ISSUE #23 NOVEMBER ’17 £5.95
RE RACING AND ADVENTU LE C A ST B O NO.1 FOR
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUNDUP Find out what the athletes faced in this years competition.
THE AGOGE 006 PART 2
NAIL THE MONEKEYBARS
COLD WEATHER PREPARATION
Find out what the competitors had to face on day two at the isle of Skye
A technique that will get you across any set with just a little focus on training
Your body and mind will thank you for preparing it for the big chill
WHY MOBILITY WORK IS IMPORTANT
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The World Championships of the OCR industry have been and gone, and what a nail biter it was. Managing Director Athol Dipple
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CONTRIBUTORS Gemma Spackman (Why Mobility Is Important), Alexandra Edley (Recipes Page), Sarah Greene (Spartan Ogoge Part Two), Sam Winkworth (Training Lessons From Ocrwc), Louise Ballantyne (Tartan Warrior), Deniz Üstüner (Lasting 24 Hours), Philip Crosson (Man Vs Mountain), Fabian Yeo (Ocrwc Review).
PHOTOGRAPHY Tony Jarvis Photography (Editors Letter Photo), Tony Jarvis Photography (Front Cover).
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67 nations, yes that’s right, 67 nations from all around the world came together in the blue mountain resort in Canada. Thousands of racers battled it out to be crowned king or queen of OCR. Jonathan Albon put in a performance that showed why he’s the best in the world, finishing with a hand full of minutes lead in the 15km distance classic course. Yes minutes ahead of athletes who are considered some of the best multisport athletes to grace the OCR course with their presence. Stepping over the finish line in first place for the fourth time, retaining his undefeated record on the classic course. Not only that but he also placed first in the 3k short course the day before too. This combined with his win in the Toughest tour and also the Sky running world Championships has made 2017 a bumper year for Albon that’s for sure. So apart from the World Championships viewing what else have we been up to at ORM, well for one we’ve been putting together our tremendous new subscription race packages. We’ve made them the BIGGEST value they’ve ever been in the last four years. And the vest you’ll receive with the packages, its a stunner even if we do say so ourselves. What else have we got in this issue. Well we have a guide to using a head torch. We dissect what it takes to complete a set of monkey bars. And of course as the cold weather is here, there’s simply no getting away from the fact that you are going to have to prepare for it. But never fear ORM is here, just read our tips on page 40 to get a better understanding of what you should be doing to prepare for the cold snap.
CARL WIBBERLEY (EDITOR)
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TRAINING LESSONS FROM OCRWC Sam Winkworth teaches athletes how to analyse their performance at the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships.
WHY IS MOBILITY IMPORTANT Gemma teaches us why mobility is something we should all be working on.
LASTING 24 HOURS
Are you ready for the mental and physical challenges of a 24 hour plus event?
OCRWC REVIEW Find out how it felt to be part of one of the biggest OCR events on the calendar.
MASTERING MONKEY BARS
Learn how to make monkey bars look easy.
SPARTAN SEASON ROUND UP
HEAD TORCH RUNNING
We share all the tips to keep you safe while running with a head torch. We also give you a little advice on how to pick your perfect twilight partner.
MAN VS MOUNTAIN Who doesn’t want to spend their weekend racing up to the summit of Snowdon and jumping in lakes on the descent down.
COLD WEATHER PREPARATION
Get your body and mind ready for the cold racing conditions ahead.
One of Scotland’s most family friendly OCRs. Find out why people get so excited to take part in this North of the border race.
COUNTRYSIDE CODE Let’s just remember to leave the courses as we find them
PSYCOLOGY BEHIND CHARITY RUNNING Are you a charitable runner. Do you offer assistance without hesitation.
KIT FOR A CHALLENGE You can’t turn up on the start line without the right kit for the challenge ahead. In this issue we share with you all the correct kit for a Triathlon and why it’s important.
KIT CARE With the amount you invest into your kit, you really should make sure it gets the best treatment off the course so that you can abuse it in the mud.
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With lots of new challenges added to the Spartan Race UK calendar this year. Find out how people reacted to the line-up of tough events.
RECIPES PAGES Cook up the perfect fuel for your racing and training with the ORM recipes pages.
BIO SYNERGY Q&A YOUR OCR BUDDY The Bio Synergy team do their very best to Russ tells us all about the app that has revolutionist the way we search and book our races across the world.
The pages of the magazine that let you share your muddy adventures
EVENTS LISTING All the events coming up over the next few months
Triathlon as an industry has followed many of the same patterns OCR is currently going through. Could this be your next bucket list challenge.
We’ve introduced a brand new challenge to you, now its time to tell you a little more about how to prepare for a Triathlon.
A NEW CHALLENGE – TRIATHLON
TRAINING FOR A CHALLENGE
OGOGE 006 PART TWO Arrests, car accidents and whisky barrels. Sounds like the description to a pretty amazing adventure to us.
Obstacle Race Magazine 7
FEATURE : TRAINING LESSONS FROM OCRWC
TRAINING LESSONS FROM
CHAMPIONSHIPS Written by: Sam Winkworth | Photgraphy by : Tony Jarvis Photography
So the OCR world champs has been and gone in the blink of an eye and by all accounts it proved to be an absolute beast of a race and one of the toughest challenges yet for a lot of athletes. If the challenging terrain and skill based obstacles weren’t enough, the wet conditions seemed to be a significant factor this year which appeared to make things even more brutal for our athletes so serious kudos should go out to everyone that took part. After the race, and during reflections, I was hearing on the old grapevine that a few of our athletes after the worlds were on a bit of a downer about how they performed, how they messed their training up & 'how they lost their band’. And you know what? It’s okay to feel like that. It’s pretty normal to feel slightly disappointed, disheartened or a little dejected about things after a big race or competition. I wrote about this in a previous article for OR magazine, and here’s the thing. Failure, losing or when we mess up, is awesome. Why?! Because it’s when you learn your BIGGEST lessons and it gives you the EXACT tools to move forwards. Whether its more grip strength for slippery wet obstacles, strength on
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mountainous hills, fixing niggling injuries, a more specific training plan or dealing with pre-race nerves. You now know exactly what you need to work on and that’s a GREAT place to be by the way. Because you never learn anything when you win, I don’t care what anyone says. You learn much more from your failures than you do from your successes, so don’t be too hard on yourself. HOW TO KEEP GROWING AS AN ATHLETE No matter how badly “you think” you’ve performed you can always pull some positives from the experience so that you stay logical and rational about your performances and keep that "emotional animal brain" out of the equation.
HERE ARE THOSE 3 SIMPLE QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF AFTER EVERY RACE, HOWEVER BIG OR SMALL 1. What went well? 2. What didn’t go well? 3. What needs improving?" So basically what skill set/discipline/area do you need to level up in order to get to where you want to get to. Remember, the awesome thing about failure is that it is only temporary so embrace It, learn the lesson and then come back even stronger.
FEATURE : TRAINING LESSONS FROM OCRWC
SAMMY APPROVED WAYS To train for the 2018 OCR World Champs
Is there a perfect way to train for OCR?! Not really, as what might work for one athlete may not necessarily work for the Other, but consider that you can still raise your game and grow as an athlete, provided you know what skills/disciplines to work on. Having been in a dialogue with a lot of the athletes that participated at the worlds this year, from elites right through to journeyman, here’s what was highlighted and a summary of what areas of their training they felt they needed to up level the most for next time. 1. DOING MORE LONG HILLY RUNS Its no use being a super fast runner over 5k, 10k & half marathon distances, that won’t necessarily transfer over to mountainous terrain very well, it will up to a point, but consider that you’ll need to do a regular long run that focuses on training the aerobic energy system & mimics the terrain that you’ll be running on and be relentlessly consistent with that. If you’re thinking along those lines already, then that’s great, how consistent were you with that.
2. PRACTISING GETTING ACROSS OBSTACLES QUICKER This doesn’t mean rushing, you still need to remain focused, as you don’t want to fall off and queue up in those retry lanes right? Just a simple reminder that the longer you stay on
obstacles like platinum rig, monkey bars, urban sky, the more energy and valuable grip strength you’ll be using. Remain focused but don’t “hang about” for too long.
3. REST IS A PRE-REQUISITE FOR OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE Consider that you can be doing all the best hill work in the world in the build-up to the race but it won’t make a blind bit of difference if you’re not well rested properly before the race. What’s your sleep been like in the build up? What’s your nutrition been like? Have you eased down with your training so that you’re FULLY rested? Are you in a relaxed state? I’m not talking about a week before, I’m talking about in the month before, did you get that right or were you a bit relaxed? Could you improve on that?
4. BOULDERING IS THE BEST FOR GRIP ENDURANCE We already know the benefits of bouldering for OCR, bouldering is great for improving grip endurance which transfers nicely over to rigs, ropes and monkey bars etc (yawn) but again, how consistent have you been with your bouldering? Have you done it every week, even when you didn’t feel like it? Even when you couldn’t be a**ed? Did you just show up anyway? Could you fit an extra session into the week? Are you measuring & monitoring your improvements? There are lots of “fancy grip strength” workouts out there in the OCR world right now, but consider that you’ll get the same grip benefits when you go bouldering. It’s more fun too.
5. DEALING WITH PRE-RACE NERVES To continue growing as an athlete you must first start by getting out of your own way. If you’re stressed in the build up to a race you’re less likely to perform at your best and during pressured situations. Hows everything looking in other areas of your life? Finances, family, how much nondestructive fun are you having in your life (not just OCR)? All these things can have an effect on how you’re going to be perform. If you’re finding that you're letting emotions get the better of you pre race/during a race, or if your ‘lack of self belief’ is stopping you from getting to where you want to get to as an athlete, then you’ll need to increase your capacity to deal with stress.Also, if you get stressed pre-race then consider this, that having some fun before a big event can turn the pressure into pleasure. Rest (fun basically) is a pre-requisite for outstanding performance remember? But for some reason in this country we treat rest as a reward for doing well. Normally we say to ourselves we’re going to have fun after the race, but why not have the fun before you do well? that doesn’t mean go out and ‘get wasted’, I think you know what I’m getting at, its simply just a reminder that when you have fun you're more relaxed, and when you're relaxed you're more likely to perform better. And that’s it.
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FEATURE : TRAINING LESSONS FROM OCRWC
IN SUMMARY: When it comes to analysing your race performances, you don’t have to beat yourself up & be too hard on yourself, remember you can learn a lot from your ‘perceived’ failings & mistakes. ! Work out what’s the biggest discipline/skillset you need to up level in order for you to grow as an athlete and then be relentlessly consistent with it.! Train hard & be strong :-)!
Sam Winkworth is the creator of The Unbreakable Project, an elite coaching process designed to develop british obstacle racers who want to podium on a world stage by using cutting edge mindset techniques, advanced strength training protocols & air thinning technology. To apply for a place on the Unbreakable Project or to find out more email sam@ unbreakablecoachingsystems.com !
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REVIEW : WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
OBSTACLE COURSE RACING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS Reviewed by Fabian Yeo | Photography by: Fabian Yeo
Where do I start!? Competing in the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships was one of the most amazing experiences of my life to date. Held on a ski resort in The Blue Mountains, Ontario, Canada the course utilised the ski slopes to maximum effect. But let me take a step backâ€Ś This whole adventure started last year when I watched my Facebook feed light up with stories of amazing times at the OCR World Championships. I knew I had to be there. I then ran the UK Championships at the end of 2016, losing one of my bands on
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the final rig. At the time I was gutted but I then sat down to work out what I needed to improve on. Grip strength and rigs were clearly areas for improvement but endurance and general fitness were others. A lot to work on! Having managed to qualify at Spartan in April I had 6 months to get into the best shape of my life. I took on a programme which demanded 5-6 days and 45km of running a week. It was tough going fitting it all in but I was focussed on my goal. I wanted to go to Canada and have no regrets.
I took part in 3 races on consecutive days. The 3k short race (with 14 obstacles), the 15k (with 43 obstacles and over 1000m of ascent) and the Team Relay. The format of these races is that all obstacles are mandatory completion. Every competitor starts with a wrist band. You can attempt any obstacle as many times as you like but if you are unable to complete one then you have to surrender your band. This means that you canâ€™t place in the main rankings. Keeping your band is a massive deal for most of the non-pro competitors.
REVIEW : WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
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REVIEW : WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
3K Course The 3k race was a fast and intense race with 14 obstacles. Having arrived late the night before having only had 4 hours sleep I wasn’t feeling in top form. However after a rousing speech by Coach Pain to start the race I was fired up and tore off up the hill. I was passing people on sections of running and flying through the obstacle such a monkey bars and inverted walls. I even felt good on the sandbag carries up and down hills. Then came the final ‘gauntlet of obstacles’ which included 6 upper body obstacles in a row. I flew through the first rig and approached the green Battlefrog rig, this looked tough. I’d trained for such obstacles and I’d even scouted it out earlier that morning, so I had a strategy. I got to the 3rd from last attachment and stalled, my grip was failing and I had to let go. Back to the retry lane for me! I then attempted another 4 times to complete the rig, each time getting now further. I was getting tired now and my grip was getting weaker with each attempt. With a heavy heart I surrendered my band. Finishing the race I was disappointed and didn’t feel the elation I had hoped for. Later that day I watched 2 of the top contenders in the Pro wave fail the exact same obstacle. They both tried multiple times but lost their bands as I did. This offered some consolation, this must have been a tough rig as I never see the Pros fail an obstacle. After failing the Battlefrog rig I went back after the race and watched other competitors tackle it for an hour or so. I analysed what worked and what didn’t. I would change my strategy for the next race. The next morning I lined up for the main event, the 15k race which included 43 obstacles. After the disappointment of the previous day I decided to try not to focus on whether I kept my band or not but to try and race smart and above all enjoy the occasion. I’d trained hard for this but I was determined not to come away with a negative experience.
