So for a bit of a laugh/something to do I thought I’d pick one race/event/standout challenge from each month of 2015 to sum up the year and for me to look back on. It’s been a ridiculous year taking me through Florida, Austria, Ohio, and.. er… Bristol. If you fancy taking a look then check out my year in review below!
January: Walt Disney World Marathon
A belter of a way to begin the year – travelling to Disney World, Florida to run a marathon that took us through each of the 4 Kingdoms as well as the ESPN centre. We ran underneath Cinderella’s Castle, past an African safari, and essentially around the world in Epcot all while being greeted by various Disney characters along the way it was very easy to be swept up in the magic of it all in this incredible race.
February: Devil Mud Run
Devil Mud Run turned out to be a great surprise – a race local to me built over some very hilly and muddy terrain, the organisers own the land so were able to build some really good obstacles into the hills and around the area. This was billed as non-competitive, yet was still a tough run (and we all know a win still counts as a win!!!), but great fun the whole way round – sticking in the mud on the downhill crawl, taking selfies with marshals en route, and jumping in the water right at the end. I was at this race with Chloe (obviously) and Paul Hayward who started in a later wave, so I accompanied him for a 2nd go round the course.
March: The Suffering Legend
The Suffering is just one of the best races out there, without a doubt. Such a grueling course, tough obstacles requiring a lot of strength, the reapers dealing out abuse and punishments, and by Christ those hills are relentless.
April: Forest Warrior
Another great surprise of a race, this was one I had been looking forward to since the moment it was announced, being fairly local to me again. Another chance to take on the human greyhound that is Rob Bowery, this was a great route through trails and hills in the Forest of Dean with all the walls, jumps, and carries that a person could want. Naturally I stitched myself up and managed to run about a mile off course so ended up coming in about 8th after running my tits off to make the places back up, but that final stretch of obstacles finishing with ‘the big one’ – a climbing wall, monkey bar, rope swing, cargo net climb sort of combo was just awesome and Forest Warrior have provided the best finishing obstacle each time I’ve done their races now.
May: Rat Race Dirty Weekend
Always a good event, Dirty Weekend came around before I felt like I had put in any real preparation for a 20 mile obstacle race! Nevertheless when you’re getting stuck in to the race it still feels like it’s over so fast and leaves you wanting more, but even so the race felt harder this year with the water sections being a bugger. It was funny to compare this experience to last year where Chloe and I went along by ourselves, raced in the event t-shirt and generally did our own thing. This year however there were seas of green or yellow t shirts, groups of friends from not only around the UK but Europe too and was a great social event from start to finish. Funny how much changes in a year!
June: Superhuman Games
Check out my full report on it here for more info.
July: Ram Run/Dirty Dozen
The following weekend was Dirty Dozen races in Usk, South Wales. I wasn’t fully recovered from Ram Run but enjoyed this one last year so was keen to hit those hills nonetheless! It was obviously hard going but I ended up in the top 10 which qualified me for the OCR World Championships which I hadn’t really considered going to before but little did I know was now on my way! I also ran around a second time with my good friend Laura Winter, with whom I had been training to prepare for this race.
She smashed it too – have a read of her whole journey here.
Not a race or event, but instead a holiday/stag-do to Mayrhofen in Austria. I travelled to the Alps with Mark where we spent to week running/trekking some silly distances up some crazy mountains and peaks. We ate a lot, we drank a lot, we ran a lot. It was one of the best weeks of my life.
Read about the whole experience here why not?
September: Devil Mud Run
October: OCR World Championships
What can be said about the OCRWC that hasn’t been already? To put it simply – the race was just an incredible mixture of tough obstacles, tougher hills, and personal challenges for everyone involved. I went into it feeling fitter than I ever have done before and felt like I ran as strongly as I physically could, but was knocked back by that one bastard obstacle – the Platinum Rig. The team event was one of the best things I’ve ever taken part in, and the whole weekend itself was unforgettable – definitely over too soon.
Check out my full experience here.
November: OCRAUK UK Champs
December: Rudolph Rampage/Seven Sins Immortal
These races were a particular worry as my leg injury hadn’t seemed to have improved at all, I had been trying other methods to help it but still wasn’t running at all. Rudolph Rampage came along aided by a couple of pain killers/anti-inflammatories. I know this route from doing the race before so was ready for the first 3k or so to be purely uphill. I strangely found myself leading the pack for the first 3k pretty much until we hit the peak – I could really feel not only where I haven’t been doing hill training but where my legs were so sore from training that week! Nevertheless I seemed to be running fast and strongly, and speeding my way through the trails in my Irocks (and reindeer costume) was just pure joy – I’d missed running so much. I kept pushing no matter how I felt (and how bad my lungs & heart felt), always feeling the next running approaching. I managed to hold my position for 2nd place, finishing the race feeling like I was going to die – in the best way possible. I was so happy with this result considering I have not ran, let alone train hills recently!