With the ever advancing technicality of obstacle races, it can be hard to hone your skills in a non-competitive atmosphere. We've got some solid training grounds in the UK, and not too far away in Europe, but now there's a new kid on the block.
Obstacle Play Park is an outdoor facility, with focus on getting to grips with common big build obstacles. They currently run pay as you go sessions and training days, and will ramp up to include boot camps in their activities roster later on in the year. New obstacles are being added to the park steadily over time.
Mudstacle's Jono Frost popped over to Obstacle Play Park, Surrey, to see what was on offer.
Obstacle Play Park opened at the beginning of the year and is pretty easy to get to if you live in the South East, that is, it's not far from the M25. My intention was to refamiliarise myself with obstacles before Winter Nuts after a winter of gym training and running inside.
Even on arrival, the amount of effort that had gone into designing and making the obstacles was obvious. Mark and Nic, who run the Play Park, have put a huge amount of thought and work into building a wonderful collection of walls, rigs and other such goodies.
After hearing that Nuts now has a Stairway to Heaven, I had a try at the one that Mark built. My conclusion was that I might suffer with it at Nuts - it's definitely harder than I thought I would be! There is also a great weaver, with one side comprising smooth logs and one side with square edged logs. I didn't realise that square-edged weavers were how they were originally designed, it certainly makes them harder. I have some lovely bruises on my triceps now!
The rig allows for two modes of crossing: one side has hang tough rings, and the other side can be customised with a variety of interchangeable grips, ropes and rings. I will freely admit that I had absolutely no desire to jump in the lake, as I'm not daft and it was Februrary, but when the summer comes along, or if you're really desperate to start cold water training, that's going to be awesome!
If you wanted to put in a circuit and run around the track including all obstacles, four times around equates to 1km, so it's a small course, but would be absolutely punishing and technical done at speed!. I will be definitely be coming back here to train more now that I know that Mark and Nic run sessions every other Saturday. They are both very welcoming and very helpful with tricks and tips, so this could be an ideal spot for local novices to come and have a go without the pressure and scrutiny of it being in a race.
If you're interested in checking out the obstacles and facilities at OPP, follow this link and let us know how you get on!