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REVIEW : WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
running for nearly 3 hours and I was feeling pretty beaten up. The configurations on the rigs had been changed from the day before, just to make things harder for the main race. I’d managed to scout the changes before the race and I had a game plan. It was all about flowing through the rigs as quickly as possible and maintaining a good swing. Approaching the first Platinum rig I took a deep breath to centre myself and swung off the first ring. The main change from the first race was that a low ring had been Let me start by saying this - The 15k was the toughest removed. This meant the transition from the low monkey single race I’ve ever done. I heard many other people say bar section now was up to a high ring. This was tougher the same thing over the weekend. The steep and endless for sure! The rig finished with a climb under and over a hills and multiple technical obstacles were nothing like cargo net to ring the bell on the other side. Ding! Phew, anything I’ve experienced. on to the next one. As I approached the Battlefrog rig I The race commenced and we were immediately stopped and took a few minutes to let my heart rate calm running up the side of a mountain. After 15 minutes we down. This was my nemesis. I hated this rig for taking my were on our hands and knees scrambling up a muddy hill band the day before. I remembered my game plan –‘forget trying not to slip back down. The route took us up and foot locks on the ropes. Flow through the rig’. I knew down the side of the Mountain for the first 4kms with a few which holds I was planning on using and those I planned climbing obstacles along the way. This is where the real to miss out. I jumped up and started to swing. Ring to testing obstacles started to come in to play. This event ring to rope to ring to rope to rope to ring and hit the bell. had some of the most technical YESSS!! I’d done it! 4 more obstacles and innovative obstacles I had ever to go and I still had my band! I didn’t APPROACHING THE encountered, some of which I’d want to be complacent though, I was never attempted before. Some of FIRST PLATINUM RIG I exhausted and my grip was shot so I my favourites included Stairway to TOOK A DEEP BREATH maintained focus. I flew through the Heaven, La Gaffe du Draveur, Urban final few obstacles and was left facing TO CENTRE MYSELF Sky, Floating Walls and Skull Valley. the final wall, titled The Knot. This was AND SWUNG OFF... The course winded up and down one tall and seriously steep wall with the mountain with the steep climbs some knotted ropes to grip onto. sapping your energy. The obstacles were well placed and I took a run up and with a few grunts I was over. Before I was getting through each one first time. Then came the descending I took a second to soak in the moment. I ran carries…I hate carries. I should probably train more for over the finish line to collect my medal, high fiving the them but I usually slow right down on a sandbag carry. official on the way whilst screaming ‘COME ON!!!!’ There were 2 carries in this race, a 22kg sandbag carry and I immediately went to phone my wife Jo. On unlocking a farmer’s carry of 2 large bags of sand. Both of these were my phone I saw the stream of messages from her asking up a steep hill. In fact there wasn’t much of the race that how it went. At that point I broke down in tears, the was flat! I’m not saying these carries were fun, they were emotion of the moment overwhelming me. I’d trained not! However I plodded through them without stopping, hard for this for 6 months, visualising that very moment of my main thought being if I put the sandbag down I’d have to crossing the line with my band intact. After losing my band pick it back up again! the previous day I’d been resigned to likely not being able Running down to the foot of the mountain for the to keep it on the 15k. But I had. I cannot tell you the elation last time I still had my band intact however I knew that I that comes with achieving your goals after so much hard still had to encounter the final gauntlet of rigs, I wanted work. It is indescribable. There’s a Facebook post of me revenge for the day before but did I have anything more to crying straight after the race and I’m not ashamed at all. give? I’d found the rigs tough after 3km but now I’d been This was my raw emotion, no pretences, no guards.
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REVIEW : WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Team Relay Day 3 was the team race which was a relay with 3 legs. I ran in a co-ed team with 2 women, 1 from Scotland the other from Australia. One did a running leg, the other a strength leg (the heavy carries up hills) and I was doing the final obstacle leg. I was feeling pretty confident on the obstacles by now however after 2 consecutive days my arms were pretty sore and I wasnâ€™t sure how I would fare. Natalie ran the first leg in a good time and handed over to Leanne for the strength leg. Leanne was a machine climbing those hills with ease and handed over to me for the final leg. I smashed through all my obstacles and headed for the final obstacle. This was where the team had to work together to climb the final wall. The difference here was that the lower ropes had been removed so you had to work as a team to get over. A light drizzle had already made this wall pretty slippery but as we approached the heavens opened and the wall became a torrent of water. We decided to form a ladder with both girls on my shoulders. With the 2 of them on the top of the wall I used what little upper body strength I had left to grab one of their arms and they both helped me over the wall. We crossed the finish line hand in hand with huge grins on our faces. We all had our bands and we finished a respectable 48th out of 139 co-ed teams (unofficial results). To compete for Team UK and be out there with athletes from all over the world (67 Nations competed) was simply incredible. The camaraderie out on course was second to none. No matter which country you were from there was support from other competitors and spectators alike. I met some awesome people out on those hills. After my races I was out on course supporting other members of Team UK feeling their pain and cheering their success. OCR is like nothing else on the planet. This is our sportâ€™s Olympics and I feel humbled to have been part of it. But now I want more. Next year I will be better prepared, faster and stronger. Bring it!
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FEATURE : WHY IS MOBILITY IMPORTANT
WHY IS MOBILITY
IMPORTANT WRITTEN BY: Gemma Spackman - Head Coach at Fundamental Sports and Fitness
WHY IS MOBILITY SO IMPORTANT TO IMPROVING YOUR FITNESS? Mobility is a hot topic at the moment when it comes to exercise. It's moved on from just doing stretches during your warm up and cool down. You can now spend whole sessions focused specifically on developing your mobility. In turn this is having a big impact on the way people exercise and many of my clients who dedicate time to these exercises find that their muscles feel looser, they have a greater range of movement when it comes to performing the exercises and they are recovering quicker from training. If we keep to basics, during the warm up you need to be performing dynamic movements, this means all your stretching needs to focus on moving the muscles and encouraging blood flow to them. You can even do exercises that will mimic the main actions you're going to perform in the session. As part of your cool down you can do static stretches. At this point take your time and enjoying switching off your muscles, by holding the stretches still, this is a good point to think about increasing the flexibility in your muscles by holding the stretches for a little bit longer. You can also add in a little bit of resistance and tension to the stretch by having somebody help you hold the position and then once you relax and stretch the muscle again you’ll be able to stretch the muscle a bit further; this type of stretching is called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. If you're really focused it's a great idea to dedicate at least once session a week to mobility work. Depending on what your goal is, this could be lower body and hip work, upper body and shoulder work or having an all round approach. There are lots of different pieces of kit you can get to help increase your mobility, these
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include foam rollers, trigger point balls, massage rollers, resistance bands, barbells, lacrosse balls, you name it most things in a gym now can make you more mobile and develop your flexibility. I'd recommend having a couple of them in your gym bag to add variety to the exercises you’re able to do and with a couple of options you’ll be able to do most mobility drills. Sports massage is another element to add into your recovery. It’s going to help make your recovery quicker by working out any tension that’s forming in your muscles and by doing this you’re going to be increasing your mobility. I always use a foam roller; it doesn't need to be anything fancy. By a general rule of thumb, the harder it is or the more raised bumps it has on it the more painful it’s going to be. The same with the trigger point balls, you can buy specific ones to use, or alternatively a tennis ball and lacrosse ball can do the job just as well. I always have a resistance band in my bag as well, usually one that has quite a bit of resistance to it, so if it's one you use for pull ups that works perfectly. You can do an active recovery session focusing on your mobility. So although you can spend time specifically working on these exercises you can
As you develop your mobility you're getting a greater range of movement at the joint. When you start lifting weights you aren't going to feel restricted during the movement. also do a complementary activity to keep your muscles moving. Swimming is a great alternative as it's not weight bearing, so if you find you run and lift weights a lot of the time, this could be great for you as it’s reducing the stress and impact going through your joints.
Long term if you've got great mobility it's going to help with injury prevention. You'll find you're not as tight at the joints and your muscles aren’t over compensating for other areas of your body that aren't working effectively. Your body is all connected, if you have a problem with your shoulder or your knee you can probably find it's linked to your hips and pelvis in some way. So if you are finding aches in places you wouldn't normally, start by looking at your hip mobility and strength and you should notice a difference straight away. Mobility can often be overlooked in training as it's not something you can see big gains from. However if you're able to dedicate the time to it you'll reap the rewards very quickly. So even if you haven't got the time in the week to spend a whole session on it try and spend at least the first 10-15mins of each session going over a short routine of exercises to help you. As you develop your mobility you're getting a greater range of movement at the joint. When you start lifting weights you aren't going to feel restricted during the movement, this will have a big impact on your technique and ability to recruit the right muscles during the exercise. Because of this you'll find you'll be able to lift heavier weights and you'll then notice your fitness improving as you get stronger. This is particularly important when it comes to strength training and doing lower reps as you want to ensure you recruit enough muscle fibres during each movement and that you don't limit and shorten the muscles. Long term this will have a knock on effect and decrease your flexibility. If you're decreasing your flexibility, you're going to be decreasing your mobility. Here are four mobility exercises for your hips that you can introduce as part of your warm up or form a section in a training session for you.
FEATURE : WHY IS MOBILITY IMPORTANT
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FEATURE : WHY IS MOBILITY IMPORTANT
HIP FLEXOR STRETCH Muscles Involved: Hip flexors and quadriceps Get into a split kneeling position on a mat; bend your knee so it’s positioned over your foot. Tuck your hips forwards and stretch your quads and hip flexors of the leg with the knee on the floor. Return to the start and change legs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...................................................... .
BANDED HIP EXTENSION Muscles Involved: Hip flexors and quadriceps Hook your leg through the band and step back to create tension. Kneel down and squeeze your glutes. The band is used to pull your femur (top of your leg) forwards, move your body forwards over the bent knee. Hold the position and then switch legs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ...................................................... .
HIP EXTERNAL ROTATION WITH FLEXION Muscles Involved: Hip flexors, quadriceps and adductors Kneel with one leg on the floor with your straight leg and foot relaxed. With your bent leg, bring it level with your hands and keep you knee on the outside of your arm. Keep your hands on the mat for balance and drop your knee down to the side, rolling onto the edge of your foot. To make sure you have the external rotation, gently push your knee further out with your hand, if it’s still stiff you can twist your torso the opposite way to your knee.
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GROINER Muscles involved: Hip flexors, hamstrings, adductors Position yourself in a straight armed plank (top part of a press up) brace your abs. Drive your knee forwards and place the heel of your foot outside of your hand. Hold to feel the stretch and return your leg back to the start and repeat with your other leg.
FEATURE : THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A PT
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FEATURE : LASTING 24 HOURS
24 HOURS WRITTEN BY: Deniz Üstüner, Final Year Medical Student at King’s College London
INTRO COMPLETING ANY CHALLENGE THAT LASTS 24 HOURS IS ALWAYS A NEW KETTLE OF FISH IF YOU AREN’T READY FOR THE ENDURANCE ASPECT OF IT...
You’re fighting sleep, hunger, emotions and know that your limiting factor is time rather than distance which is a whole psychological battle in itself. Add this to also completing a challenge as part of a team and who knows whether a day later you will end up with any friends left. Worst case you end up in all-out war or a collapsed in a heap of smelly and dirty clothed bodies quietly napping anywhere and everywhere. Recently I had the privilege of being part of a 12 person team who ran from Twickenham Stadium in London to Cardiff. 160 miles of a mixed terrain over pavements, woodland and country road. Legs of varying distances were predetermined by the challenge organisers, this was to avoid each of us simply having one long stretch. We were all there to suffer together. Every route leg of the course also had its own associated map, although there were arrows on the course they were very few and far between, so navigations skills were key. A quick YouTube video on orienteering settled a few of our nerves, but as we discovered along the route that everyone gets lost, so trying to use the method of following another team 22 hours in means your 5k becomes a 10k.
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The rest of our team could track their runner via a GPS armband which was useful as the runner could then be contacted, but the British countryside is of course notorious for its poor service. Because of this spotty contact we just had to hope the runner would figure out they had taken a wrong turn. But also being slightly grateful for the mistake because it meant our nap time had probably increased by another 10 minutes or so. Being sleep deprived make it a very different ballpark when exercising. For one healthy eating goes out of the window. It becomes a battle between getting enough shut eye, warming up and down, finding loo spots and eating enough calories in a short space of time that doesn't totally turn the bowels topsy turvy. My snack of choice was croissants. After I had my longest stretch of 11 miles at 8am I asked for 2 croissants. Stupid idea. 6 of them had gone within 10 minutes and my stomach was still growling for more. Jaffa cakes went down a storm with the rest of the team. When we finally reached Cardiff and crossed the line it was a strange form of elation. Having been so used to continuously being on the go the stop was odd. Plus now we actually had the whole team together. Throughout the whole 24 hours,
apart from maybe an hour at the beginning, all of us had not been together. We had all had to put the brakes on after our 24 hours of adrenaline and now it was time to enjoy some proper cooked grub. The dynamics of a team challenge are of course very different to that of an individual one. Now I can only begin to imagine the endurance required to complete events such as World’s Toughest Mudder. Running throughout the day and night and then back can be quite disorientating. Also having the strangest craving at 8am on Sunday Morning for a roast because your circadian time is utterly out of whack was weird. For those of you who embrace the hard life then there are of course many events that can be completed over 24 hours such as, the Three Peaks Challenge, Endure 24, London-Cardiff 24, Roots adventure, equinox, the unknown, there's also an endurance world championships in OCR now. These are just a few of the whole plethora of weird and wonderful options designed to test your endurance both mentally and physically.
24 HOURS, WELL IT’S ONLY A DAY OF YOUR LIFE AFTER ALL, HOW HARD CAN IT BE!
COOKING THE FAKE AWAY Right I am just going to say this and then duck for cover but, as I write this, it is just less than 10 weeks to Christmas! I love Christmas I do!!!! However I do not like this time of year when I realise A) Christmas is coming, B) I want to start booking next year’s races , C) I’m cold and D) I realise that I have run all of this year’s races already and I am supposed to be having the rest period that I promise myself every year ... what’s that Deadley? Oooo, another race you say? Is there a medal? Ok then! A and B mean I need to start watching the pennies but C and D mean I am cranky and crave
CHICKEN FRIED RICE Ingredients • 1 egg lightly beaten • 1/2 cup frozen peas (if you don’t like peas, sweetcorn would do….or anything really it just adds texture and ups your veggie intake) • 250g ish of cooked rice or a pouch of microwave rice uncooked (the latter is much easier) • 1 chicken breast • Olive Oil or Fry Light (a good quality oil such as canola or olive oil is fine and has plenty of health benefits just don’t go nuts) • Soy Sauce • Balsamic vinegar • Chinese 5 Spice • Salt to taste Method Dice the chicken and rub in a little oil (or spray with fry light) and Chinese 5 Spice until lightly coated.
all the comfort foods to make me feel better!! Back before the days of OCR when I favoured my slippers over my runners and cooking was microwaving we used to get a takeaway every Friday night (and sometimes Saturday, or Wednesday ... basically of the day had a Y in it I was game) However, the damage to my health and bank balance were fairly evident! The answer to my prayers ... Fakeaways!! You can make some really good, comforting meals at home with way less bad stuff and way less cost, so more money and healthier for racing ... win win, you may never want to switchback (see what I did there!).
