Just where do I start with this race? The terrifying three-storey leap onto an inflatable? The multiple streams crossed (through, not over!). Or the rope climb that by wave 7 of 10 only 17 women had successfully completed? What I’m actually going to start with is the end… an 8 yard skip filled with ice-cold water that you had to fully immerse yourself in as you ducked under beams going across it. Lovely.
So what it is?
You may have seen in last week’s training diary that I completed the Warrior Adrenaline Race. WAR, as it’s known for short, is a 5 and 10k obstacle course race (OCR) run by the guys at Regiment Fitness, a Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex based military fitness company. In its 4th year WAR saw over 1000 finishers for the 10k, and nearly 500 finishers for the 5k distance. Their aim is to provide a “unique, challenging but fun obstacle course race, tough enough for serious racers but not too daunting for those who are new to such events”, and they certainly did just that.
In fact, I’d go as far to say that WAR is probably the toughest obstacle race I’ve done to date – and I’m certainly no stranger to them with two Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest and the Zombie Evacuation Race under my belt.
What made it different?
Well, for starters there was an obscene amount of obstacles, and I mean that in a good way! Sometimes OCRs, especially the 10k or longer ones, are made up of a few scattered obstacles with long sections of running in-between. Obviously there has to be a way of easily making up the extra 5k between the two distance races, but WAR did this really well with a hilly trail to start, and a long river out-and-back halfway. The extra run sections didn’t feel like after-thoughts though, and the rest of the race was a complete and utter barrage of things to climb/crawl/carry or throw yourself over.
Next was the community feel and the fact that each station was manned by a Regiment Fitness volunteer ready to help guide you through the obstacles. Some may have gotten more than they bargained for… I’m thinking in particular of the poor guy in the river (where there was a cargo net to climb over) who got what I can only describe as repeatedly “butt-faced”.
What did I think of it?
Dressed in our yellow tanks for our aptly named “Gym and Tonic” team, loved every single second of the 2 hours we were out on the course. Myself, Laura, Gemma, Sarah and Kate had smiles on our faces from start to finish (as some of these photos show!), even when dunking in ice-cold water and running full-pelt at a half pipe with a vertical jump.
This course had the biggest variety of obstacles I’ve seen at an OCR, including log carries, fireman poles, tyre pulls, rope climbs, a run with a heavy backpack… and that dreaded three-storey jump (I say three-storeys as that’s what it seemed like… but you can judge for yourself from the picture on my Instagram!). I was proud to have been one of only 17 women at that point in the race who had completed the rope climb – CrossFit has certainly helped me there!
There was even a zip-line… apparently. We never actually found this – we’d seen hints to it on a previous obstacle, but thought we must have daydreamed it when we got to the end of the course and hadn’t done it. Then I saw it on the WAR website – where was it guys?!
To put it into perspective in terms of the time it took to complete; I finished Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest in 1:12:51… we finished this race in 2:01:35. There was a certain amount of queuing towards the end – mostly for the half pipe and the big jump, but mostly it was go-go-go so the time shows just how tough this course was.
I wore my Reebok All Terrain Super shoes, which I had originally bought for Spartan but never got the chance to wear because I was ill. They have drainage ports that allow water to drain quickly out of the shoes, square lugs which help with grip while not getting too clogged up with mud, a Duragip upper which keeps them durable, and mid-foot teeth that help provide traction on ropes and walls. They are also super lightweight but secure on your feet… so you know you won’t lose one in the mud! Personally I found they worked perfectly for me, and I’m so glad I had them for this race.
My only disappointment was that we never did find that zip-line…
My favourite obstacle?
I really enjoyed the tyre pull, even though it was a fairly quick obstacle. I like the strength and power that goes into it.
My least favourite obstacle?
Probably the half pipe. It was the only one I couldn’t complete.
The Warrior Adrenaline Race is held at Hartham Common in Hertford. I can’t speak much for the facilities as we were lucky to be able to use on of our team-mates’ apartments to change and re-fuel, but there seemed to be a few facilities dotted around the park, and it’s right near a big Sainsburys.
Thanks Laura, Gemma, Sarah and Kate for making this an even more enjoyable race by letting me be a part of your team… go lemons!