50km.

We had decided to camp, and after the last leaky tent fiasco at Total Warrior we were hoping for a more positive experience. 

This was Niamh’s fourth run in her #9for9 challenge and she had announced a few days prior that she was hoping to do two laps, so 10km, further she had ever run before. Her determination and drive to push herself is something quite extraordinary. 

After a relatively straight forward 302 mile drive we registered on the Friday night with ease. And once we realised the tent poles went inside the fly sheet and not the internal section we were set and ready to bunk down for the night. A 7am start to collect our timing chips for the day went without a hitch and by the time the starting gun sounded at 10am we were set and ready to rock. 

Because this is an obstacle race pitched at families the obstacles aren’t ‘hard’. They’re fun. And we were presented with 7 zones of obstacles throughout the 5km loop. First up was the water slide, and I can confirm that the height is not altered just because there’s three years old present! However, Niamh seems to possess none of the fear I do and she had thrown herself down it before I could back out. 

Next up was the river crossing and there we were presented with three options ranging from a full submersion risk to the easy option. We did all three options. The dingeys were hilarious and actually much harder than they looked! After falling in a couple of times Niamh managed the trampolines on the full submersion option with ease and was much calmer than me throughout. 

Rat Race staples like the space hopper race and the monkey bars made for familiar yet fun territory and there were options throughout should you want to chose a ‘dry feet’ road. 

The pillow jump was just as awful as it always is. Just ask Niamh. 

As we approached the finish line we had to run through the big top and it made for an exciting conclusion, if it was indeed the conclusion. Fancy an hour off for lunch? Great. There were loads of food vendors to chose from, ranging from wood fired pizzas to vegan cakes and burgers. And then you could go back out. No formal start times meant you could start and finish as you pleased and it worked effortlessly. Groups came and went, families walked/jogged/pushed prams surrounded by the elite who were aiming for the most number of laps – 50km+

The course closed at 6pm, by which point we were well on our way to refuelling from the excitement of the day,  Niamh had utilised her weekend play pass to the max and I barely saw her all afternoon, there was so much for the kids to do outwith the running, the whole event had a very relaxed feel to it made better by the fact the sun shone all day. 

There are normally things that bug me about events, that make me think ugh it would’ve been perfect if…

Well, Runstock was the perfect event, the perfect weekend. It is a completely unique balance of fun and competitive allowing runners to pitch themselves at whatever level they wish. Niamh blows me away every single time she races but I was in absolute awe of some of her and some of the kids that took part this weekend, with a handful completely the 50km mark completely blowing the majority of us out the water. 

I have been struggling to find a balance of enjoying and challenging myself for a while but this event ticked all the boxes, to the point where I’m impatiently waiting for next years tickets to be released. 

If you’re looking for a way to get your family into OCR then this is it. 

Another event executed perfectly by Rat Race, I think I might even be a camping convert…