Don't be fooled ... this is super duper easy. I love this one with that Chip Shop curry sauce mix which makes it a bit naughty but on a Saturday night watching trash TV its brilliant!!
Add the rice and salt to taste and cook for a minute or 2. Add the peas and dash of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Mix till all coated. Add the chicken back in and keep moving it until the peas and rice are cooked through. Serve and eat straight away. EAT WITH CHOPSTICKS! I’m kidding, just shovel it in! * Quorn also works really well in this recipe but adjust the cooking time accordingly
Nutritional info per serving based on 2 servings*: Calories:
Cook the chicken in a wok sprayed with a splash more oil or fry light till cooked through.
Put the chicken to the side and keep warm.
Pour the egg into the wok and keep it moving so it scrambles.
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*calculated to the best of my limited ability using My Fitness Pal
DEADLEY FRIED CHICKEN
PITTA PIZZA Pizza on a health kick and I think it’s awesome. We have it every Friday night and my boys love it!!(except if we’re racing on Saturday then we have it Thursday, I like to pretend I am a fine athlete and go with my tried and tested chicken pasta before race day) Little Deadley will pick this over those Morrison’s real pizza anytime (I can’t compete with Dominos though!......Yet)
(IT’S NOT FRIED)
This isn’t really a recipe but more like assembly instructions but this is the best way to have cheap and easy, guilt free pizza and it really is yum.
You can’t go far wrong with a good, simple, homemade burger at a BBQ. Burgers are so easy to make and so easily varied according to your own tastes. You can stuff 'em, season 'em, stack 'em, squat 'em , clean and press 'em…you get the idea. Here I add smoked paprika, ground coriander and a bit of garlic but it’s really up to you. These burgers can be made ahead and frozen or you can make them the day before and keep them chilled till BBQ time.
Ingredients - Sauce (top tip: this sauce can be used for everything, fajitas, pizzas, replaces the jarred stuff for bolognaise, and lasagnas, pasta bakes, you name it!) • Can of chopped tomatoes • Salt to taste • Clove of Garlic chopped up (I use that Very Lazy Garlic that you can get at the supermarket since I am very lazy) • Oregano / dried herbs – Oregano is more traditionally the “Pizza Herb” but basil is also nice. I sometimes add bbq sauce and tobasco sauce to give it a kick
Ingredients • 2 small or one big chicken breast (you can either do a whole breasts or cut into strips to make chicken tenders) • Skimmed Milk (enough just to cover chicken) • 3 Tbsp Plain Flour • 1 Tsp. Paprika • 1 Tsp. Season All (spicy if you want) • 1/2 Tsp. Salt • 1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper • A bit of butter –about a tbsp (never hurt anyone)
Method Simmer it all up for 10 mins or so.
Method If you are having the breasts whole then bash em about a bit to flatten them down a bit . If not then cut them into strips. Soak the chicken in the milk for at least 30 minutes but overnight is fine. Pre heat the oven to 210c and heat the butter in a deepish foil lined pan till its runny (just a light coating is fine)
You don’t have to but I just whizz it with a hand blender or something so it’s all nice and smooth, if you’re using this sauce for something else feel free to leave tomato chunks . Ingredients - Pizza • Pitta Bread, we usually allow 1 or 2 per person • Sauce from before • Low fat grated cheese • Whatever toppings you like, we usually have the following so they are fully loaded but still health conscious: • Chicken breast pre-cooked in Cajun spices and sliced • Bell peppers • Mushrooms • Jalapenos • Sometimes a bit of pepperoni. Whatever we have really Method Spoon some sauce on the pitta (you don’t need to heat the pitta first or anything just dump the sauce straight on top)
Mix up the dry ingredients. Roll the chicken around in the flour mixture so its really well coated. Bake for 20 minutes the turn over and bake for 20 minutes more (you may need less if you've opted for tenders, or more if the breasts are big - cheeky!).
Sprinkle on cheese and then toppings. Lately I have started doing this the other way and doing a sprinkle of cheese on top at the end. Just looks nicer and holds the toppings together a bit when you slice it. Either way works. Bake directly on the rack for about 15 mins at 200c – just till the pitta goes crispy and the toppings are all bubbly and yum.
Check that it’s cooked right through.
Slice and EAT! Deadley loves this so he never lets it cool before having a bite and always burns the roof of his mouth!
This is really nice served on toasted bread buns.
Kiddos (or enthusiastic adults) can put their own toppings on too which is always fun
Nutritional info per serving based on 2 serving*: Calories:
Nutritional info per serving based on 3 servings of sauce and a good size pitta each with our usual toppings*: Calories:
*calculated to the best of my limited ability using My Fitness Pal
*calculated to the best of my limited ability using My Fitness Pal
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REVIEW : THE YEAR OF THE SPARTANS
THE YEAR OF THE
WITH THE 2017 SPARTAN RACE UK SEASON COMING TO AN END AT THE WINDSOR EVENT IT’S TIME TO LOOK BACK ON WHAT HAS BEEN, TO DATE, THE BIGGEST AND MOST SUCCESSFUL SEASON SINCE THE BRAND LAUNCHED IN THE UK. With new venues, new obstacles and four, brand new to the UK, Endurance events this year it was always going to be a season that would gain a lot of attention from loyal Spartans, OCR enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. It was a bold move for the brand at a time when there seems to be a real boom in new OCRs launching and watering down the market. The popularity of the sport, which continues to grow, has helped a range of new and experienced mass participation event companies rise and find a place amongst the already established OCR brands.
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The move has most definitely paid off with all four of the Spartan Endurance events being hailed as huge successes. Not only that, Spartan Race UK have also seen more attendees than ever grace their already established, challenging yet enjoyable races. More than 20,000 runners along with all their spectators and supporters have all helped make this season one that will live long in the memory. Spartan Race UK are known for their professionally and well thought out courses, top class innovative obstacles and amazing staff and volunteers – all adding to a great atmosphere on and off course. This is the reason they are held in such high esteem by elite racers and fun runners alike. The 2017 season has also seen great improvements with what’s on offer in the festival area with more food and refreshments available and new merchandise and clothing vendors, these improvements culminated in a jumbo screen at the Windsor races showing live on-course footage, video highlights from the season and live interviews with participants, volunteers and staff. Something that was well received by spectators and finishers alike. With most of the build and festival teams going into their third season, a Race Director who truly
understands the vision of the brand and the office team embarking on their second season it is exciting to think about what 2018 will hold. The improvements during the 2017 race season are evident for all to see, but what of the new Endurance events launched? These are events that have been staples of the US Spartan Race series for many years and have been eagerly anticipated by the UK Spartans for a few seasons now, how would they fair with their debut in the UK OCR scene? The Hurricane Heat (HH) and Hurricane Heat 12 Hour (HH12HR) were both sold out long before the season began and all the participants have formed unbreakable bonds as they joined a select group across the globe to have taken on or completed these testing events designed to introduce you to the world of Spartan Endurance. They are intended to teach you that, as well as individual skills, mental and physical toughness, you must also be able to trust and lean on people around you complete set tasks and challenges. Teamwork is essential to progress through the events and collect the first two pieces of the Endurance Trifecta. Each of the Hurricane Heats are stepping stones en route to the two pinnacles of Spartan Endurance
REVIEW : THE YEAR OF THE SPARTANS
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REVIEW : THE YEAR OF THE SPARTANS
events - the fabled AGOGE; taking the team based endurance events to the next level and the Ultra Beast; an individual race designed to push your limits.
SO, WHAT DO THESE TWO EVENTS ENTAIL? They say that every Spartan Race is a baptism, well in that case the Ultra Beast is an exorcism. If you have completed the Sprint, the Super and the Beast some of you may be ready to take on the Ultra Beast. Get ready to face not one, but two gruelling laps of the Beast course. The Ultra Beast will cover 40+ kilometres, with a few twists thrown in to keep it interesting. You thought you prepared and trained enough, but the Ultra Beast will prove you wrong. For those that donâ€™t know about the Spartan AGOGE it offers an arena to test the very limits of your physical and mental strength. In the 7th Century BC, the Spartans wanted to produce the strongest and most mentally tough citizens on earth. To do this they created the AGOGE, a system of training that became the envy of the known world. To complete the Spartan
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AGOGE, one overcomes mental and physical obstacles that aim to develop the body, mind and spirit. Most people will need to undertake months of training and self-discovery to earn this coveted achievement. Not for the faint hearted this 60-hour plus event builds physical, tactical, mental, and team-based strength through training, testing, and evaluation. To put this into perspective 81 people made it to the Isle of Skye for the pre-event briefing at the UKs first AGOGE, following this briefing participants were put through 5/6 hours of competency testing, involving navigation work with compasses and maps, rope tying, a brutal PT session with Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena (including 300 burpees in full gear) and followed by a 10-minute kit submergence test in the icy waters off Skye. This competency testing was to ensure the safety and reliability of not only the kit but the participants as well. After all, if you are going to spend 60+ hours in the intimidating mountains and multiple extreme weather systems that the Isle of Skye offers with nothing but the kit on your back and the Spartans at your side, you want to know that you and your
comrades can trust each other to successfully navigate not only the locations but also the tasks, challenges and everything that mother nature can throw at you. Once this was completed coordinates were given for the event start proper. Of the 81 that turned up 36 did not make it to the first task, whether failing the competency testing or succumbing to the elements overnight before reaching the first task the severity of the event soon hit home. The following three days put the remainder of competitors through their paces with timed tasks, heavy carries, mental challenges and many miles under foot with little to no rest or sleep. As people began dropping out again it soon became apparent that to finish the UKâ€™s first AGOGE was going to take a mental and physical strength that required you to dig deep within and push through boundaries many are not comfortable even thinking about. When all was over the Krypteia (leaders) were left with 19 exceptional Spartans who had been broken, rebuilt and moulded into true warriors who would be prepared for anything life can throw at them. They were triumphantly
REVIEW : THE YEAR OF THE SPARTANS
awarded their AGOGE finishers Trifecta Wedge. Of the 342 racers that started 261 victorious Spartans Whether you finish the AGOGE or not you will come crossed the finish line to collect their Ultra Beast Belt out the other side a different person than when you Buckle medal and Trifecta Wedge. went in and you will have learned a lot about yourself, These Endurance events have elevated the offerings it is up to you how you use these lessons to come back that Spartan Race UK have to another level and with US stronger than ever. That is what the AGOGE is all about. HQ changing things up for 2017 it meant that now you As for the Ultra Beast, have more ways than ever to earn that it is not only the distance, covered Trifecta and join the ever-growing YOU THOUGHT YOU extra obstacles and strict Trifecta Tribe. PREPARED AND time cut-offs that make With new races and venues 2017 this a gruelling endurance TRAINED ENOUGH, BUT brought you the opportunity to earn a race but also the location. THE ULTRA BEAST WILL Trifecta or Double Trifecta as well as an Set in Nine Mile Burn in the Endurance Trifecta. However, this is not all PROVE YOU WRONG. Pentland Hills just outside that these new events have brought to the of Edinburgh racers had UK. With the new Spartan Delta introduced to battle with over 3000m of elevation and all that the there is now even more achievements for that hardcore elements could throw at them. As the 6am Ultra Beast Spartan fan to complete. start time approached the fog drew in and at some The Spartan Delta is a pyramid composed of three points on the course you could not see the obstacles magnetized stainless-steel plates called Circuits. Each approaching until you were on top of them, add in the Circuit holds one complete Trifecta and three Spartan wind and relentless rain and this was enough to test even icons. The Perfect Delta, which we discuss below, the hardiest of adventurers and endurance athletes. contains three unique Circuits that together represent
the full gamut of Spartan resilience. Every Spartan Delta is founded on a solid commitment. In the same way, a Foundation Stone represents the commitment that grounds the three Circuits of your Spartan Delta. The Foundation Stone is inscribed with the three domains of Spartan resilience: body, mind and spirit. Total commitment is the only true starting point. This year, Spartan HQ introduced two new ways to earn a Trifecta. In addition to the standard Racing Trifecta (Sprint, Super, and Beast), Spartans can earn an Endurance Trifecta or a Training Trifecta. To earn an Endurance Trifecta, Spartans must complete a Hurricane Heat, a Hurricane Heat 12-Hour, and an Ultra Beast. Starting this year, finishers of these events will receive Endurance Trifecta wedge medals. To earn a Training Trifecta, Spartans must commit to sharpening their minds in three rigorous Spartan rites of passage: an SGX class (also available online if not in the USA), completion of the SPARTAN X Course, and a complete AGOGE. Those who finish these events will receive unique wedge piece medals to build a Training Trifecta.
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REVIEW : THE YEAR OF THE SPARTANS
THERE ARE THREE WAYS YOU CAN CHOOSE TO FILL THE SPARTAN DELTA: 1
The Perfect Delta. A Perfect Delta showcases every aspect of Spartan achievement with one Racing Trifecta (Sprint, Super, and Beast), one Endurance Trifecta (HH, HH12, and Ultra Beast), and one Training Trifecta (an SGX class, SPARTAN X Completion, and AGOGE). It may take a Spartan years to complete a Perfect DELTA, but those who are driven may be able to complete it in one. Spartans who complete a Perfect DELTA set themselves apart in the Spartan Community. They become leaders, models, teachers - and masters of themselves.
The Triple Trifecta (3T) Delta. The Triple Trifecta Delta takes steadfast commitment to the Spartan community and a spirit of fire. It is made of three complete Racing Trifectas. This offers Spartans more flexibility than any other DELTA, but it takes a commitment just as strong. The Masters in Endurance (M.End.) Delta. For Spartans who want to take on more pressure than most people think is bearable, Spartan have created the Masters in Endurance (M.End.) Delta, composed of three Endurance Trifectas from any region. All three Endurance Trifectas must be earned in the same year. The Masters in Endurance Delta is so named because it takes an unbreakable mind. People who complete it earn a badge of honour that speaks more deeply to their character than any academic degree
THE SPARTAN DELTA ICONS No Delta is complete without nine Spartan Delta icons. Why? Because an odyssey without a record is just a legend. Whilst not available at UK races yet these icons are available to buy online and will offer the opportunity to mark your unique accomplishment in an etched steel Spartan Delta icon. In the three corners of each Circuit of the Delta are three inlaid spaces to hold three Spartan icons. With so many new offerings, obstacles, venues and more ways to Spartan Up this year we cannot wait to see what 2018 will hold. There have already been teasers released for the new medals and a new merchandise is already in the pipeline, twice as many Hurricane Heats have been released and more races will no doubt be confirmed by the time this goes to print.
