It’s been a mad couple of weeks and I’m heading into Manchester this weekend (for lots of 25th birthday celebrations), but I wanted to get this on my blog (I've got alot of Barcelona content to get sorted next week). I had mentioned previously that I’d been busy planning some exciting summer months, and here's my latest event – Rough Runner!
Last weekend Danny and I took part in a 15K obstacle race located at Arley Hall (or as I know it, Tommy Shelby’s house), in Northwich. Rough Runner is an obstacle race that takes its inspiration from Ninja Warrior and Total Wipeout (among other game shows). I signed us up a few months back and was pretty excited when it finally came around. A huge positive is that it is much more friendly to those of different fitness levels, as you can choose to do a 5, 10 or 15K route on the course. We went for the 15K because I'm used to running for long periods of time, plus this meant we could tackle all the obstacles!
I’m doing Tough Mudder again in September, but wanted to mix things up and thought this would be something a little different (plus it meant I could drag Danny along). I am already looking at events like X Runner and Wolf Run for next year, because there are so many different courses to get involved in. I honestly love getting down and dirty with my fellow mudders and even going it alone doesn’t phase me, because you don’t have to look far for a helping hand.
By 9am we were parked up and headed to the bag drop zone (which was free and manned so I felt safe leaving my stuff), before checking out the rest of the place. There was coffee, food, merch and all the typical stalls you'd expect. They were even handing out pre-race protein boost sweets that were quite delicious, almost as good as the protein peanut bars we had after the race (I took a couple of extra freebies home). We headed over for a safety video, far more entertaining than expected, then after a warm up and the Rough Runner pledge... we were off!
Although on a smaller scale than Tough Mudder, I was impressed with the set up. People were friendly and everything was clearer signposted, plus they even had music going on arrival and a photographer to capture all the action. The overall course was less hard going overall than I expected, although some of the farm ground was a little harsh to run on. It was about 9 miles with approximately 15 obstacles total, this meant you weren’t running for long before you had a challenge to tackle.
Your given a coloured wristband at check in, that corresponds with the route you do (5K was white, 10K was blue and 15K was yellow). This is so if you get lost along the way their volunteers can guide you back to the correct route, they do have coloured flag markers, but it's easy to miss them if there's lots of people.
The obstacles ranged from 'Nelsons Column', where you have to avoid volunteers dressed up as pigeons, trying there hardest to take you down (I know it was bizarre but hilarious, definitely reminded me of Takeshi's Castle). 'Ramp It Up', is a half pipe that you take a run at to climb up and over, with a few ropes incase you need a helping hand. 'Beam Me Up', this was a thin ladder like piece of scaffolding that you had to climb down, I ended up with my legs wrapped around it hanging upside down (definitely felt like Spiderman). 'Fearless Fall', essentially a long slip and slide so this was just a good laugh as we raced to the bottom. Then the moving obstacles like 'Swept Of Your Feet' and 'The Revolution' (think Total Wipeout), it’s simple avoid the moving arms or you’ll end up in the water (Danny learnt this the hard way). Finally the best part is at the finish line, ‘The Travelator’. You are presented with four lanes, they are all on an incline, the first three go down in speed but the fourth is known as 'The Lane of Shame'. This is because it actual takes you up instead of going against you, so if you're knackered by the end you can still make it to the top.
After running for 15KM, being submerged underwater, getting muddy and climbing over varying obstacles... we were obviously not as confident as we had been in the morning, when we first saw 'The Travelator'. However, that wouldn't stop me giving it a good go. We both fell flat on our faces on the first lane, it was already slippy and that meant I just lost my footing. I wasn't quite sure what to expect because I don’t usually jump on the treadmills in the gym, so falling at the first made me better prepared for the second. We managed to redeem some dignity on this lane, which we both made it up (as you can see in the above picture, Danny was determined).
I’d recommend everyone to sign up, even if it’s just the 5K. You could do it with work or friends and family! It’s only as hard as you make it, as there’s no obligation to do any obstacles you aren’t comfortable with. This was the first time Danny had done anything like this and I think for the most part he enjoyed it (apart from the getting soaked), it’s a good laugh and we definitely earned the takeout we had afterwards.
I’m getting back in the gym now to continue training for Tough Mudder, still mastering my pull up technique (as I don't currently have one). Plus I'm hoping to do some big trekking next year so it's important to keep my fitness levels up!
🍑 A B Y
Aby, 24. Northerner.