Where: Market Harborough
When: February 6
First man: Keith Wardell 38:40
First woman: Laura Davidson 43:22
Last finisher: 1:34:27
No. of finishers: 159
Race Type: Rural/Trail
RW Rating 2011: 88%
For most people, Sunday mornings are about long lie-ins, leisurely breakfasts, and perhaps a gentle jog in the park. But for the 160 or so who turned up for this new offroader, it was clear that nothing short of getting covered head to toe in mud would do. And, fortunately for them, mud was the one thing in plentiful supply here.
Trainers from British Military Fitness, the outdoor training specialists, set the tone by warming runners up with a series of core exercises that gave them a snail's eye view of the sludgy terrain that lay in store. With muscles stretched and kit suitably pre-gunged, the starting gun sent the field off straight into a fierce headwind which, despite the many twists, turns and changes of direction, was to be a constant feature of the race.
The route, entirely offroad on private farmland, went straight into a muddy quarry. The sheer climbs, drops and ankle-busting potential of some of the deep pools of water would be pretty tough even for the robust vehicles designed for such terrain; for runners, simply staying upright was impossible. Four wheels good, two legs bad, as George Orwell almost said.
The next four kilometres was peppered with obstacles, including rows of tyres, a truck (the dilemma being whether to clamber over it or slither through the mud underneath it) and stacks of hay bales. The largest natural obstacle was a freezing knee-deep stream through which participants had to run for around 70m.
By contrast, the second half lacked any obstacles, the organisers obviously feeling that headwind plus shoe-sucking bogs equalled a sufficient-enough challenge. Consequently, runners settled down into a rhythm of lurching unsteadily over a succession of anonymous fields - until the final 500m, where they hit a sting in the tail: a second trip to the quarry, a rather tall gate to climb over and a final set of tyres to dance through.
For a first-time event the organisation was commendable and, while more obstacles and toilets would have been a plus, this is one to keep your eye on.
What you said: "It was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. The mud was really slippery and the course was extremely hilly, especially for someone who is used to road running on the flat. It certainly got the old ticker going!" Igor Burbela
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