IF YOUâ€™RE LOOKING FOR A CHALLENGE FOR 2018 ... THIS IS THE ONE
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FEATURE : MASTERING THE MONKEY BARS
NO OBSTACLE COURSE RACE WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT AT LEAST ONE SET OF THE MONKEY BARS. IT’S THE ONE ELEMENT OF THE COURSE THAT A LOT OF RUNNERS STRUGGLE WITH, ESPECIALLY IF THEY’RE PRETTY NEW TO OCR.
If you’re someone who’s never completed a full set of monkey bars just imagine how amazing you’d feel if you were able to complete a set at your next race? So, here's how you’ll need to train for it. To be able to tackle the monkey bars successfully you need to work on - grip, shoulder, latissimus dorsi, bicep and core strength. There is no better exercise you could do to help with this than the Pull Up. If you have never done a pull up in your life, start by doing assisted ones using a resistance band. The majority of gyms now have
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suspension training frames. Inverted rows are also a great way to start your Pull Up training. With this particular exercise, aim to step as far as you can under the frame to challenge yourself. Whether you are doing normal pull ups, assisted ones or the inverted row, start by doing as many as you can, then work to 70% of this and complete 3 sets. As you get stronger, increase your reps. While Pull Ups are a great way to increase your monkey bar strength, you also need to add variety to your training. Hanging from the
bar is a good move for this: try to hang from the bar as long as possible. Challenge this further by wrapping a towel round the bar to make it thicker to increase your grip strength. Progress to doing three or even two finger hangs and finally to one arm hangs. Add in some hanging core exercises such as windshield wipers and hanging leg raises. Another great exercise to do while hanging from the bar is to alternate your grip. Start with a Pull Up grip but while hanging, change your hands to a chin up grip. Keep alternating and see how long you can go for.
FEATURE : MASTERING THE MONKEY BARS
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FEATURE : MASTERING THE MONKEY BARS
There are other exercises you can do to help increase your upper body strength. To improve your forearm strength, try farmers walks. Hold two heavy dumbbells or kettlebells and walk as quickly as you can, over a distance of between 50-100 feet. Bent over rows are a great way to increase your back strength. This exercise focuses on your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, your rear deltoids and your biceps. To isolate and train the bicep muscles, using suspension training, do 3 sets of 10 bicep curls. These will also challenge your core muscles, grip and forearm strength. To increase the intensity of this exercise, step the feet further under the suspension frame. You use your body weight in this exercise therefore its very beneficial to improving your strength to tackle the monkey bars. All the above exercises will train your core, however it is a good idea to include in your training exercises that isolate the core muscles, especially your obliques.
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Your abdominal muscles provide stability while tackling the hip bone towards the floor. the monkey bars. Planks are a great way for improving So, now you have done your training, its race time! your core. Add some variation to make them more How do we tackle the monkey bars on the actual day? challenging and functional. Rhythm and speed is the key! Use your Include punches, tapping legs to create momentum, by swinging the feet to the side and forwards and backwards. Avoid holding COMPLETE SOME walking the hands forward. onto the same bar with both hands at once. OF YOUR PULL UP If you are doing a full plank TRAINING AFTER YOU This helps at first but will take double the (where the arms are fully time and make it harder. Alternate using HAVE BEEN RUNNING extended) try walking each arm one at a time as you swing from WHICH WILL PREPARE bar to bar. the hands four steps to YOUR BODY MORE. the right, return to the As part of your training, take into centre, and repeat to the consideration that when you come to the left. To train the obliques, monkey bars your body will be fatigued from use exercises such as Russian twists using a medicine running. Complete some of your pull up training after ball or dumbbell and side planks. When focusing on my you have been running which will prepare your body obliques, I love to do a normal plank with a hip twist. more. Good luck, and let us know how you get on. This is where you alternate between each side, bring
FEATURE : HEAD TORCH RUNNING
AUTUMN IS HERE AND WINTER WILL BE QUICKLY SETTING IN. THIS MEANS THE HOURS AVAILABLE TO US TO TRAIN IN ACTUAL DAYLIGHT ARE QUICKLY DISAPPEARING. But don’t despair, simply investing in a trusty head torch will open up a whole new time slot to train in. Whether you’re planning on simply training into the darker hours of the Winter months or racing through the night, investing in a head torch is a bright idea. We’ve brought together a few tips to help you to adapt to training with a head torch, recommendations for choosing your perfect head torch and also the best tips to make you a more confident twilight runner.
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FEATURE : HEAD TORCH RUNNING
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FEATURE : HEAD TORCH RUNNING
HOW TO BE CONFIDENT & SAFE WHERE TO LOOK: Depending on your running speed keep your gaze about four feet ahead of you. This will give you time to react to anything coming up. Also don’t forget to have a little glance a bit further ahead every now and then to check for low tree branches waiting to take your head off. WHICH ROUTE: Try and run on a trail you know pretty well from your day time training. This will give you a little less to think about on your first few night runs as you’ll already have a good idea of where the nasty tree roots are hiding. KEEP IT TOPPED UP: Always test your head torch especially if it’s runs on disposable batteries, it can be good practice try and carry spare batteries. If it’s a rechargeable version, then make sure you have enough power left on it for the run you have planned. GET THE RIGHT FIT: Heads come in all shapes and sizes. If you have the option then it’s always best to try the head torch before purchasing. RUBBING: The band may irritate your skin due to you sweating, so maybe think about using a buff/wrag to protect yourself from it. LEFTY LOOSEY: Not ensuring that your strap is tight but not over tight is asking for a headache in more ways than one. A poorly adjusted head torch if too loose will
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bounce around causing at worst friction burns on your forehead and at best it’ll make it impossible for your eyes to adjust to the path of the light in front of you. LEAVE A NOTE: When training at night always let someone know where you’ll be going or carry a phone in case of emergency. A simple text to someone letting them know you’re off is a wise move. BRAIN DRAIN: Whether racing hard or training easy your brain will certainly get a real workout trying to take in all the details of its surroundings in the tunnel of light the torch provides. So be prepared to be mentally fried once you’ve finished, especially in a race situation. FIRST TIME RACING AT NIGHT: If it’s your first night time OCR try and stick close to the person in front as you’ll get lots of hints on what’s coming up by their reactions and yelps.
HEAD TORCH PURCHASE TIPS RUN TIME: High powered LEDs and Hybrid units run at full power and can drain batteries very quickly, whereas single low powered LEDs will happily run for weeks at a time. You’ll need to pick one that will see you through your chosen training and racing times. LIGHT LEVELS: Don’t forget you aren’t trying to light up the whole course so anything from around 80 lumens will be sufficient. Go too bright and you risk everything appearing super white to your eyes thus losing a lot of detail of your surroundings. Or if using the torch
for racing then the person in front won’t thank you for adding floating white spots to the obstacles they have to overcome on the course. FIT & COMFORT: Where the batteries sit can play a big part on the comfort of your head torch. Always try the unit on, preferably with batteries in situ so you know how it will feel when in use. Bigger head torches will have a strap over the top of your head to stop them sliding down whilst in use, lighter units only usually need a strap around your head. BEAM FOCUSING & ANGLE ADJUSTMENT: Generally the smaller units have fewer features available when it comes to adjustment, work out your needs before purchasing. WATERPROOF LEVELS: Most head torches are showerproof, with small seals around the light unit and battery compartment. You’ll need a fully waterproof head torch come race day, so choose one which has an IP (ingress protection) of 9 (on a scale of 0-9) as this will be waterproof to 1 metre for at least 30 minutes. EASE OF USE: Is the head torch going to be fiddly to operate in the cold and wet with numb fingers? Can you operate it with gloves on? Is the unit sturdy enough to stand up to the rigors of race situations?
ALL THAT’S LEFT TO DO IS GET OUT THE DOOR AND FIND THOSE EXTRA HOURS OF TRAINING TIME.
Adventurey, the parent company of the world’s first and only independent obstacle racing world championship today, announced details for 2018 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships in London, England October 19 – 21, 2018.
The premiere event of the obstacle course racing (OCR) season will bring a truly global obstacle racing experience to the English countryside. The fifth year of the event will celebrate the best professional and age group competitors from around the world with athletes from over sixty-five nations expected to participate. The race weekend will feature a 3K Short Course Championships on Friday, 15K Standard Distance on Saturday, and Team Relay Competition on Sunday, each showcasing the best racers from around the world. The event will build upon an already spectacular permanent obstacle course in Essex to create an international village, a diverse course, and an unparalleled experience for athletes, their supporters, and spectators.
“After four years in North America, we knew that to truly be a global championship we would need to move outside the continent. Our team spent more than a year vetting various venues around the world and found this venue offered a unique opportunity to build something distinctly international, while bringing obstacle course racing back home to the UK,” said Adventurey CEO, Adrian Bijanada. “Athletes and their families should expect a worldclass course showcasing global obstacle course racing brands, a diverse international village, and contributions from partners that are a reflection of the worldwide obstacle racing industry.” “We're honored & excited to be chosen to host the OCR World Championships in 2018. Obstacle racing originated in the UK
so we're very proud to be the showcase venue for this world-class event. Our multiaward winning courses & obstacles will allow the World's team to create a truly epic athlete experience. We're looking forward to working together & welcoming everyone,” said James Parrish Race Director at Nuclear Races, which will host the 2018 event. Full details on how to qualify can be found on the OCR World Championships website. This year over seventy-five race series are set as qualifiers representing over forty countries. The new location and new venue for OCR World Championships are set to create a fresh and vibrant OCR World Championship experience for returning athletes and open the door for a new contingent of global athletes with the move.
About the OCR World Championships
About Nuclear Races
Created by Adventurey, LLC, the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships is the first and only independent championship event in Obstacle Course Racing and requires athletes to qualify for a limited number of spots through a network of qualifying events. Designed to celebrate the athletes within the sport, the 2017 competition drew over 4,000 athletes from over 67 nations to compete for cash prizes in individual Elite, Age Group, and Team competitions, making it one of the broadest and most diverse races in obstacle course racing history. For more information, visit www.ocrworldchampionships.com.
Nuclear Races are award winning obstacle races on permanent farmland nestled just outside London in the county of Essex, UK. Founder & Race Director of Nuclear Races James Parrish is the fourth generation landowner of the 2,000 acre farm. Nuclear's first race was in 2011 utilizing the natural terrain, obstacle build expertise & highly organized logistics needed to deliver obstacle races. The mission was to make fitness fun, achievable & while enjoying the outdoors at it's best. Nuclear has an established & growing community who enjoy race-days & training throughout the year.
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FEATURE : COLD WEATHER PREPARATION
PREPARATION After a Summer full of sunshine and heatwaves Autumn has arrived and itâ€™s time to get ready for the approaching colder temperatures and racing conditions.
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FEATURE : COLD WEATHER PREPARATION
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FEATURE : COLD WEATHER PREPARATION
Adapting what items fill your kit bag is a must to prepare for winters inevitable chill. With just a few tweaks to your kit and a little time dedicated to your prep you’ll be racing with a grin instead of a grimace this Autumn /Winter. Whether you’re taking time out of racing to train or still keeping your racing in full flow, we aim to steer you in the right direction with what you need to do to prepare for the conditions.
THE KIT LIST The first piece of kit that should be the top of your list for the colder conditions is a comfortable base layer. This can either come in the form of a body hugging compression layer like SubSports and Skins ranges or alternatively you may want to go for a thicker moister wicking fabric like merino wool which inov-8 do a fantastic range of. Merino is well know for its breathability and also incredible comfort. It’s a must have item for a day of mixed weather conditions. By simply adding one of these layers and a little bit of preparation, this will get you through 99% of your racing and training situations. Your hands and head are two parts of your body you lose incredible amounts of your body temperature from. By protecting those two areas will cut your losses dramatically. Something as simple as a buff for your head in less chilly conditions can be a god send. Even if you set off feeling like you don’t need a buff its always best to wear one around your wrist just in case, that way you have something to add for protection. It also always comes in very handy for wiping away sweat, mud and dust from your eyes too. Neoprene gloves are another fantastic investment, they come in all shapes and sizes but simple surf gloves are great. They aren’t too thick that you lose all feeling but also not so thin that the cold penetrates them like it would in normal gloves. A neoprene glove is fantastic for courses with water but a good old fashioned run glove can be enough for drier courses and also for training sessions. For post events you can’t get much better than a Dryrobe, this amazing bit of kit will and certainly has
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been an absolute lifesaver when finishing a race or a tough training session and getting warm and out of your wet gear is your number one priority. It may just look like a 90’s inspired football mangers coat but its so much more than that. Socks are something thats very often over looked. But foot care is something that can make or break your performance especially in endurance based events. Blisters and trench foot are just a couple of the nasties you could be facing if you don’t look after your feet. Darn Tough merino wool socks have a lifetime guarantee and are made to wick moister away from your skin with their wicking bamboo wool blend.
easy to slip into your pocket is a handy bit of kit to have, especially as protection for head dunks in OCRs. Merino wool, is a fantastic wicking fabric, but if used in really wet conditions its better to go for a lighter version of merino so that it doesn’t become more of a hindrance than a help. Check out inov-8s merino wool layers here.
PREPARING YOUR MIND & BODY FOR THE COLD
Preparing your core for the chill factor can leave you filled full of dread. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few weeks of simple preparation that takes just a few minutes every other day you’ll be the next Wim Hof. ADAPTING YOUR KIT FOR First of all please don’t go jumping into cold LOTS OF WATER showers or freezing lakes if you aren't in tip top health. Skin sheds water much quicker than any material, so If you feel this might exclude you then please seek in essence by wearing a layer on your lower legs you medical professional advice before proceeding. could be potentially doing more damage than good by So with the boring H&S bit out of the way here's our holding cold water against your skin. If you feel your guide to preparing your mind and body for cold weather legs need some protection from the elements then racing and training. Calf guards could be a much better option to go for Showers ! Yep its that simple. Jump in the shower, than something like leggings or tights. do what you usually do, when thats done then it's Neoprene based clothing is a piece of extremely time to start training. All this entails is you turning the valuable kit to add to your bag. A neoprene vest is a shower slowly down a few degrees, while fantastic investment standing in there for a couple of minutes. but it should be Showers ! Yep its that simple. Each shower time you repeat this but reserved for the water Jump in the shower, do going a few degrees lower and spending heavy events. Due a little more time under there each what you usually do, when to the way neoprene ‘session’. Eventually you’ll probably find thats done then it's time to works its only really that you actually end up having a shower start training. All this entails giving you benefits as a thats stone cold from start to finish. The is you turning the shower vest when in the water benefits this will provide you with are slowly down a few degrees. or thoroughly soaked. pretty massive. Its been proven that cold There are merino wool showers massively boost your immune lined neoprene vests now available which give you system which is obviously a great added benefit, much more flexibility as to what conditions its good to especially if you’re in the middle of a tough training be used in. When choosing neoprene try and work out schedule. Mentally the cold showers will give you a huge roughly what thickness you think you’ll need, 3mm is mental advantage over your less prepared competitors. the most popular choice for vest thickness. Too thick Breathing- Now most of us know out of control and you may just turn into a boil in the bag runner. breathing pattern you get when first entering cold Woollen hats are obviously a no go for water heavy water. This usually hits as soon as you get into water events, a neoprene cap is great if you plan on keeping anywhere past waist height. By preparing yourself for it on in the freezing conditions for much of the race. this sensation with the showers you’ll soon find that Alternatively, a cheap and cheerful Swimming cap that’s you can quickly take control of your breathing.
