I had never before competed in an event as big as the European Championships, to say I was nervous was an understatement. We arrived the day before the event was due to commence to go and have a look around the course. Usually I would say my upper body strength, grip and speed all go for me and I don’t come across many problems on course. This however was different, it looked like a course for ninjas and most of the obstacles laughed at me. Despite knowing well ahead that I was not going to do extraordinarily well, I promised myself I would try every obstacle and push myself all the way.
Friday was the 4km short course, I will say it was fun and a learning experience not just for myself but most racers, the course was brutal. This was nothing short of a 4km Ultimate Ninja type race, not an OCR. I am not sure of the official figures, however the current World Champion pulled out on course and there was a 1% band retention from the 2000 racers….
It was good to see the governing body listened to the athletes and decided to make some much needed changes to the main event on Saturday.
Saturday came far too quickly, however the spirits were high despite the brutal event from the day before. An inspirational moment for me before starting on my wave was seeing Jon Albon, current World Champion, once again finishing in top spot, however seeing him give his 1st place to the 2nd place runner because he felt who comes across the line 1st should be the winner was true sportsmanship!
The main event was a 15km race, fantastic obstacles which all posed a challenge and a brilliant beach section which, despite the weather being so hot, was nice to have a breeze along that stretch. Unfortunately for me I had done some damage to my arm on the Friday and spent most of the main event in agonising pain, after seeing the medical team it appears I overstretched my elbow or possibly slightly dislocated it, I am now waiting for an MRI scan to find out.
Sunday was the team relay event, 3 team members each had to run a 2km section before running the final 2km together. I knew I should not have done this race, however to come so far and trained for this event, it felt silly not to at least attempt. We had to find a new recruit for Team Broken as one of our members chipped a bone in her foot the day before, so we recruited a member of Team Denmark who was an absolutely wonderful guy! We called ourselves Team Broken by the end, we had a laughable injury list, no skin on hands, my elbow injury and a ripped bicep from our other team member.
All in all this event was absolutely brilliant, it broke the majority of racers but the camaraderie and sportsmanship from every nation was exemplary and everybody should feel proud to of been part of this event.
About the author: Scott Gray is a personal trainer and Sundried ambassador.
Continuing on from last year when I decided to give running and Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) a go – I can definitely confirm I’m addicted! Last year I did 9 OCRs and 2 running events.
This year so far I have taken part in 3 long distance runs, 6 OCRs, and one 5k relay race (and it's only June!)
My latest OCR was at the end of May. It was an event called The Elements. This consists of an 8k course and you enter how many laps you want to complete. I entered 2 laps with my friend Lisa. I’m the first to admit I’m not a fan of lapped courses, once I have done one lap of something I get that dreaded feeling of ‘I’ve got to do this all over again’. But The Elements looked fun so I was looking forward to it.
Our wave time was 12pm, which was a bit later than what we normally enter. It also felt like one of the hottest days of the year.
Just before 12pm we gathered round by the starting pen for our race briefing and then off we went. We started on a downhill which is never fun because you know what goes down must come up.
Before a race I always say to Lisa that I am going to make sure I attempt every obstacle. As I have only been doing OCRs for a year I am still new to them and learning how to complete them. The only obstacle I didn’t attempt was an inverted wall up into a ladder down. I’m not a fan of heights and the gap between the wall and the ladder looked a bit too much for me. Plus there was a queue of people waiting to get on it, so instead of waiting in the hot sun I ran round this one.
The obstacles I did complete were muddy trenches, 4 ft walls, 6 ½ foot walls, 7 ft walls, inverted walls, a maze, scramble nets, monkey bars, sternum checkers, Irish table, dragons back, slides, magic carpets, bucket carry, Frisbee throw, tyre drag, cargo net, sandbag carry, water drum carry, river wading, and traverse walls.
Coming to the end of the first lap was tough because we knew we had to do all of that again. We agreed that we made a pact that no matter how we felt after the first lap we would be definitely completing a second lap. So before we knew it we were over the 4 ft wall and heading to our second lap.
We passed (and were overtaken) by a lot of runners who were completing 4 laps and more that day. Hats off to them that must have been tough for them, but they still looked more comfortable than me.
My training consists of a lot of strength work, I now realise I need to add more cardio into my weekly routine.
We finished the course in 3 hours and I was very happy with what I had achieved. I managed to complete those obstacles with no real trouble and despite the heat it was a comfortable run.
About the author: Emma Vincent is a personal trainer and Sundried ambassador.