Mud Nation 2019! The second obstacle race/mud run introduced by events company DB Max, or more accurately the second obstacle race/mud run they have rescued! Monster Race by any other name is still the same, and make no mistake this was Monster Race, the awesome race company that unfortunately went out of business a couple of years ago. To be able to continue to take part in this event and others like it is a pleasure.
Set in Charlton Park, Malmesbury runners were able to take on obstacles around the large, open manor grounds. Flat, easy to run fields and trails with a generous spread of obstacles to keep us entertained the whole way – we were met with various A-Frames, Low Walls, High Walls, Slippery Climbs, and lots more to drain your legs and slow you down. Mixed in to these classics were wooden towers to climb through and up & down including the Monster Race ‘Toilet Seat’ for those who remember, and one set of Monkey Bars. A couple of carrying obstacles included a sandbag carry around a short loop, and some mixed heavy atlas stones right on the finish line (kudos to anyone who lifted the heaviest).
We were of course treated to a long mud/river wading section with low barbed wire forcing us into a low squat or crawl. Thankfully a benefit of early wave times meant that I was only getting wet, but I could feel the mud being churned up below my feet and can only imagine that later waves must have struggled to get out of here clean. The very end hit us with the Battle of Lansdown Traverse Wall and a couple of Over-and-Through Walls before attempting to lift the Atlas Stones over a rope as the finish line.
Mud Nation took part on a very rotten day, it was windy and rainy but after a fun warm up (which we were forced to participate in – even in the Elite Wave – they should know that people in the Elite Wave don’t want fun stuff like this) it didn’t feel too cold running and to be fair even the water was pretty nice and not a bother to be in & out of. As mentioned there was an Elite Wave put in here to set off the few who want to race earlier than everyone else. This was nice but if an event going to have an Elite Wave then they could have a prize for 1st place at least, or just call it wave 1 and let people race if they are that way inclined. A minor criticism but I had to look for something.
You can definitely get a good race in here but really it’s better taken on with friends or in a group.
Mud Nation had 5k or 10k (2 lap) options. With the inclusion of a kids wave you’ve got something for everyone here. If you’re looking for an event to do as a one-off, to get yourself or other beginners into doing OCR, or just want to get out and have a good time then you can do much worse than Mud Nation! DB Max now have two very decent events on their books. Oh, you get a pretty nice medal for finishing too.
If you like this race you’ll like:
OCR in 2019
While Mud Nation had a few waves filled out, relatively speaking it seemed fairly quiet around the event village when I finished my race, maybe it was because of the weather, maybe it was because stupid rugby was on the TV, or maybe it was some other reason but it was a shame to not see it busier.
Bear with me on this;
I can remember many (many) years back watching an episode of the basketball TV show Hang Time where the team were the favourites to win the annual basketball tournament(?!) and put everything into it, training hard and playing well until they reached the final and after getting themselves stressed out their game fell apart and they lost the match, blaming each other and all sorts of outside forces. Following this their coach took them do to a local neighbourhood for a bit of a mess around game and whatever a kickabout is called in basketball. They end up having fun, laughing, they loosen up, and they remember why they started playing basketball to begin with. The series ends on a happy note and Anthony Anderson goes on to a very entertaining movie career (Jay Hernandez is doing ok too but had to start with Hostel).
Anyway, if you need this brilliant metaphor spelled out for you, I’m comparing this teen sitcom story line to OCR and the build up to the many (many) championship races that are around these days. A lot of people get very worked up about the obstacles that the races feature, panic buy some grip holds to practice on, stress out about the terrain, or generally put themselves in a pressured place leading up to the World Championships. All of that is fine if that’s your thing – I love competing and can completely relate to those who want to push hard, do well, or put pressure on themselves to complete a race even if winning was never on the cards. What I would say though – is that this shouldn’t need to be all year round. After OCRWC has finished, there is no time off – preregistration for next year is open, a venue is announced, a new World Championships in Russia is announced(?!), the European and now UK championships are brought up again, everybody is back in the gym Monday morning and the cycle never ends.
To end all of this, here’s my obvious advice: After the big races of the OCR year are done, take a few weeks to relax and forget about competition, stay active but don’t push yourself, and sign up for a mud run that reminds you of how all of these obstacle races got as popular as they are. Coincidentally Mud Nation takes place shortly after the OCR World Championships.
Photos by Active Stills Media
Written by me: Keith Fairburn
Personal Trainer, Sports Therapist, S&C Coach.
Ninja Warrior Semi-Finalist, Obstacle Racer, Trail Runner.
If you have any questions about anything I’ve written in this post or want to get in touch, contact me.