While many were busy with a little thing called the Challenge Cup, nearly 2,000 competitors descended upon Hever Castle to participate in the latest Commando Series race. It truly proved to be a day for all the family, as attendees from 8 to 74 years old joined in the fun. Like so many obstacle courses, Commando keeps its roots firmly in the boots of the armed forces, who were out in their droves to put everyday people through their paces on course.
Mudd Queen Samantha Woodhams kindly recounted her experience of the day for us, braving the ‘Treat me like a Commando’ option before embarking on her 6k challenge through 21 obstacles.
The first genuinely happy surprise of the day for her was getting to park on hard standing. You know how we love a bit of hard standing in the UK. It rather stings to have to dredge your car out of a field after a hard day’s racing. In fact, the excellent organisation of the event shone through, from entry and registration to the post-run hot showers.
Samantha was all about the high energy of the Marines, who provided the warm-up with, as expected, military precision. Before the race even started there was mud crawling, press ups and other forms of torture.
The race was not just a gimmick though, military blood runs thick throughout the organisation, and as such, at 11am, proceedings came to a standstill for a remembrance ceremony at the final obstacle. Even competitors out on course stopped to honour the fallen.
Out on course, Samantha remembers marshals shouting encouragement and helpful tips as she negotiated the obstacles with the added commando bonus. Having to add planking, press-ups and core punishing exercises to an already demanding list of obstacles added a different element to the course, which, she adds, was very well set up with traditional army-style obstacles.
It wouldn’t have been a commando-like test for everyone though, as there was an option to keep it a ‘Family Affair’, which ensured that the race catered for hard-nuts and those simply out for some fun.
As part of a truly immersive experience, 1 hour survival training courses were offered in the event village, which was well populated with food and drink outlets, clothes stands and an all-important massage tent. There was also the added bonus of heated changing areas and showers, which really makes a difference in the bitter November weather.
Not simply taking the bribery of some warm juice, a tee shirt and some dog tags, Samantha is adamant that she’ll be returning to bring some friends along to race. It’s great to see that well organised events with attention to detail and constantly evolving obstacles and themes are going to be rewarded with return visitors. Not least, one that raises money for such an excellent cause; Commando Series works in partnership with The Royal Marines Charity, supporting Marines carrying physical and mental injuries.
Another obstacle race with heart, that seems to be on the up and up. Samantha is going to be back to take it on, so… Will you?
Commando Series will return to Hever Castle on the 10th and 11th November 2018, and you can pre-register here.
Images courtesy of Commando Series.