What better way to try out a totally new obstacle race than to compare the experiences of veterans and newbies all in one go? We asked Jono Frost to let us know how he and his victims/friends got on at SURVIVAL last weekend.

With the sad news in recent times that a number of races were going under, I was delighted to hear that new race, SURVIVAL was opening up, and I booked myself in as soon as I read about it.

I then had a chat with a couple of friends from my gym and persuaded them to give an obstacle race a try! Let me begin by saying that brothers Alex and Chris are not the types of people you would expect to see out on the course. The two are competitive power lifters, each weighing in at over 110kg. They are both obscenely strong, and haven't really done any cardio for the last 2 years.

We arrived at SURVIVAL in Betteshanger Park, Kent, with about 45 minutes before start time, having stopped for an overly large breakfast on route. Parking was beautiful, nice easy tarmac, no chance of any cars getting stuck, and also FREE! Registration was a tad harder, mainly because everyone turned up at the same time and the poor girls at registration were stuck in the wind with paper blowing everywhere.

Teething problems aside, the race warm up was relatively standard with some excellent old school trance playing in the background. [Excellent is debatable, no? – Ed.]

On the start line, we had to give each other piggyback rides, right off the bat. Normally this wouldn't be a problem for me, but Chris and Alex aren't the smallest of guys. I failed.

We then went for a lovely run around the picturesque park. SURVIVAL made great use of the terrain; managing to find some beautiful steep slopes for us to scramble up and down. A storm-water run off provided a lovely echo-y tunnel, which was made more fun when it was full of shrieking runners.

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Despite it being October, there was plenty of water to play in on the course, in the form of a rather chilly lake, as well as some skips filled to different levels. There was also a skip, rather interestingly, filled with lettuce.

Guessing the water was a bit fresh...

The course was routed through an outdoor gym, which included a nice set of short monkey bars, and a couple of walls to negotiate. These provided a little challenge, but there was nothing too technical that would stress any new runners.

SURVIVAL measured out at a smidge over 6km, and it was a fantastic run to take newbies on. The event was well marshaled, with nice signage and a water stop at the halfway point. There were no large, technical obstacles and no chip timing but it was still very good fun. Plus, we came away with a snazzy little dog tag medal at the end!

In all, SURVIVAL made an excellent start to a great beginner-centric obstacle course race. I look forward to coming back next year with more new people!

Even better, the power lifters, despite struggling with the running at some points, seemed to have a good time and, "Possibly could be talked into another"... I'm thinking Winter Nuts!

Did you take part in SURVIVAL? The race directors are looking for feedback that will really help for future races. Let them know your thoughts here.

[Photographs courtesy of Epic Action Imagery]

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