Forest Warrior weekend consisted of Forest Ninja on the Saturday – a chance to play and train on a 200 metre-or-so stretch of obstacles, and Forest Warrior – a 10k(ish) obstacle race based in the Forest Of Dean at The Speech House. It was, as usual, a mega fun weekend!! Read on below about each day..
On the Saturday, we had two groups who we took through the obstacles for a little show around and practice before letting them have a play around, then set them off for a 1km timed lap finishing on the obstacles again. I took a sort of unofficial lead on the training day, helped out by (beard) Craig (beard) Heron (beard), and another guy who’s name I somehow never caught- but he was a tank of a man.
The obstacles the groups were faced with were a Weaver, a Hang Tough/Ninja Ring setup, a sort of hanging tyre rig, Platform Jumps (sort of like a Confidence Jump/Dragon’s Back type of thing), Mini Walls, 8ft Wall, The Stinger (an electricity crawl), Balance Beams, a Rope/Pole/Wall Climb into the Ring Slide, and finishing on The Big Wall. It was an intense session, but everyone who took part had fun and gave everything a go. It was exhausting but really good fun getting a chance to play on weavers, nunchucks, ninja rings, slides etc.
I don’t need to write too much about this day – for an idea of it watch a video of the fun (press HD or change to highest quality):
I set off earlier than the first wave to make sure the course markers were still in place and no signs or tape had been removed by wild boar or angry locals (turns out one sign had been turned around by some fishermen so I’m glad I got to that before the racers!)
Forest Warrior really does have a great course – winding off-trail routes through the woods over and under fallen trees, lake side running, plenty of river scrambling (and a lake swim), and obstacles spread throughout – wall climbs, tunnel crawls etc. You can’t get better trail running than through the woods, paths, and non-paths of the Forest Of Dean. The trail also went up Fancy View to give the racers a… fancy view… of the whole Forest.
Thankfully it was a very warm day too! Around the Speech House field where the main obstacles were placed for friends and families to view, there were stands from The Wolf Hut (who do, without a doubt, the best food you will find at a race), My Sports & More, Octagon Sports Massage who gave me a brutal leg massage after my run around, an ice cream van, and kids entertainment things.
All of the runners were in very high spirits through the day, and almost everyone gave all the obstacles a go, even hard ones like the weaver and the nerve-wracking platform jumps. I didn’t see anybody down at the lake but I can only imagine there would have been a laugh going on down there! Even though it was nice and warm when you’re running around – a dip in the lake always causes a bit of a shock.
Everyone who was marshaling or helping out did a wicked job of helping people out and keeping things safe. Appearances from Miss Gloucester and the Go Ape team made for a bit of fun on the warm up and finish line handing out goodies. Myself, Craig (beard) Heron, and Mark Turner from Turner Videos Turner Mark Turner stayed and played/helped out on the obstacles until the end – as more and more people came through we helped them land safely from the ring slide, popped them over walls, encouraged them to jump the platforms despite fears setting in, and just generally had a fun time!
The finishers got a medal (of course), a gym towel, a travel mug (hello, environment), and loads of goodies such as can of protein coffee(?!), snack bars, drinks, car air fresheners etc etc. It’s so good to get something a little different for finishing a race and these prizes are awesome! The whole weekend was truly awesome – I’m so glad to be a part of it, and hopefully a potential new event in September will be a great new addition to the quality obstacle races we have in the South West now!
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.