FEATURE : COLD WEATHER PREPARATION
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REGULARS : MUDTREST
MUDTREST Want to get your picture on our Mudtrest wall? Email your photo, name and a short description to firstname.lastname@example.org
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A NEW CHALLENGE TRIATHLON
The first recorded triathlon was in California on September 24, 1974. It was organised by the San Diego Track and Field Club at Mission Bay and was created as an alternative to the rigors of athletic training on the track. Since this, Triathlon has developed into one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and one that can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities. Triathlon is an activity that combines swimming, cycling, and running in one event. The Olympic, or “standard” distance in triathlon is a 1500 metre swim, 40 kilometre bike, and 10 kilometre run. Triathlons can be completed as an individual event, or a team event.
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Triathlons are organised through independent events organisers, state triathlon associations and clubs. They are run at local, state, national and international levels. Triathlon events in Australia range from enticer or novice events right through to ITU World Championship races. One reason why Triathlon is so appealing to all is because of its unique “age group” concept that is built into the very fabric of the sport. All Triathlon events are traditionally divided into 5 year age categories, so you will take part in the same race as your friends, your colleagues and your family regardless of their age and ability.
A LITTLE MORE To educate us a little more about the sport of Triathlon we’ve roped in A tamed Triathlete and avid obstacle course racer Paul Hayward. He answers some of the common questions you have about what Triathlons entail. Take it away Paul. Although OCR will always be my first love, and the reason that I even became remotely interested in getting fit and being healthy, is because I decided to lone up on a beach in Tenby ready to take on Ironman Wales to be what was my first long distance triathlon. There is so much I wish I knew before race day and I thought I’d share a little of this knowledge with you.
1. DO I NEED AN EXPENSIVE BIKE? Triathlons are littered with expensive, flashy bikes that can make even a confident cyclist become a little nervous. Add into the mix that some people turn up on a “TT bike”, where there are aero bars in the middle of the handle bars and the bike position is much lower, it can easily put you off even turning up at an event or make you feel like you want to start from the back. The simple answer is no. A lot of triathlons, from the local ones to the national ones such as the AJ Bell London triathlon, are filled with beginners and they will use their everyday bikes such as mountain bikes or even their Bromptons to get round. Yes you can spend a fortune on a lightweight road bike but a better investment would be some road tyres and a few months of weighted squats and leg work to get the power through your legs. Most importantly though, It’s better to see if you enjoy triathlon before committing a lot of your hard earned cash to it.
2. WILL I HAVE TO SWIM OUTSIDE? The majority of triathlons do have lake swims or even sea swims, these can sound horrendous and on race day make you a bundle of nerves.
3. I CANNOT FRONT CRAWL, IS IT EVEN WORTH ME TURNING UP?
6. I DON’T’ GET THE DISTANCES, SHOULD I BE DOING A SPRINT?
If you watch a triathlon there will be a lot of competitors utilising front crawl across the swim. As the wave starts it can be a scramble and resemble a washing machine, which can be pretty scary. However if you take a look to the back there are a number of athletes doing breast stroke and this is not, despite the rumours, frowned upon and or disallowed.
The sprint distance, 750 metre swim, 20km bike and 5km run, is the favourite for beginners but there are also shorter distances available at some events. If you want more of a challenge then there is the olympic distance, 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run, but if you are going for your first one and are nervous about the swim – stick to the sprint to make sure you get through it and enjoy the occasion.
Before doing a triathlon though, please aim to spend two sessions a week in the pool. The more you swim, the more confident you will become and despite being hard at first – it does get easier!
4. DO I NEED A TRI-SUIT? A tri-suit is a specific piece of kit designed to help a triathlete race over all three disciplines. Yes they are good but they are by no means essential. You can easily by with some cycle shorts (recommended unless you are hardcore), a vest and some run clips for your first few events.
5. WILL MY LEGS STRUGGLE OUT OF THE SWIM AND THE RUN? Yes in short, your legs will feel heavy switching between the disciplines but you can train for this.
But the answer is no, thankfully, as a number of triathlons (such as www.trytri. co.uk) offer pool swims and these will allow you to test an event in the safety of a pool.
Look to do one training session a week whereby you cycle for 45 minutes then “run off” the bike for 15 minutes. Your legs will feel horrible (almost dead) to start with and lethargic but it will pass and you will feel so much better for it as you run.
If you make the step up to a lake swim or even a sea swim, stick to the back and take it at your own pace. Also crack that neoprene hat out of the cupboard that is reserved for Tough Guy, they suddenly become the best piece of kit you have ever bought through keeping your head warm and ensuring you can swim!
Also when you swim try and make a mental note to kick your legs a little bit harder for the last 50 metres to get the blood circulating. If you can – walk to the changing rooms, change into your cycling shorts and hit the spin bike for 15 minutes and then you will not be surprised come race day!
7. WHAT TRAINING SHOULD I BE DOING? A lot of people suggest one discipline a day for 5 days for 3 / 4 months before your race and this is sound advice. If you swim twice a week, run once a week, cycle once a week then run off the bike once a week you will be well prepared. If you couple this with your circuits class or a parkrun then you will ensure your training remains fun and enjoyable.
8. IS TRIATHLON EXPENSIVE? It can be. It’s a lot more of an investment than simply running or even OCR, especially once you factor in event costs, bike costs and kit. However look to go to local events, which are often cheaper than the national events, and keep an eye on triathlon kit websites or decathlon at the end of each season for deals on everything from bikes to gloves. Another tip would be to hire a wetsuit for your first race or two, this will ensure you do not incur a huge cost. As said though you can get away with your existing bike, running kit and swimming shorts. I hope these pointers have helped a little. There is nothing better than enjoying a different event or challenge once in a while and mixing up your training. The problem is that this may become your next addiction.
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TRAINING FOR A CHALLENGE TRIATHLON
Where to train for a triathlon From treadmills and static bikes at the gym to the great outdoors, the possibilities are endless. Some people never venture from the roads whilst others train almost exclusively on paths, trails and in local parks â€” the choice really is yours. Swimming is obviously more limited â€” unless you have your own pool, that is. To make the most of your swim sessions, plan them carefully so you get the absolute
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maximum out of your triathlon training. Hone your powers of concentration and focus during your time in the pool.
STRUCTURING YOUR TRAINING SESSIONS Following correct exercise protocols is key to getting the most out of your training, so that you start out on the road to triathlon greatness, with safe and correctly balanced training sessions. An ordinary week in a triathletes planned training schedule would look something like this:
Friday SWIM Saturday BRICK SESSION Sunday BRICK SESSION The training sessions would all gradually build in distance over the course of the 12-18 week plan. Towards the middle of the plan more brick sessions would be added and also sessions designed to help you to become comfortable with transitioning in your planned race day kit.
EXTRA TIPS Work on your weakest discipline With triathlon, it is much better to be an all-rounder across the three disciplines than an expert in one because your overall performance will be much better. Hence it is valuable to evaluate which is your weakest discipline and put extra focus into that particular sport. For example, if you’re an inexperienced cyclist, try using your bike to commute more so your bike handling skills improve or if you’re not a natural in the water, commit to a few early morning swims to focus on technique. Similarly, if you’ve never run much, consider linking up with your local running club for support, advice and a ready supply of training partners to help you improve. Pushed for time? Cycle In triathlon, the cycling phase is always the longest of the three individual events and hence it’s the discipline where you can make up the most time. For example, a typical sprint triathlon consists of a 750 metre swim, a 20K cycle and a 5K run so clearly the bike section will take the longest to complete. If you are struggling to get all the training in, make sure you complete all your cycling sessions because an improvement of two or three percent on the bike is worth more than an
improvement of two or three percent in the other disciplines because they are shorter. Back-to back It’s important to remember that although you’re training in three separate disciplines, on race day, you’ll be completing those disciplines back-to-back. You’ll really help your performance on the day if you complete some ‘brick’ sessions. A brick session is a double session of either swimming followed by a bike ride or cycling followed by a run – just as you’ll be doing when you compete. By training across two disciplines together, you’ll not only be better prepared for the real thing but you’ll also get an extremely valuable extended workout as well! Spinning classes are good If the weather is bad or you’re just struggling to get out on your bike; a spinning class at your local gym can be just as beneficial. Spinning classes combine endurance, speed and strength training all in the same package so you can get a great cycling workout without going anywhere! Additionally, the group training environment coupled with inspirational music and an instructor to lead the session is both fun and motivating and can really put some impetus into your cycling training. You should also look to complete
some ‘road miles’ in your program but when you walk out of that spinning studio, you’ll know that you’ve not taken the easy option because spinning is a fantastic way to train for cycling. Kick those legs When you swim, most of your propulsion comes from your arms and although you do employ your legs, compared with your arms they have a bit of a ride. Hence when you move into T1 (the swim to bike transition) prime your legs for the cycle section by kicking a little harder for the last couple of minutes. That way, you’ll know that your leg muscles are warmed up, primed with oxygenated blood and ready to go. This means that you can get into your cycling straight away – which overall will make you more efficient and can also save you time. Shrink that stride The cycling section can make your legs feel a little heavy for running, so to help your leg muscles adapt to the different demands that running places upon them, when you change from cycling to running, shorten your stride for the first few minutes. As the run progresses, gradually extend your stride length until you are using your normal length stride.
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FOR THE CHALLENGE
GOGGLES 2XU Stealth Goggle
These are another item that are hugely down to personal preference. You’ll probably have a try a few pairs before you get the ones that fit your face perfectly. One huge tip would be to make sure you get mirrored or tinted ones because you find the sun can really ruin an open water swim in normal pool goggles.
SWIM CAP Most events will provide you with a cap specific in colour to your wave. But a massive tip especially in cooler bodies of water would be to put on your own personal cap first. Then your goggles, then over the top of these put your event cap on. This will stop your goggles having any chance of escaping you in the washing machine of the start.
WETSUIT 2XU A:1 Active Wetsuit
TRI SUIT 2XU Active Tri Suit
The suit has got to fit right. Certain kinds of rubber are more flexible than others, for example. It is generally accepted that Yamamoto's is the best. It’s not easy to get a good fit, because you have several fit parameters to contend with. Thighs, chest, shoulders, arms, neck and overall length are huge areas to consider. A quick release zip is also a really handy feature for transition.
A tri-suit is a one-piece garment specifically engineered for triathlon, usually including quick-drying features, padding at the rear and zippers to provide you with a do-it-all suit that you won’t have to change out of while swimming, cycling and running.
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ADVENTURE SHOES If you’re looking for good transition times then investing in a quick lacing system for your run shoes could be a great idea. Once you’ve swam and cycled the previous two disciplines you might find that your run style goes out the window, so all out comfort is probably the way to go.
KITBRIX SOCKS These are down to personal preference. You do find that the majority of the athletes at the front of the field won’t bother with socks due to the time it adds to their transition. But if your focus is mainly on being a completer then the added comfort of socks will be well worth the thirty seconds it takes to get them on.
2XU Stealth Goggle
There is nothing more worrying than making sure you have all the required kit ready in bags for each transition point of the race. But Kitbrix take away some of the stress of that. Designed so that you have individual bags that each zip together for ease of transport but also that are clearly labeled for each transition too. They’re also fantastic for stowing your different disciplines kit in the boot of the car, so you are ready to take on any training session at the drop of a hat.
FUEL BELT 2XU NUTRITION RACE BELT
HELMET It’s a rule at all events that a helmet must be worn on the bike leg of the race. Infact its really strict. Put your helmet on and do it up before you touch your bike - this is a rule of British Triathlon. You then push your bike to the mount sign before you climb on your bike. It is worth practicing this transition before the event.
This is used to hold your gels and bars on the run, making it quick and easy to stash it ready for the run. It also holds your number for the run section too.
CYCLE SHOES Not a necessity, but as you build your miles on the bike while training then you’ll benefit from being clipped in. This is because it allows you to put effort through the pedals not just on the down stroke but also on the up too, maximizing your efforts.
BIKE This is probably going to be one of the bigger investments of your triathlon journey. Bikes can cost anything from £120 right up to as much as you’d spend on a high end car. But all that money could be wasted if you don’t go and get a bike fit. A bike fit will include getting the right saddle height and the perfect-length stem to hit your reach number. It's also about putting the rider on the bike in a way that's good for comfort, power transfer, and handling.
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006 UK PART 2 REVIEWED BY: SARAH GREENE PHOTOGRAPHY BY: SPARTAN RACE HQ
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DAY 2 IT FELT LIKE NO TIME AT ALL UNTIL WE WERE TOLD WE HAD 15 MINUTES TO PACK UP OUR SHELTER AND BE READY TO MOVE. IT WAS STILL DARK AND I HADN’T SLEPT AT ALL.
Onwards again we went with our barrel to the next grid reference – carrying it as a four, with the rest lined up in twos behind in order to switch out when necessary. We had a time where we had to be at our next destination, a church around 7/8kms away. It became clear that the contraption we’d made with the webbing, wasn’t the most effective way to carry the barrel – it was uncomfortable, and we had to stop each time we wanted to switch somebody out. With some heavy hints from Krypteia Matt, we created a stretcher from wood we found on our way. As we marched on, carrying the barrel, and also the bags of various kit we had won back through tartan questions and tasks, cracks started to appear within the team. It was noted that some weren’t pulling their weight, there were disagreements on when to stop to allow people to try and fix their feet, and to top it off, we’d spent a lot of time moving at pace to then realise we’d been going in the wrong direction. Navigating the barrel-stretcher through dense woods and down banks was very tricky and caused friction around the best technique, which was often exacerbated through language barriers (a number of participants were from Europe and didn’t speak fluent English). I do have a great deal of respect for those who are willing to attempt an Agoge in a foreign country! The church came into view as we came out of the tree line and onto the loch. It was shallow and so we were able to move across it, holding each other (especially the smaller members of the team) for stability. We could see figures on the bank and we all wondered
what awaited us, we all knew we couldn’t go through another night with Joe like last night. To our bemusement, David was there and told us that we were early, and began telling us the history of the church and the loch. We were thrown. We were even given birthday cake, as it had been participant Ben Comery’s birthday the day before (I’ve never seen a cake disappear so fast in my life!). And then we were told that we’d missed 10 glow sticks on our route, and they had our next grid reference written on them. We had 50 minutes to cross the loch again, find them, and bring them back. Quickly, half the team ran into the water to run to collect them. They were shouted back by others – reminded that we need to take the barrel and we need to stay together. With a 50-minute target, we were set to fail, it would take at least 15 to just cross the loch. We retraced our steps across the loch, up through the thick woodland and onto the path, where we quickly found 8 of the glow sticks. The last two were more allusive. We carried the barrel across the same section of path 5 times, again with disagreements on which direction to search, whether there were actually 10 glow sticks to find, and if everyone was pulling their weight. An hour had passed and we knew we couldn’t return without 10, but it didn’t look like we had much of a choice. One more pass and we’d have to head back.
