With such a wonderful selection of obstacle course races all around the country this weekend it was hard to know where to turn! Xrunner were one of the many heavy-hitters stepping up with their summer "Wild Thing" event. For this review it's a great pleasure to introduce Gavin, who's no stranger to Mudstacle but this is the first review he's written for us. Thanks loads Gavin, take it away...
The morning of Sunday 8th September was cold with low cloud. Above Derbyshire the sun was trying to burn through in readiness for the glorious conditions of the 2013 Wild Thing race.
Starting at 9am, twelve waves of 250 runners were unleashed on the 5km course packed with 34 obstacle. The torrential downpour the day before made the ground good for running. In horse racing terms, Good to Soft run legs were almost free of the ankle wrenching ruts and holes of the latter weeks' races. The swamps, mud pits and pond were ‘fit for purpose’. The water being very cold and a major shock to the senses. Especially as the first five meters of water forced a swim because the rain had made it so deep. Overall, the course was perfect and well prepared.
With Xrunner being one of the more established event series in the country, it was no surprise that check-in, registration and the bag storage facilities were all very good. Yours truly was in the first wave and got to sample the course in its virgin condition. Then by my third lap, after about 5 waves had been let on it, a much different set of conditions.
The hail bail walls were well spaced and congestion was kept to a minimum, which could be said for all the obstacles to be fair. The fire jump was dutifully manned by the Fire Brigade (a very easy day out for them). There were plenty of commando crawl nets peppered over the course, along with cargo nets. I'm still not sure of the best way of getting up and down them yet. I noticed a lot of different techniques on display. The quickest was to roll down the other side... not sure if that’s the safest though!
The monkey bars spanned over a stream and there was an optional side-traverse on the scaffolding, for those not so ape like to cross over. For the apes that opted to swing over, the application of sandpaper on the rungs was not a good idea in my opinion. My hands are shredded. The friction on bar steel is sufficient enough. This is my ONLY complaint of the event.
The mud/swamp creek run was energy sapping. Freezing cold and waist deep... in fact even deeper for the shorties like me, which made it hard going. Then the bush-run was a good use of varying terrain, which led to a tight rope crossing and a horrendous tunnel crawl half-submerged in the freezing water.
An up hill run with aid of ropes then led to the water section that included a swim and bob under a line of cans. Some of the less accomplished swimmers had to be rescued from the water. After getting out the other side there was some scaffolding to climb before sliding back down the first of two water slides. It was brilliant stuff and certainly made the legs wobble when having to run again. The finishing straight was a series of man made obstacles surrounded by a large crowd.
The winner was some young kid (I’m 40), who started his second lap when the second wave started. By all accounts he knocked a few off the haybails as he powered over the first obstacle!
It was a brilliant event, well supported with emergency staff and drinks stations for those who needed quenching. This was my first X runner event and I must say that it was better than the Cambridge Spartan Sprint last weekend. Although a few Spartan obstacles on this course would have been great.
Well done and thanks to X-Runner for a great day out.