Greetings from a sunny UK and a warm welcome to an insight into the OCR scene across the Atlantic Ocean!
My name is Simon Goss and my hope is to give you an idea of what obstacle races are like over here that are not only native to the UK, but also how the ‘larger’ events that make the hop across the ocean compare to their bigger brothers, Stateside.
The focus of this review is an event that’s part of a series, based in the East of England, called Insane Terrain…. and it was my mission to see just how insane this could be!
Insane Terrain coined their own slogan ‘Hardcore Fun’, and offer a race that is suitable to Elite runners and ‘fun’ runners alike. Upon arrival at the Ipswich race, not too far from the eastern coast in England, the event village was located in an open field with the start line clearly visible and track leading off into a nearby set of trees, not really offering any clue as to what lay ahead.
A very relaxed atmosphere was buzzing around. Although at first glance there appeared to be a fairly limited amount of stalls, but upon further inspection it appeared what was there, ticked every possible box, including the event stall, offering t shirts etc and a health food stall, offering a variety of energy bars and gels for both before and after the race. The presence of a decent first aid stall and on site ambulance filled everyone with confidence and a local radio station provided the background music to get everyone pumped for their wave to start!
It wasn’t long before I was lining upon the start line, along side many other excited looking racers, including a good friend of mine who was about to experience his first obstacle race! After a quick warm up with a trainer perched on the back of a truck, we were off and heading toward the tree line ahead!
The course, itself was based at an equestrian centre and used a mix of natural terrain, horse jumps and some specifically made obstacles for this event. A good course design soon separated the the ‘serious’ from the ‘fun’ runners as we headed over a selection of barrel type jumps before heading up a very soft sandy hill which really punished the legs within 1k of the start!
What laid ahead was a variety of jumps, balance beams, river runs, net crawls, mud crawls, under wire river crawls (lots of crawling!) and even a bridge jump into a river! These were separated by a variety of runs which included steep forest trails, open fields, zig zag up and down steep hills and even a swamp walk which tested even the most experienced OCR fan!
The 5K course offered an interesting option that I’ve not experienced at other events before, where you could decide at the end of your first 5K if you wanted to continue on for a second lap and therefore do the 10K race! This turned out to be an excellent option for people who were new to obstacle racing and had perhaps underestimated the effect of mud and obstacles on a normal run.
All this mixed together meant for a fantastic course which really tested the abilities of the runners and this is where the distance option at the end of the first 5k really paid off. My friend decided to take their offer and headed for the finish line as I grabbed some water from the drinks station and went the other way and set off for a second loop!
Upon reaching the finish line, we were greeted with friendly faces offering water, energy gels, an event t shirt and even a nice medal!
Off to the side, they had a hose system setup so you could wash away most the mud and separate changing tents for ladies and gents, which is not always the case here in the UK, and I’ve become an expert at washing from water bottles and changing in my car!
– Reasonable entry fee
– T shirt and medal included
– Option during the race as to distance (5k or 10k)
– Excellent for beginners
– Fantastic marshalling
– Could do with more larger obstacles (walls etc)
– Ran out of shirts for later finishers, drinks bottles and towels given instead
It was an excellent event, both hardcore and fun, suitable for both experienced and new runners alike and I will definitely be taking part again next year!
Meet the Author ~
Hi, I’m Simon, just a regular British dad of 2 kids (and a dog) with a very understanding wife who understands my love of playing guitar and obstacle racing.
An ex amateur football (soccer) player, I found OCR in 2013 and have an ever growing collection of medals, t shirts and calendar entries for future races!