Battle of Lansdown
For anybody looking for a race that hits that sweet spot of mixing trail running and challenging obstacles – Battle of Lansdown takes you along the edges of fields, around winding trails in the woods, and up a few craftily-placed hills, all the while throwing well-spaced out obstacles such as classic monkey bars, a super-fast slide, balance beams, towers to climb, and more. To look at, the course itself doesn’t look too intimidating but you definitely notice how it’s all is designed to slow you down when you’re zig-zagging around some beautiful woodland trails, then hitting hills that are just steep enough to drop you to a walk but short enough that you feel guilty for doing so, or hurdling low walls before being slapped in the face with two back-to-back 8ft walls.
If there was a manual on how to set up a route for an OCR then Battle of Lansdown could be used as a fine example, with the obstacles spaced out enough to give you a chance to open your legs a bit on a run but also coming at you regularly enough so you never end up wanting for them. The obstacles themselves are all good quality – the (what I assume are permanently there) balance beams built into the trees, bridges, towers, monkey bars, and hang-tough rigs to the multitude of high walls, hurdles, traverse walls, and the famous van finish line everything here flows well and feels sturdy and well built (always reassuring) with more than enough to challenge to solo runners while at the same time giving the teams & groups plenty to help each other get over or have a bit of a mess around on.
Interestingly I registered the distance as 4.88 miles?? Last year was 5.5 miles but still not even close to 10k. Speaking to the others who crossed the line close to me we all had a little panic that we had missed out a chunk but it seems that this distance was correct. There’s nothing wrong with the course being that distance, but every time I see it being talked about as a 10k race it makes me want to be “that guy” who pipes up with “errrrr, actually…..”. Don’t turn me into that guy, nobody likes that guy.
Another point that I can’t get past is the big deal made out of giving out beer on the finish line. While admittedly it was a nice touch that there was a personalised Battle of Lansdown ale, I don’t see why giving out beer is such a common and normal thing to be dishing out at events like this, along with almost every medal doubling as bottle openers? Does anyone actually use their medals as a bottle opener? I can’t help but cringe when events make a big show of giving out beer, or asking on the startline who has either been on the booze, or is going to get on the booze as soon as the race is over (don’t even get me started on events that hire little groups to go around giving out shots of rum actually ON course. Actually do get me started, let’s talk). It seems pretty outdated and an indicator of a pretty large societal problem that’s a bit too much to get into in this race report!
DB Max OCR Events rescued Battle of Lansdown from death after the previous company announced it’s closure last year and thank goodness they did. From the off DB Max promised a perfectly-run event and through their pre & post-race communication and from what I could see of the running of the day itself they pretty much delivered! Keeping races like this alive is massively appreciated and if DB Max were to branch into more obstacle races then I would be one of the first to sign up.
If you want to get a solid race, or want a challenge with your bootcamp, gym group, or mates then you can get that at Battle of Lansdown. Serious racers and those who just want to go along and have a laugh alike will not be disappointed! This is a course for everyone.
What I’m trying to get at is this: Just do this race next year.
See also: How To Prepare For Your First Mud Run
This was my third time at Battle of Lansdown so I had a general idea of what the course was like and knew I would have a good time. That’s what I went for and that’s what I got! It was nice and warm with the sun emerging through the morning fog as we were running which gave us a really sweet atmosphere to have a race in. Having done a lot of mileage recently my legs were a little tired but not so much that I can really complain or put too much blame on them, I felt pretty good however it is very noticeable how much effect training long, slow miles have on your speed when everybody goes off at a crazy quick pace that never lets up!
This was a fun chance to run fast but I definitely felt a little sluggish and by the end my lungs felt like they have just had a bigger workout than they’ve had in months. There was the typical 200m sprint from the startline but it’s easy to ignore this when the course is (thankfully) wide so you don’t end up caught behind anybody who abruptly slows down. I did my best not to let up throughout and kept pushing forwards chasing a fast bunch, occasionally trading places and eventually ending up in 5th. It was a nice treat to have a blast around a decent race like this as my obstacle races are few and far between this year and I’ve missed the feeling of having a bruised back and battered knees from clumsily dragging myself over obstacles!
If you’ve read this far down, remember: Do this race next year.
See also: Why I’m A Crap OCR Racer
Written by me: Keith Fairburn
Personal Trainer, Sports Therapist, S&C Coach.
Ninja Warrior Semi-Finalist, Obstacle Racer, Salming Running Ambassador.
If you have any questions about anything I’ve written in this post or want to get in touch, contact me.