Dirty Dozen – South west
22nd May 2014
Back in April I took part in my first Dirty Dozen Race
. It was one of the best organised events to date so I was looking forward to taking part in my second which was to be held in Usk, Wales. To add to the excitement Doug, the event organiser, had announced a cash prize of £1000 for anyone (or the first person) to finish under the hour. At London South I came in around 56 minutes but the course was dead flat and Wales certainly isn’t! There was also a rumour about swimming being involved… I was therefore pretty sure completing the course beneath the hour was near impossible, but nevertheless I was looking forward to having a go and seeing how close I could get.
I’ve spent a lot of time racing in Wales lately but I have come to realise the longer drive is more than compensated by the better terrain to run in and Dirty Dozen didn’t disappoint! The route continually climbed in and out of a valley creating an undulating course with pockets of forests, streams and ponds for us to play in as well as the man made structures constructed by Doug.
Lining up on the start line in what was unnecessarily hot weather I realised this was going to be one of the most competitive obstacle races to date. The main teams were out in force including: RPCC, Obstacle Kit, Mudstacle and Muddy Race; with Ross and I representing inov-8 OCR.
The course was intense from the start with the first steep climb after 100m spreading the field leaving me at the front with Ross not far behind. I had to push hard from the beginning to be in with a chance of coming beneath the hour but with the relentless hills and beating sun it wasn’t going to be easy…
I managed to keep my legs moving, even running up the log carry (up a 25% hill). This gave me confidence and at 2/3 of the way in I was just within the required pace. This soon changed when I hit the first of three ponds, the shallow water and thick sludge reduced me to a snails pace. What made it worse were the haze of flies hovering over the stagnant water, many of which I inhaled.
From this point I knew I couldn’t make the hour but was surprised with how close I was in the end. I pushed hard as I negotiated the last obstacles up the gentle rise towards the finish line, eventually crossing just 40 seconds late! Ross did well to hold Conor in third, giving inov-8 OCR the top two spots celebrated on the finish line with a well earned beer.
Our weekend wasn’t over yet though… we had heard of a few people making the trip straight from Wales back down towards London to compete in the Brutal Enduro. This is a 12hour endurance event where individuals or teams try to complete as many laps of a 10km course between 9pm and 9am the next morning.
Ross and I couldn’t let an opportunity like this pass and we wanted to support Steve Hammond doing the full 12 hours alone! but with important races the next weekend we didn’t want to compete as individuals and ruin our legs any more than we had too. So with just 9 hours to go we started to recruit team members to make a relay team of 4…and so for one night only team inov-8 OCRPCC was born (to be continued)…