THE 10TH GLOW STICK AND WILD HORSES I’d been struggling all morning with energy, and wondering if I had the desire to
finish this event. My feet were in agony (like many, trench foot had set in) and the fear of the unknown of what was next was hard to shake. Luckily, a few quiet words in my ear from a few of the staff and participants who had noticed my ‘lull’ had kept me going so far (thank you Louise, Nav and Ben). I think there were a few of us who felt the same, the unmistakable ‘zombie-eyes’ you get when you’re just exhausted and zoning out. But then came what I believe was the turning point of the team – Martin Weiber from Sweden (who with his wife Mari, were absolute power-houses for the team), plucked the 10th glow stick from a tree, and the cheers could be heard back at the church. Suddenly, our fortunes had changed and we could triumphantly return back. The squabbles seemed behind us, but the anxiety around what would await when we made it to the church, late… again, remained. The water had risen and we had to take a longer route across the loch we were now crossing for the third time. One by one, we turned to see we had company. Wild horses lined up behind us, two-by-two as was almost now finally becoming second nature to us, before they ran along beside us. It was a beautiful moment amongst the chaos of the bubble we were living in. Back at the church and immediately began our reprimand. We were sent into the loch for ‘hydro burpees’, in silence and in sync. Led by another Agoge veteran Dan Beck, we burpeed-down with heads into the water, and then back up. Pausing for everyone to be ready, and then back down. Charles spoke to us during this about the
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bond created by shared suffering, and how we weren’t working as a team. David then spoke up to tell us again how we weren’t working as a team, how nobody is prepared to step up and lead until things get bad. I think we all had the same thought of how ironic this was; it was in the last half an hour that we finally, actually became a team. Still in silence, we all raised our arms to link together, shoulder to shoulder. They were wrong. The water had woken me up and brought me back to life. I finally realised that it was impossible for me to quit. The tasks and missions weren’t going to change, if I quit then we would be one person down for whatever task we faced tonight and tomorrow, and I’d be letting everyone down. We were already only 23 from 83. That barrel certainly wasn’t going to get any lighter. Our reprimand continued but I just smiled, I knew we had this.
MCDONALD OLD Once the burpees were over we were instructed to change clothes and plot a route to our next destination – a hill a couple of
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kilometers and 250m vertically up from the tartan test, if we answered incorrectly, we church, and give an estimated time of arrival. would have to take the barrel back down We estimated 2 and half hours, with the barrel and do it all again. Krypteia Dom held up a of course. People shared clothes to try and tiny piece of tartan and almost immediately, make sure everyone had something dry, without any conferring, a voice shouted out many had just tshirts with a bin-bag overcoat. “MCDONALD OLD”, the group gasped and It turned out that we really didn’t need many eyes glared. “Correct” said Dom. Phew! Dan layers for what came next. Despite our Beck, the legend, had answered correctly navigator Mari plotting a sensible route to before anyone could say the wrong one. the summit of the hill, And back down the hill we Joe and David had other went, with another time-hack PEOPLE SHARED ideas, giving us only 30 of course. Again, it was chaos, CLOTHES TO TRY minutes and instructing with David shouting at us to us to drive the barrel up run down the steep hill. People AND MAKE SURE the steep hill straight were falling all over the place, EVERYONE HAD up, pushing the barrelwhich was the only way that SOMETHING DRY... stretcher like a rugby David seemed satisfied with maul. It was chaos and our speed. At the bottom we incredibly hard but thanks to the stronger were allowed 15 minutes admin time. We were members of the team digging in, the barrel told the next destination was a 12/13km hike moved up the hill at speed and I’m sure Joe away, so prepare for the long haul. In these kept changing his minute countdown to make short breaks, there was never enough time to us push harder, as the 30 minutes appeared do everything you needed to do, which was: to be ample time. At the top came another fill your water bladder, eat or at least put some
food in your pockets, toilet break, and sort your feet. You had to prioritise one or two and make do. The 15 minutes was quickly over and it was a mad rush to get everything back in rucks and have them on your back. I had seconds to spare and only because Krypteia Dom helped me close up and lift my ruck onto me. Others weren’t ready. As punishment, we all had to put 1 litre of water into the barrel.
THE VOTE Again, we had to estimate an ETA for the barrel to arrive at our next destination, which was Tallisker Bay. With the barrel now considerably heavier and taking into account the terrain, we estimated around 8 hours. Joe and David weren’t happy. They suggested an alternative: rather than walk, we would jog at 3/4mph pace, but we would be allowed to ditch the water from the barrel, and Joe and David would help. For every hour that we were faster than our predicted time, Joe would shorten the event by 1 hour. It seemed like a no-brainer, I was willing to try anything to minimise our ‘Joe-time’. A jog would be tough,
but do-able, even with our packs. It went to a vote and ‘jog’ won. Then I remembered the bags of extra kit we’d also have to carry. Eek, ok this would be tough. Joe and David took to the barrel with 6 other members of the team and set off. We were given burpees to give the barrel a head start, and then we had to catch up. Krypteia Matt quietly had some words of encouragement. “It’s ok to fail if you’re not good enough, it’s not ok to fail because you quit.” I’m not going to forget those words anytime soon.
THE WHISKEY BARREL DEATH-RACE I guess it was inevitable that it would certainly not be a 3/4mph pace. We started out at a brisk stride, but soon David and Joe wanted more speed. It wasn’t long until those on the barrel were at max pace. I took my turn to share the load on the barrel and it was the hardest I’ve ever pushed myself in my life. I had David shouting in my ear, “If you slow us down, you’re f*****g pulled from this event”, as the stretcher pushed
down into the back of my neck. When I couldn’t last any longer, I called out for a switch and held up my arm. I could barely speak, so David called out for me again. Amongst the beastings, there were occasionally tiny glimmers of kindness. Again, with no idea of time, I can’t say how long this lasted. The barrel chased us for hours, if you were caught; you were out of the event. It was brutal and really felt like a life or death hunt. You had to take care of yourself but also keep an eye on everybody else. At points we dragged each other when we had to. One of the team struggled with one of the extra kit bags – it was the heaviest one. I turned around to help him carry it, but a misunderstanding due to the language barrier, meant I ended up carrying it alone. It was probably only 10kg but it felt like 50, dragging me right down. Finally, we could see the sea and the end was in sight. The barrel was far enough behind so I gifted myself a walk. One of the Krypteia came up behind me, “Joe can see you. Run.” And on I ran until I reached the others already on the beach, and collapsed down onto the grass.
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TALLISKER BAY Not knowing what was next, we all guzzled water and ate whatever we could, while trying to keep warm. All our temperatures suddenly dropped - we were sweaty and it was cold. In a hurry to just eat something, anything, I wrapped myself in my bivvy and poured the sugar and sweetened coffee powder from my ration packets into my mouth. We made a makeshift shelter with our rucks and hid behind them, huddling together for warmth. Then
came the glorious news from the Krypteia, “Joe was happy with the speed of the movement, the rest of the evening is down time. Make shelter and get some sleep.” The sun was setting and suddenly the beach looked beautiful. A few of the team put up tarps along a wall to create some basic shelter, and then others put their tarp on the floor. The Krypteia said they would be making a fire but all I had on my mind was doing the best I could to sort out my feet, and then sleeping. Social norms were long forgotten about, as people
scrambled and crawled over each other to join the glorious body-heat gatherings. I was surprisingly comfortable in my sleeping bag, and bivvy bag, perfectly positioned across some rocks for some lovely lumbar support… or I was just so exhausted I could literally sleep on a pile of rocks. Thank you to the gentleman Marc Trussell, who was very convincing in his insistence that he didn’t mind being barely under the tarp in order for me to have a space.
DAY 3 I WAS WOKEN BY BEN SHIVERING NEXT TO ME. SOMEHOW, HE HAD WOKEN UP IN A POOL OF WATER, AND STARTED TO MUTTER GARBLED AND PARANOID WORDS ABOUT HOW IT’S TOO MUCH OF A COINCIDENCE HOW WE’D ALL WOKEN UP AT ONCE.
No Ben, you were just waking us up. It wasn’t I have no doubt of how much fitter they both are long until Krypteia Dom’s voice could be heard, than me too – it was going to be hard to keep up. On telling us to get up and pack up. Trying not to repeat we ran, with the occasional burpee break, and I was old mistakes, we all moved with purpose to pack already slipping behind. It was still dark and all I could up our shelters and be ready to see was the bobbing shine of our move. It was still the dead of night headtorches and the back of Joe (apparently it was around 2am). de Sena. We finally reached our “IF YOU DON’T DO Rumours had spread amongst the THIS, YOU’RE OUT”. destination – Nav Akbar stood in team that despite having a hard the road. Another tartan test. The THAT THREAT morning ahead, the worst was question: “How many times have SEEMED TO WORK over, and we might be done before you been tested on this tartan?” PRETTY WELL midday. It felt too good to be true, Again, wrong answers would be and I didn’t want to get my hopes punished sternly and it was our up. Despite our best efforts, we first response only that would be took too long to get ready and it was time for PT on counted. I turned to the group and held up my hand the beach. silently to gesture ‘five’. But, then someone shouted Squats, burpees, press-ups. Again, glimmers of “eight”, I knew it was wrong and my heart sank. “You kindness amongst the beastings when Dom quietly should have listened to her,” Nav said. said to me that I didn’t have to squat so low (he’s not so bad after all). Then a low-crawl to a fence INDIAN RUNNING DRILLS about 50 metres away. We had to keep every part of We wouldn’t be returning to the beach empty our body on the ground, or close to it, dragging our handed though – but we were without the kit needed bag. Sheep excrement was everywhere but we were to help us carry the barrel (which would now be full beyond caring. But I did have to wash my kit three of water) - we would be carrying rocks. Joe sent times to not smell it anymore. us down into a stream to collect a rock to carry We had to split ourselves into two teams. One back, sending people back down if their rock wasn’t would be carrying up seawater to fill the barrel. The big enough. Off we went, and again it wasn’t long second team would be travelling with David and Joe before I started to fall behind. I couldn’t keep up to pick up more supplies. I was with the latter… oh without a rock, and now with a rock (which I realised goodie. Off we jogged – I noticed Joe and David had was actually quite large compared to some of the small camelpacks on, compared to our 20kg rucks. others!) my body really was starting to give up. I tried
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numerous ways to carry the thing – anything to make it 1% easier to find the difference between keeping up and dropping behind, most of which ended in me dropping it and losing more time. “Indian running drills!” Joe shouted from the front. This meant that the person at the back had to run to the front, and so on, creating a cycle of movement in the line as we ran. The person at the back – i.e. me. David started shouting at me that it was time to run – it’s a blur of what I managed to say back but he got the drift – I was struggling. Others started to struggle and drop back too, struggling to keep with Joe’s pace, which gifted me some time (“rest” as David put it) until I had to run to the front. Eventually, David must have figured he’d been kind enough and it was time for me to run... “if you don’t do this, you’re out”. That threat seemed to work pretty well (throughout the event) and I figured it was all or nothing, I summoned all the strength I could and ran, clutching my rock and moving as fast as I possibly could. My prayers were answered when Joe got to a gate, and we were on a downhill. “Now’s your chance!” David said, clearly aware of my struggle and helping however he could (while keeping his mean, bad-cop character). I ran with everything I could and made it to the front of the pack. Back at the beach and we could see a train of people carrying seawater in rubble sacks up to the barrel. Full of water, the barrel would be around 250kg. Since day one when we were given our new team member, we were under strict instruction to
never let it touch the ground unless specifically told. On this last day, with around an additional 200kg weight, we would be rolling it (while wrapped in materials for protection, and still meaning it wasn’t technically touching the ground). Sunrise was coming as the barrel started its journey to the Tallisker Distillery, where we were told the Agoge would end. The stretcher was now used to carry some people’s packs and the extra supplies. Some of the others were sent to retrieve the supplies we had failed to win back that morning; you can read Ben Comery’s blog for how they got on (spoiler alert: they did a lot of running). I had no clue how far away the distillery was, but I felt a sense of calm. We were moving well as a team, everyone working hard together – switching in and out of the barrel rolling, and we had the stretcher carry down to a fine art. Even Joe’s attempt to sabotage us – telling one of the Spartan staff to pretend to help with the barrel but push it off a bridge into a stream – didn’t stop us for long. He shouted that we EVEN MIDGES had 10 minutes to get NIBBLING AWAY AT the barrel back on the path. Deadlifting it MY FACE ... DIDN’T out of the stream as a BOTHER ME team, and then rolling it back up the bank, I think we managed it in less than 5. There was a shift in the Krypteia’s manner – they were saying how well we’d done and how close we were. Not that they hadn’t been kind before, but it was more limited to quiet whispers in ears and reassuring words when an individual seemed low. Now, they encouraged us loud and proud, helping carry the stretcher and roll the barrel. They were firmly part of the team too. Even midges nibbling away at my face (the warmer, less windy weather meant they were out in force) didn’t bother me. I was still wary though. It would be too good to be true if the event really did end 4 hours early at midday, rather than 4pm this afternoon. If you took into account the beasting from Joe and the tests on Thursday evening though, we’d already been going long over 60 hours.
