A year since the first independent obstacle racing world championships and it was time to do it all over again. Held at the same venue the course was set to be a little longer but with the same balance of obstacles, running, water and hills. The course suited me last year but I was by no means confident I had the ability to win again. Competing in Toughest events throughout the year had prepared me for the obstacles, which didn’t worry me in the same way as last year but I wasn’t sure about how my running would compare. The running is really nice but pretty gnarly with steep climbs and descents featuring a lot of technical terrain and many natural obstacles to overcome. This is where the race was won and lost last year and this year would be similar.
The race started fast but I was well rested so the pace seemed manageable. After a couple of kilometres and a long wreck bag carry it was clear even at this early stage it was between Ryan Atkins and myself. Thankfully my legs were running well and I managed to build a lead even on the flatter river section. This was made easier by Ryan losing the race track but I was still feeling strong and in control.
Coming back into the event arena we now got the opportunity to tick some of the more technical obstacles of the list. With these completed we started heading into the hillier section which suited me extremely well last year. With over a minute lead I now knew as long as I focused and completed each obstacle on the first try I would get through this race in first.
I wasn’t taking any chances though. Pushing every ascent and descent until the final flurry of obstacles I was soon over the line and all the more relieved for being done – and still in first. Ryan finished in second with Cody Moat in third. There was little time to celebrate though as we were soon whisked off to a private room for drug testing.
Thoughts then turned to the team event the following day. I was to be a part of Team GB which was initially made of Ross Macdonald, James Appelton and myself. Unfortunately Ross picked up an injury during the main event but thankfully Connor Hancock was ready to step in and complete the team.
The team event was of a new format where the course would be split into different disciplines: strength, speed and obstacle proficiency. We were to relay these sections but complete the final section of obstacles together. Taking into consideration strengths and weaknesses we settled on James on speed, Connor on obstacles and myself on strength.
A combination of the format, the competition and not wanting to let your teammates down made this race intense. In fact I was throwing myself around far harder than the day before! An equally impressive performance from the three of us saw us crossing the line ahead of Canada in second and the USA in third. An order very similar to the day before.
This wrapped up a pretty successful 4 weeks of racing every weekend across 4 different countries. Thankfully I now have 3 weeks off to do a bit of training before taking on my first Tough Mudder!