I LOVE THIS EVENT!
I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT!
[I suppose we could just end it there, but we may as well listen to what he has to say - Ed]
Where do we start?
Well let's start with the drive to Lowther from Derbyshire. Okay, the M1, M18, A1(M) combo is fairly dull, but when you hit Scotch Corner and take the A66 to Penrith, roads don't get much more beautiful and interesting than this! Stunning views and even ‘Tank Crossing’ signs as you pass through M.O.D. territory.
What about the facilities?
A quality event village with food stalls, coffee stands, merchandise, technical gear, charity stands, bag drops, changing rooms, toilets, huge registration tent and PA giving out information and playing music in between. For a grey, murky Autumnal morning, this place was buzzing.
Ok the juicy bit. The course! How was the course?
What a stupid question! It’s an obstacle course within the grounds of a castle in the Lake District! Besides the incredible scenery and backdrop of Lowther Castle, the course is incredible, using the natural features such as streams, hills, and the river Lowther itself. With at least 30 obstacles over the 10k course, you don’t have far to run before an obstacle. The obstacles range from balance beams, to 10 foot walls, to river crossings and are all well marshaled and well constructed. I loved the ridiculously fast water slide, and was amused and frustrated when later on we had to climb a slippery and wet water slide!
Okay Andy. How did you personally find it?
I took advantage of the ‘Elite Squadron’ wave. Now, I'm not an elite competitor by any stretch of the imagination. But I do love to ‘compete’ at events, and push as hard as possible. The Elite Squadron wave is set off first and has limited numbers too. This means there are no queues, and the obstacles are fairly dry when you reach them, giving you the best chance to clear them quickly. I pushed hard in the first 5km and was happy with my progress, but the hills took their toll and I was soon struggling to keep up the running on the uphills. I nailed all the obstacles smoothly without blowing too much energy, and on the downhills managed to turn my legs over nicely and gain a few places back. There were a few of us struggling at the 10 foot wall, but with a bit of teamwork we all got each other over and a good chat too.
I was disappointed to take three attempts at the final HUGE quarter pipe obstacle, but elated to get to the top eventually, and give the race director a massive hug. Crossing the finish line is great; there are always plenty of people watching and congratulating you as you finish this epic course.
There is a great atmosphere here, with lots of big corporate groups, stag dos, and gym clubs entering teams. As you walk through the event village covered in mud, water and grass, people nervously ask you how it is on the course, how cold the river is, and want to know whether it is hilly. The big stupid grin half hidden behind my beard tells them everything they need to know: ‘YOU’LL LOVE IT’.