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ARRIVING AT THE DISTILLERY We made it into the town of Carbost, singing songs loud; until it was pointed out it was only 11am on a Sunday morning. Church bells could be heard as we made our way into civilization. The few people around were totally bemused by this herd of smelly, scruffy looking people, carrying a stretcher of bags and rolling a tatty looking barrel. We had finally made it to the distillery and we propped up the barrel, and Karl stood up onto it. He told us that the distillery wasn’t yet open (it opened at 12 midday)! He directed us down onto the rocky beach and I took off my fleece and threw it to the side – I thought we were heading into the water for more punishment and I needed to keep one thing dry. We would be playing a trick on Krypteia Brody Auger (who I have to add had been an absolute machine on the barrel rolling and stretcher carry for us that day). As it was his first time staffing a Spartan Endurance event as Krypteia, his initiation would be to be chased into the loch, with us all going into the water after him. Dom came down the line and made sure we all knew the plan – we would NOT be going in after him, only Brody would get wet. He made sure the message had been translated to the nonEnglish speakers. After a count down, we ‘chased’ him down the beach towards the water. We must have looked like we were going to follow him in, as Dom came dashing down after us shouting “stop”. He was genuinely worried that we’d get wet again. I knew then that it really was over. We were presented with our medals, some of us with Spartan coins too, and Karl and members of the Krypteia gave speeches. I was surprised but honoured to be considered in the same vein as the other members of the team who had been given coins. 100+ signed up, 83 showed up, 19 finished. We had been told that to survive on Skye you need to be: resilient, tough, inventive, humorous, self-sufficient, waterproof, patient and lucky. Standing on that shale beach, uncomfortably shuffling in my boots as the pain in my feet started to win against the adrenaline; I certainly felt all eight of those qualities.
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN? NO WAY. CERTAINLY NOT. NO CHANCE. BUT… WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE?
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REVIEW : MAN VS MOUNTAIN
MOUNTAIN Review by: Philip Crosson Photography by: My Bib Number
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REVIEW : MAN VS MOUNTAIN
Ever since I saw the Man v Mountain promotional video; the one where the runner takes a pebble and runs up to the summit of Mount Snowden to place it against a pile of other pebbles; and all this against the backdrop of stunning scenery and stirring music; this race became listed in my bucket list. The Man v Mountain race is a 22 mile run starting in Caernarfon Castle, over different terrain that eventually takes you up 5055 feet (1541 m) to the summit of Mount Snowden in North Wales, and back down again, take part in another mini race, an abseil and water obstacles before finishing in Llanberis. My wife had agreed to travel with me from Larbert, Scotland, which made the logistics of getting to, and from the event much easier as the Start and Finish are not in the same town. Health and safety is very important in an extreme
race such as this and Rat Race requires mandatory kit in order to take part in the race. The kit check and Registration took place in Llanberis, where the race would end. The registration process was well organised; a group of Marshalls at one station checked you had the full kit. The next station gave out your race number, luggage tags and essential information, such as emergency phone numbers and route. The last station issued T-Shirts. If you had forgotten a particular item, a shop with merchandise and essential kit items was also available. Very slick operation with queuing kept to a minimum. Rather than staying overnight in Llanberis, we had opted to find accommodation in Caernarfon, about 8 miles away. I chose a hotel that was only a 10 minute walk away from the start of the race in Caernarfon Castle. After a restless night and some breakfast, I left around 7.00 and made my way to Caernarfon Castle. The shuttle busses from Llanberis had already arrived and runners were milling around, drinking coffee and warming up. The weather was ideal; dry, bright, no wind
and promised to be warm. A complete contrast to the previous year I understand. Having packed for all weather eventualities, I opted to wear leggings, a compression top, short-sleeved top and snood. Shoes of choice were my Hoka One One ATV Challengers. My backpack for the race was the Ultimate Direction Signature 2.0 Ultra Vest. I kept my waterproof jacket, gloves and beanie within easy reach in my backpack, as I knew it would get chilly at the summit. My backpack also carried crisps, energy bars, Hi 5 gels, first aid kit and survival bag as part of the required items to carry. I was in the first wave, starting at 8.00 and took my place amongst the 400 other runners in the holding pen â€“ the same area that Prince Charles was invested as Prince of Wales. Final instructions on observing race signs, care on the roads and encouragement to complete the rapid rappel in order to make a new world record for the most number of people doing an abseil within 12 hours would be attempted that day. A warm up followed by a countdown started the race, where we ran over the chip timer mat only to
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REVIEW : MAN VS MOUNTAIN
almost immediately queue again to exit a door in the was rough and rocky with segments of large boulders side of the castle – another time checkpoint took note placed together to form a path. I imagined how much of when you actually left the castle so no penalty for more difficult this would be if it were wet. the queue! The climb was relentless, with seemingly never The first 5 miles or so took place on roads and ending twists and turns that took you up the mountain. country lanes, a gentle incline for the most and I felt Unforgiving steps and ledges forcing you to boost very comfortable. My steady pace may not have been effort, sapped energy that the gels and energy bars fast compared to others but I found myself overtaking tried to replace. It began to get colder, and I was some who tackled the slopes with the same pace as thankful of my leggings, hat and gloves. they started off. My training had included hill running 13 miles from the start, the summit was in sight. I and I was pleased that this was paying off. was surprised at the number of people there were on The country lanes led to rough farm tracks, and the summit approach. As well as the MvM runners, these tracks eventually led onto moorland and rolling there were walkers, photographers and climbers of all hills. It was turning out to be sizes and at points it was so busy, a lovely day and the views you had to be careful not to bump A SCAFFOLD STRUCTURE into people. were pretty spectacular. I was impressed that all the major After tagging the electronic AT THE SIDE OF THE turning points, gates and paths checkpoint, I rested, took a selfie, BANKS OF A LAGOON had little blue flags planted in something to eat and geared AWAITED. PUT ON YOUR had the ground to show the way or a up for the jog down. It had taken LIFE JACKET, CLIMB Marshall giving directions. The me 4 hours to get to the summit. TO THE TOP AND THEN first pit stop was impressive – I had sore feet by now and plenty of water or isotonic juice. the fear of any sudden explosive WALK THE PLANK AND Choice of biscuits, bananas, movement from my legs which JUMP ABOUT 5M INTO sweets, crisps and energy bars may lead to cramp kept me at a FREEZING WATER to keep you going. walk and jog pace down the side It was around the 10 mile of the mountain being careful not mark that for some reason I experienced cramp in my to jump too far down to the next ledge or boulder. right calf. I was surprised as I felt good and rarely suffer The route down took us on the “Llanberis path”, cramps and then only at the end of an endurance race. which is adjacent to the Snowden Mountain Railway. I stopped and stretched the leg for several minutes I can’t lie, if the train had stopped, I may have been until I felt the spasms subside. On hindsight I should tempted to get on it! The second pit stop was a have rested a little longer instead of taking off again as welcome sight and I refilled my bottles, had some crisps soon as I could because the feeling of the beginnings of and jaffa cakes. It had taken me about an hour and a cramp was never far away and this prevented me from half to get down the mountain. making good progress as the day went on. I was longing to finish but knew there was the The approach on the Snowden Ranger Path Vertical Kilometer, water jumps and abseil to come. I signaled the ascent up Snowden proper. As I looked made the mistake of asking a Marshall how far to go. ahead I could see a line of runners following the zig “5 miles” he said. Not what I wanted to hear! zag climb up the edge of the mountain. The ground The obstacle zone, is where you took off your
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backpack and head towards the first of the challenges; the Vertical Kilometer. This challenge was a timed effort to run up 200+ metres over a kilometer through a disused slate quarry. I remember thinking this was insane; to climb high steps and a steep slope after reaching Snowden Summit. A Marshall checked your time at the top. The next stage took you down through trails and woods to reach the water challenges. I think the first was Walking The Plank. A scaffold structure at the side of the banks of a lagoon awaited. Put on your life jacket, climb to the top and then walk the plank and jump about 5m into freezing water. A further run to the abseil. Some queuing was inevitable, but Rat Race were well organised and a team of people helped to fit your helmet, life jacket and gear for the abseil. The rapid rappel went straight into Lake Padarn, so another swim to reach the exit point and run straight to another challenge; swim round a huge inflatable and back again. The next water feature was a scaffold climb to a slide with a curved lip that flung you up in the air before landing in the lake … again! Along the path for the final 25m swim to the other side of the lake. Here you pick up your bag pack and run to the final obstacles; a rope climb and wall. Finally, you reach the finish line, accept your medal and pose for the photographer. It had taken me 7 hours, 16 minutes; 841 out of 1176 – I was happy with that as a Male Super Veteran! I’m glad my wife was nearby, as the cold had started to take its toll and I realised I was starting to shiver uncontrollably. The car and my change of clothes wasn’t too far away and I changed as quickly as I could – again, I’m glad my wife was there to help! We decided to head of home as it was a long trip ahead and as I warmed up, had something to eat and drink, I was pleased I had completed this amazing challenge, pushed myself to the limits and achieved another bucket list experience.
REVIEW : MAN VS MOUNTAIN
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KIT : KIT CARE
CARE Whether you spend a small fortune on kit or you raid the bargain bins in sports stores, we all want our kit to last as long as possible regardless of how much we spend on it. This goes hand in hand with anyone who’s ever had to try and get their wet and muddy kit back to any sort of normal smelling standard. You can be fighting a losing battle if you rely on normal run of the mill detergents. Have you ever taken your kit out of the machine and it still stinks like it’s been freshly washed in a mud pit? Well this is down to the bacteria that’s having a whale of a time in the fabric of your kit. The only real way until
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now to make any real dent in this bacteria was to wash at a really high temperature, but this is obviously not something we can do with a lot of our kit due to the risk of shrinking etc. Here’s where NATCH step in with their POWER CARE product range. It’s ideal for the cleaning, care and protection of all your kit and even has dedicated lines and shoes and other products that use functional textiles. They pride themselves on only using High-Quality ingredients in their formula, which will keep your kit looking good and feeling fresh while helping you towards lasting performance too.
KIT : KIT CARE
This mild care fluid for sports and functional clothing. Containing vegetable surfactants which help preserving the membrane function and breathability of your fabrics. NeutrAroma® technology neutralises odour, ensuring lasting freshness. No more stinking mud smells on the radiators.
This waterproofing formulation is for washing your sports and functional. Clothing if youd like it to have a protective waterproof barrier. The formula includes the patented fluorocarbon- free bionicdry® formula which is effective for protection against moisture and dirt while preserving membrane function and breathability in fabrics. So no sweaty rain coat feeling.
Innovative waterproofing foam enriched with nourishing avocado oil for protection against moisture and dirt; repels water and keeps dirt from sticking while preserving functional membrane breathability. The sponge gently cleans the material.
Intense shoe cleaner with Soda for simple, yet effective stain and grime removal. Suitable for any type of sports footwear.
IN & OUT CLEANING SET If you love your race shoes to look box fresh after racing then this is the perfect care system for inside and outside of them. The cleansing concentrate together with the brush, sponge and micro fibre cloth removes stubborn dirt , mud and even salt stains from your sports shoes. The brush gets rid of coarse dirt, and the sponge is ideal for applying the care lotion in and on your shoe, which you can then wipe off again using the microfibre cloth. Suitable for any type of sports footwear.
If you’re interested in the Natch range then go to WWW.MUDDYKIT.CO.UK to purchase and use code NATCH to get a nice discount at the checkout.
Obstacle Race Magazine 67
FEATURE : COUNTRYSIDE CODE
OCR events have done a great job of getting us out of cities and towns, but as we run around any obstacle race we will almost definitely see something that is incredibility saddening. Something that shows we donâ€™t treat our beautiful countryside that we have the privilege of running in with much more respect than a rubbish bin .
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FEATURE : COUNTRYSIDE CODE
Gel packets, energy bar wrappers, water bottles, gloves, fancy dress, foil blankets and base layers are all needlessly discarded around the obstacle course. If you think that Gorilla suit is a good idea at the start line, you’d better have what it takes to get it to the finish. The same goes for the other items on the list, if you can ship it out whilst full on to the course then you can certainly get it back in with you empty. We all make bad clothing choices, but there’s really no need to dump what you don’t want in a hedge and leave it to someone else to clean up. The same applies to food wrappers and drink bottles. We have to take responsibility to go home with everything we came with, “to pack out what we pack in”. It’s simply unacceptable to litter car parks with filthy, unwanted clothes, shoes, bags, wrappers and Mylar blankets. Yes, the clothes are smelly and covered
in mud, and no, they’ll never pass the Daz doorstep challenge, but they’re yours. You brought them with you or picked them up at the finish, and you need to take them home. Why leave them for the greens team or for smaller races the actual Race directors themselves to have to pick up. It’s not really a great way to go about thanking them for the experience you’ve had with them. This is far more than just a litter issue though and not a burden that should be carried solely by race goers; race organisers also need to be accountable. But don’t be fooled. If event operators need to employ a clean-up crew to follow us round then costs will only increase. A very good example of how this can impact a race or your experience was when Spartan Race lost one of its venues earlier this year due to one of the Royal Deer choking on a energy gel wrapper.
In 2011, over 45,000 runners took part in the New York City Marathon, and over 100 tons of debris was picked up after the race from the water stops alone. The Race Directors could also play their own part in this too. Initiatives like keeping an eye on what packaging food vendors are using and a huge one would be better facilities to segregate recyclable materials and waste in the events areas too. We all love OCR, and I want to see the sport grow and be loved by everyone, including participants, spectators, organisers, hosts and most of all the people who use the land we race on for the other 364 days of the year. We get to see some wonderful parts of the countryside and go to places we might not normally visit. As such, we’re usually stepping into someone else’s back yard and need to be mindful of that fact and respectful of our surroundings.
LET’S MAKE OUR MANTRA “PACK OUT WHAT WE PACK IN, TAKE ONLY PICTURES, LEAVE ONLY FOOT PRINTS.”
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FEATURE : THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND CHARITY RUNNING
THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND CHARITY
RUNNING Written by: Sheamus Cogan Photgraphy by: Epic Action Imagery
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FEATURE : THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND CHARITY RUNNING
registered Charities in England and Wales
Figures show that around 6% OF CHARITIES GENERATE ALMOST
of the total annual income recorded.
