Having spent the majority of the summer concentrating on mountain races I figured coming back to obstacle racing would be a shock to the system – especially a Toughest event, which has arguably the most competitive series in Europe. In fact, one missed obstacle usually makes it pretty hard to win one of these events and Toughest has spent the summer upping the anti, thinking up new ways to make their hard lanes harder and somehow hills hillier.
Arriving in Oslo I made sure I had a good look around the course the day before. The two obstacles I thought may cause me a little issue was the hard lane of the swing walk, where you had to traverse using just short hanging ropes & nunchucks and the hard lane of the rig, which was much the same but included a flying monkey to begin with.
In any other race I could just take the easier options of these obstacles but with the best racers showing up for the Toughest Mini Tour, to make these harder lanes was integral to winning the event. This and having good running speed which was another question mark for me my last two races lasted well over six hours and this one would be won in just 40 minutes!
Still, at least I knew the last obstacle would suit me, an ascent of the Holmenkollen ski jump, the finishing arch would be on top and a welcome sight.
As always I heard rumours of exceptionally quick runners trying their hand at this new sport but like normal it would be the familiar faces that were pushing the pace at the start. As we hit the one kilometer mark, after a predominantly uphill start, Linus was still breathing down my neck.
We came back into the event village to finish the first loop and hit the first technical obstacle, it was the swing walk which I had been thinking about the night before and I knew I had to make the fast lane… swinging across I nailed it and could tell Linus may have had an issue because I was suddenly alone as I started the second loop.
With a little breathing space I could now relax and concentrate on flowing through the obstacles without having to worry about anyone else getting in my way. The hilly course suited me too and I started to cruise but still extended my lead. A few swims and many obstacles later and I was nearing the ski jump. I managed the hard lane on the rig too which had allowed me to extend my lead to over two minutes.
Hitting the bottom of the jump I knew all I had to do was get to the top and I would win. Trying to keep a painful jog going the entire way I figured it was slower than crawling up but it felt good to look strong.
I had got a little lucky with most of the top athletes having trouble with at least one or two of the obstacles, but was happy that I managed a flawless run crossing the line in under 40minutes. I now have one skyrace left in the form of the Glen Coe Skyline before the host of big championship obstacle races begin, including the Spartan Race World Championships and OCR World Championships. Check back to see how I get on!
Great Photos as always by Jj, there are loads more photos on his website – jacquesholst.com