At a loose end for what to do at the weekend I found myself organising a late entry into X-Runner in Derbyshire, a 5km per lap assault course that competitors would have to complete twice. Set in some fairly picturesque grounds, the course looked like it would have everything including mud, fire and water. With sunshine also forecast it was shaping up to be a great day.
I had time to quickly look at the website and was surprised to see X-Runner billing themselves as tougher than many other big names including the Nuts Challenge, Survival of the Fittest and Tough Mudder. I thought this was quite a bold move…many other races have either big budgets or a permanent course or both, plus, by making a course seem too hard you may start to alienate some participants.
As it turns out the course was planned well. It wasn’t as challenging as I was expecting but all the key elements were there and the obstacles well built. This made for both a fun and fast course!
It was an early start for the racers and I didn’t find myself with the usual comfortable amount of time to prepare. Rushing to get ready and without safety pins for my number I ran over to meet the other 15 or so people waiting to begin in the ‘Elite’ wave. I recognised and greeted a few familiars, also being a bit further North there were a few new faces!
We started quick, soon filtering into racing positions. I took to the lead after the first few obstacles and held through to the finish line, making it home 2 minutes ahead of Seb Palmer in second.
It’s hard to pace an obstacle race as there are many unknowns which will affect how much energy you will use and how fast you will go. Having laps makes it easier but it is still not straight forward. The quantity of marsh in this race really did suck the energy out of me and I ended my second lap a full minute slower than my first.
Clare also came in first for the ladies giving inov-8 OCR both top spots.
I enjoyed the day but am starting to yearn for a challenge of my own. I enjoy trying to race as fast as possible but there is a different level of satisfaction through attempting something you are unsure you will finish. Thinking back to last year’s Death Race and OMM I look forward to trying something truly special, even if I don’t succeed in completing it.
Next up is Dirty Dozen which should shape up to be another fun filled obstacle race. Hopefully the sun will make another appearance…