Charity begins at home, YOUR home!! So get smart, and get ahead, by helping others That’s right, the first person to benefit from charitable actions is the so-called kind soul who gives up their time and makes the effort to raise funds or offer a helping hand. I say ‘kind soul’ because these people that appear rather nice, and possibly superior to you and I are often actually cold, smart, calculating individuals who are might just be getting more from their lives than you and I. What an uncharitable and cynical view? Not really, all it really does is open up the door to us all to be much happier with our own lives by helping others overcome their ‘obstacles’. Psychologists have debated for years whether there is really such a thing as altruism. A behaviour where we help others without gain for ourselves AND at some cost to us too. The great news is that it really doesn’t exist. Not that there aren’t genuine sacrifices made but the problem is that those who give or help always benefit from their actions. We’re not talking about the free training shirt you might get for agreeing to run for your nominated charity or even the immense sense of satisfaction at seeing huge sums of money raised. Simply helping another racer with a carefully placed hand on the rear end to get up and over ‘that’ wall, or turning around to drag the next one out the ditch, has immediate psychological benefit. We instantly, and instinctively, feel and know that we’ve done the right thing. What’s more, you just know everyone that’s witnessed this selfless act sees you as someone who’s in control, a good ‘guy’ and someone we can all rely one. The best bit of all, it’s infectious – especially in Obstacle Racing. Right from the acknowledged beginnings of Obstacle Racing at Tough Guy – charitable behaviour, as well as charitable fund raising, has become a corner
stone of OUR sport. Few sports engage the heart ‘ME, ME, ME’!!??). beyond its biological function in the way that OCR In a recent study at Harvard it was found that does. But it goes deeper, much deeper, than that mud happier people give more and that those that give filled ditch you’re struggling to haul yourself out of. more are happier. Even more advantageous to us is Those around you don’t just look on with sympathy, no that a number of other studies have found that happier matter how tired and wet they are they still take that people can run further before exhaustion. Many of the conscious decision to help, to be charitable with their studies found that happier people have a more helpful time and energy. internal dialogue, and that we can all learn that internal For the elites amongst us, you really are missing dialogue. It has also been shown that the positive out on the wonderful emotions induced by having received or spectacle of the enacted charitable behaviour last longer UNDERTAKING RANDOM human spirit in action than the benefits of the act itself. ACTS OF KINDNESS going on several miles What we are really talking about is what and hours behind Social Psychologists would call Pro-social OF THE MOST TRIVIAL you. Or more often behaviour. The sort of behaviour that NATURE THROUGH TO than not in a filthy we can take from OCR and into our daily COMMITTING TO AN chest deep partially lives and vice-versa. Undertaking random EVENT THAT TRULY frozen pond whilst acts of kindness of the most trivial nature STRETCHES YOUR LIMITS. through to committing to an event that you are finishing off your post-race truly stretches your limits. The behaviour recovery snack in the has been shown to be highly infectious so comfort of your car with the heater blazing. YES!! We be prepared to soon find yourself being helped, being conveniently forget the charitable acts of the elites and surrounded by people that consistently smile, and front runners – breaking the ice, trampling the nettles share in your successes. As highlighted in the previous and brambles, detecting all the deepest and softest research understand that the greater the act, the ground and thoughtfully leaving flesh and clothing greater the self-reward. markers on all the sharpest obstacles as warnings for Maybe you think you are far too smart to fall for the mere mortals that follow. such a simple ‘trick’. Maybe you don’t need good All of this innate on course charitable spirit is all people in your life. Maybe you are wholly self-sufficient. well and good, for us and our fellow participants, but But you are not, are you? You’re an Obstacle Racer, many of our events also give us the opportunity to put you’re wholly aware of your weaknesses / vulnerabilities something back into our communities at large. Some but you’re also an optimist. Why else would you put events are run by specific charities, most notably yourself to test, have your mind and body put under real those with military links, but the opportunities are duress, unless you had a very real understanding that there for more and more charities to tap into the life’s a struggle. Some of us are fortunate enough to get hugely generous nature of OCR competitors and for out there and do ‘stuff’ for ourselves and others, and ‘us’ to use our trials and exploits to raise cash and we know how fortunate we are. awareness for causes close to our hearts. That said, The charities need our help and we need them. the charities themselves are best placed to extol the With all the evidence out there, how could you not practical benefits of their work. So let’s concentrate run for charity or at least not behave charitably towards on the one person who really counts, YOU (or is that your fellow Obstacle Course Racers?
Obstacle Race Magazine 71
REVIEW : TARTAN WARRIOR
WARRIOR Written by: Louise Ballantyne Photography by: Alan Watson, Eindp Sports Photography, Mary Anderson Photography
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REVIEW : TARTAN WARRIOR
AN UNUSUALLY WARM, ALBEIT WINDY AUTUMN MORNING WAS A WELCOMING WAY TO START A MORNING RACE. WE ARRIVED AT THE FAMILIAR TO ME TARTAN WARRIOR TRAINING GROUND AFTER FOLLOWING THE POSTCODE PROVIDED. We were informed the start line and event village were about 600m away; not too bad considering the weather but we still took the cheeky option and found a space nearby on a housing estate. On arrival, we headed straight to registration which was swift and easy. It was nice to see so many familiar faces, however, it did feel like some of the usual suspects were MIA due to their efforts at the OCR World Championships. The event village was well stocked with vendors; a coffee truck, hot food and the addition of an ice cream
van. The bag drop tent, although we didn’t use it, was well managed and easily accessible. On first glance, I couldn’t see start or finish line and I think that’s something that could have been planned slightly differently. The event village attracted a high number of racers and spectators alike; the toddler course was just next to the start line and so families mingled and socialized while spectating. A highlight for us was the band on the start line; a traditional tribal Scottish group with drums and bagpipes; Clann An Drumma who played for every wave
and entertained the event village. What a way to start ! The race itself was clocked at 5.8 km and offered a range of obstacles and scenic trail routes through the forest. The first run through the field split the runners up enough to be able to reach your own pace shortly into the course, although there was a bit of a queue at the traverse/Z walls; but this is to be expected at an obstacle which is so challenging . After that though, the course flowed smoothly and there were no more hold ups. The route was flat, and the obstacles suited to all abilities; incline/inverted walls (on which Mat found the
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REVIEW : TARTAN WARRIOR
hard way that you shouldn’t slide down garden decking!), Irish table, walls, A frames, monkey bars and ninja rings were our highlights. The course also included a short tyre carry, tyre flip and a crawl through a water filled muddy tunnel. I loved that at each obstacle there was a mini version next to the main obstacle for the family waves so that younger kids could complete the same obstacle as their parents. The marshals were supportive and encouraging; especially
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the marshalling kids who I think were just so excited to know they would be doing the same course later! We ran in the first wave; elite and were informed on the start line of a ten burpee penalty should you fail an obstacle. Luckily and surprisingly given my lack of OCR’s recently, I didn’t have to do any, however, it was interesting to see how many non burpees were done on course.
I will always be a fan of Tartan Warrior due to the family aspect and Scottish roots; it’s a great entry level event that encourages families to do something different together. It replicates some of the bigger scale events and so is the perfect event for experienced and new runners alike.
ADD IT TO YOUR LIST OF RACES TO HIT IN 2018.
REVIEW : TARTAN WARRIOR
Obstacle Race Magazine 75
PROFILE : BIO SYNERGY
SYNERGY BIO SYNERGY IS A SUPPLEMENT COMPANY THAT WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1997 OVER YEARS AGO.
They are well known throughout the industry for the quality of their products, but not only that but for their years of knowledge they have spread throughout their team. With all this knowledge in one place, we just had to take advantage of the value this could bring to you the readers. We pitched the idea to Daniel and the team at Bio synergy and to our delight they were game. The next step was to find the questions to pitch to the team, this is where you the readers came in. We asked for and you delivered. So each issue weâ€™ll be pulling together new questions to unlock some real knowledge for you. JONO FROST ASKS: Ok, are there actually any real benefits to vitamin supplements, compared to just eating well? Also could you tell us about how much of each vitamin is in your multi vitamin supplements. How do you decided
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which vits and minerals are in and how much would a tablet actually contain?
on how it has been prepared and the farming methodology.
KEITH FAIRBURN ASKS: I would be interesting to hear their opinion on if someone has a good, varied diet/ generally eats very well, what are they still likely to be missing or lacking either through typical modern diets, or from stresses at work & in training?
There are certain vitamins & minerals which are generally acknowledged to be lacking in the modern diet, notably iron, vitamin D. There are then additional requirements depending on gender and age.
Great questions. Having a balanced diet is key, however due to our modern lifestyles and the way many foods are produced they may not be quite as good for you as they might appear, for example a recent study suggested that tomatoes in the post WW2 period had up to 50 x as much nutrients as their modern equivalent! The good thing about a quality vitamin supplement is that it offers convenience and a standardised dosage of the vitamins i.e. each capsule will provide the same amount, whereas with food this may vary depending
For example, women are at higher risk of osteoporosis so a supplement with calcium and vitamin D is good idea. Likewise, if you have a hectic lifestyle and grueling training regime you may want additional B vitamins & zinc for energy and Vitamin C to give immunity a boost. For more information on the range of multivitamins Bio Synergy offer go to MENS: bio-synergy.uk/super-armour-multivitamins LADIES: bio-synergy.uk/active-woman-multivitamin
PROFILE : BIO SYNERGY
Obstacle Race Magazine 77
Wild Forest Gym Essex, Cm15 0la 07517604601 www.wildforestgym.com
BOOTCAMPS Body Bootcamp
INDOOR TRAINING CENTRES
Lincolnshire 07968154535 Facebook: @bodybootcampuk
British Military Fitness Outdoor sessions In 140 parks nationwide 02089962220 www.britmilfit.com Facebook: @britishmilitaryfitness
Immortal Fitness Marlow/ hambleded / henley 07792881255
Sdr Fitness Centre
Sk3 0sb 07914052345 www.sdrcheshire.co.uk
Facebook: @sdr fitness centre
Larbert, falkirk 07783157685 Www.mkfitness.org.uk
OUTDOOR TRAINING CENTRES
Jordan Inspire pt Peterborough 07854 271480 email@example.com
The Obstacle Gym Lutterworth midlands 07426912988 www. reaperevents.co.uk
Fortitude Fitness Centre Highfeilds farm, Cambridge, Cb23 7nx 07876635134 www.fortitudefitnesscentre.co.uk Facebook: @fortitude-fitness-centre
Fit 4 OCR
www.fit4ocr.com Facebook: @fit4ocr
78 Obstacle Race Magazine
November 2017 March 2018 For a more comprehensive list of upcoming events go to
1 The Muddy MoRun 10 mile
7 Brutal Spider Hill 10km
4th November 2017
11th November 2017
Surrey, GU10 2HB
13 HellRunner Down South 6km+
18th November 2017
2 Turf Warrior 10km
8 Nuclear Fallout 6/12km
4th November 2017
11th November 2017
Essex, CM15 0LA
14 Mud Run Mayhem, Superhero Edition 5km
25th November 2017
3 Winter Wolf Run 10km
9 UK Mud Run 12km
4th & 5th November 2017
11th November 2017
Leicestershire, LE17 6DH
Shropshire, SY5 6HG
15 Urban Warrior 4km
25th November 2017
Hampshire, GU33 6AZ
Kilmarnock, KA3 6BS
From £49 4 Rocket Race, Discovery 8km
Southampton, SO16 7AY
4th November 2017
10 Commando Series 6/12km
Somerset, BA8 0PH
11th/12th November 2017
www.rockerrace.co.uk Sold out 5 Back To The Trenches, The Big Push Winter 7km
Kent, TN8 7NG www.commandoseries.co.uk
16 Inflatable Santa Run 5km
25th November 2017 Brighton, East Sussex
5th November 2017
11 The Winter Beast Run 5/10miles
Surrey, RH1 4EJ
12th November 201
www.back2thetrenches.co.uk/ From £50 6 Muscle Acre, Mud Slog 5/10/15km
Leicestershire, LE14 3PF www.thebeastrun.co.uk From £35
5th November 2017
12 Retallack Rampage 7.5/15km
Surrey, GU3 3HB
18th November 2017
www.muscleacre.com From £49.50
80 Obstacle Race Magazine
Cornwall, TR9 6DE retallackresort.co.uk/cornwalls-
www.ukrunningevents.co.uk/inflatable -5k-run/Inflatable-5k-Santa-Run-Brighton# nanogallery/ukre/72157 From £2.50 17 King of The Hill 8km 26th November 2017 Daventry, NN11 6LW www.muddy-furlong.co.uk/ From £35
18 Inflatable Santa Run 5km
25 Christmas Cracker
32 Avalanche Run 5/10/20km
2nd December 2017
29th December 2017
3rd March 2018
Trinity Park, Ipswich
Daventry, NN11 6LW
Leicestershire, LE16 9UJ
From £10 - £35
26 Brutal 10 8/16km
33 One True Grit Rebooted 3/8km
30th December 2017
10th March 2018
Hampshire, GU33 6AZ
Hertfordshire, SG2 7DG
From £19 - £27
Adult 8 Km race £45, Family race (£25 for 1 adult & 1 child - Additional £10pp)
From £27.50 19 Grim Challenge 4/8/16miles 2nd December 2017 Aldershot, Hampshire www.grimchallenge.co.uk From £25 20 Judgement Day, Christmas Team Challenge 9th December 2017 East Sussex, TN22 3HW www.judgement-day.co.u From £270 per team 21 Christmas Mud Run 9th December 2017 Pembrokeshire www.man-upuk.com From £28 22 Santa Dash 4 miles 17th December 2017 Horwich, BL6 6PP www.madbullevents.com/santa-dash From £10 (£2 extra on race day) 23 The "Rattler" Scrooge 7miles 17th December 2017 Cornwall, PL26 6EN www.mudcrew.co.uk From £26 24 Seven Sins Run 7/14miles 28th & 29th December 2017 Gloucestershire, UK www.trimaxevents.com/seven-sins-run
27 MacTuff 7/15/22km 7th January 2018
34 Winter Monster 5/10km
Dunfermline, KY12 9TF
17th March 2018
www.mactuff.co.uk From £45 28 Tough Guy 12km
Escot Park, Devon EX11 1LU www.monsterrace.co.uk From £35
8th February 2018
35 X-Runner, Wild Mud Run 5/10km
South Staffordshire, WV6 7HB
24th March 2018
www.toughguy.co.uk From £99 29 Muscle Acre, Winter Warmer 5/10/15km
Derbyshire, DE6 1LW www.xrunner.co.uk From £49
11th February 2018
36 Chain Runner 10km
Surrey, GU3 3HB
24th March 2018
www.musclecare.com From £34.50 30 Devil Mud Run 9/18km
Cheshire, CH61 0HN www.chain-runner.co.uk From £29.99
3rd & 4th March 2018
37 Only The Brave 6/10miles
Cheltenham, GL54 5HE
25th March 2018
www.devilmudrun.comSee From £41.50
Norfolk, IP24 3TQ www.eaaa.org.uk/eaaa-events/only-the-brave-2018/ From £25-60
31 Mad March Mare 10km 3rd March 2018 Hexham Racecourse, NE46 2JP
Continue on page 82
Map of locations on page 82
Obstacle Race Magazine 81
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9 3 11,32
17 25 21 18 24
30 1 4 5 34 12 23
82 Obstacle Race Magazine
MAGAZINE ISSUE #23
NOVEMBER - WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS FOCUS
The number one magazine for Obstacle and Adventure racing