When she came back and tried again, with the crowd making a huge noise for her, she made it to the end and her screams of relief and joy as she got to the other end were a wonder to behold and definitely the most emotion I’ve ever seen during an obstacle race. Luckily, Mudstacle TV were there to catch every second so you can see it for yourself below: CLICK HERE
But Freya wasn’t the only person to become stuck on these rings. Dave Peters –
the Energise Mud Runners coach spent a whole hour there but also refused to give up and eventually completed it to finish the race with wristband still complete – albeit in a much slower time than he was probably expecting. I saw several other racers (all very fit guys and very strong obstacle racers) look close to tears as they fell time and time again. It was heart-breaking to watch but really inspiring at the same time. Even James Appleton, multiple Tough Guy champion and previous winner of the Mudstacle league dropped from it twice, but thankfully made it across on the third attempt and had enough of a lead over Ross Brackley that he kept his second place position for the rest of the race (despite Ross nailing it first time).
For me, it was the tip of the spear obstacle that nearly stopped me in my tracks. After the first waves had been through, the grippy paint had entirely wiped off, leaving only a very slippery surface. For my first five attempts I got nowhere and just slid unceremoniously back to where I started. But I stuck with it and, guided by Chris Boardman (the OCRA adjudicator who was there), I successfully developed a ‘leap and skip’ technique to get across on the 7th or 8th attempt. Big thanks to Chris for seeing me across there.
There was debate beforehand as to whether the course was looking ‘too upper body tough’ and therefore unrepresentative of the UK OCR scene. My own take on this now is that, whilst I firmly believe you don’t NEED technically challenging obstacles to create world class courses (just look at Nuts or Tough Guy), having them certainly added another dimension to the race. It created a theatre of emotions the likes of which we’ve not previously seen in our fledgling sport.
This race really had it all. The whole thing from start to finish was worthy of a peak audience televised event – from the pipe band and explosive pyrotechnic start to the phenomenally varied course featuring 86 man-made obstacles, more mud than you’d care to shake a stick at, regular ditches, ponds, rivers and plenty of running in between all made up the 10 mile course that was truly worthy of making history.
Before I end a couple of people deserve some recognition and thanks from the community. Firstly to James Parrish and his team at Nuclear Races. There is no doubt that the race would not have been the race it was without the huge investment that they put in to making it a success. Nuclear don’t do things by halves so we always knew they’d put on a good show but I think they surpassed all expectations.
And finally of course, to all of OCRA UK and in particular Mark Leinster who only took over ownership of the championships three months before race day,
threw his body and soul into it and worked tirelessly in a manner of which few people are capable of. Without Mark’s efforts the UK championships would not have had much differentiation from the Nuclear Fallout – he took it from a great race to an outstanding competition.
Representatives were there from the Obstacle Course Race Associations in Benelux, France, Spain, Germany and Italy and once again we can be proud that the UK are the showing the rest of the world the way.
Reviewed by Mudstacle