Intermediate is not a very sexy term, but that’s where you end up when you’ve crushed your beginner races and are starting to feel like you need a bigger challenge. If you’re getting in to OCR and want that little bit more, but not SO much more that you come off the field battered and bleeding, look no further.
Here are 8 races that you should consider when you want to push yourself, and some tips to help you along the way. We give you, the intermedi8.
1. Rat Race Survival of the Fittest
Sadly, this 10k epic urban adventure is becoming a rare sight on the calendar. Luckily, one remains in Nottingham. SOTF is a Rat Race event, meaning sturdy builds and a great atmosphere, honed by a longstanding OCR pedigree. You’ll find all the staples of an obstacle race, like monkey bars, hang tough rings, walls and crawls, and there may be a bit of water,but nothing is mandatory, and the emphasis is on being a big kid in the city.
Take: Your mates.
2. Total Warrior
Total Warrior is the dark horse of the north.
Nestled up in Leeds and The Lake District, TW brings in a whole new obstacle in the form of badass terrain. The obstacles are not frighteningly technical, but there are trials to be taken on – there are some odious little monkey bars, and some great angled walls to contend with, as well as some incredible photographic fire jump moments. If you’re already in the north, this race should be on your radar, and if you’re not, it’s worth booking yourself up for a weekend break and admiring the stunning scenery, whilst cursing what’s underfoot.
Take: Your parents.
3. Rood Rampage / The Battle of Lansdown
Tucked away in the southwest are a group of races that manage to combine trickly little obstacle combinations with a lot of fun. You’ll find technically challenging monkey bars, and rings over water, for that extra bit of motivation to cling on, but you’ll also find groups of people doing it for a lark, and no penalties for missed obstacles. The terrain in this area is nothing to be sniffed at either; the hills will have you if you don’t put a bit of incline training in beforehand. You’ll get wet, you’ll get a little bit dirty, and you’ll get a ride on what we think is the fastest slide in the UK. You’ll also have a chance to stretch your legs and come up against some innovative obstacles.
Take: Your bootcamp friends.
4. Tough Mudder Half
Tough Mudder were always missing a trick by just having their 10-12 mile races, because they inevitably put off people who weren’t all that in to running. Enter the Tough Mudder Half, and you have the perfect middle ground between their urban 5k and their original event. Tough Mudder, though it can be expensive nearer the time, is a good thing to get booked up early and work up to. The best thing about it is that teamwork is encouraged the whole way around – you don’t have to be the best at heaving yourself over walls just yet because it’s more an experience than a competition. With the half, you get access to some of TM’s signature, big build obstacles with, well, half of the running.
Take: Your colleagues.
5. Spartan Super
You’ve tried the Sprint, and now you’re graduating. The Spartan Super is the quintessential Spartan experience. At 10+km, it’s not too long, but it does involve more of the obstacles and challenges that really make a Spartan Race. There will definitely be more carries, and perhaps access to some slightly more technical obstacles like rigs and rings (depending on the venue), and there will certainly be more running. The Super isn’t designed to break you, but it does require a bit more stamina and perhaps a stronger skill set than the Sprint. Penalties for failed obstacles will be in force, and that’s something you will have to bear in mind when training, as you may be more fatigued by extra running. That said, this truly is a brilliant distance over which you can stretch yourself and put your newfound strength to good use.
Take: Yourself! Go it alone – it feels epic.
6. Nuclear (various)
Whether it’s the 12k Rush/Fallout, or 5km laps in Blast/Blackout, there’s something for everyone at Nuclear. Nuclear are famously good at obstacle builds, and they’re constantly evolving and innovating to the point where no race is the same. Of course, it’s fun and good for beginners, but when you start to increase the distance, the obstacles start to feel like an onslaught, and the mud can really sap your strength. Nuclear is the sort of race that allows you to go as far as you physically can, with multiple distances and lap events cropping up on the calendar. It truly has some world class builds which test even elite runners, but there are clearly defined options for those wanting to race for prizes, for fun, or simply to test your own limits of endurance.
Take: Your kids (they can do the Nuclear Rookies race while you test your grit).
7. Mud Monsters
The clue is in the name for this little gem. It’s not one of the longest running races in the UK, but it’s fast gained a reputation for being home to many indigenous species of mud. Whilst it runs with a competitive edge in the early waves, the mud soon slows down latter runners as the trails give way to vast pools of the stuff. It’s a relatively flat race, so whilst the gradients themselves won’t be too difficult for you, keeping your shoes on just might be. There are some absolutely fiendish obstacles for the slippery runner, such as ninja rings, and a weaver to test your technical skill too. It’s a perfect training ground for someone wanting to open up their distance running too, with 10 and 20k offerings. One thing is for sure, this race will force you to work on your mud running technique like no other.
Take: Your partner. You’d pay triple this entry fee for a romantic mud bath elsewhere. See also: well fitted trail shoes – you will not stay upright without them.
8. Two laps of Nuts
The Nuts course will play host to everyone from giggly hen parties to world-class athletes, but it is an excellent playground for the middle-men too. If you take on 2 laps of Nuts, you get to endure the horror that is tearing yourself away from the multi-lap transition area to start the fun all over again, and you experience the course differently on each lap, as the hundreds that follow you churn the ground up. Nuts is not your classically technical run, but it is a permanent build on which you can practice and hone skills before taking it on as a race. The main obstacle you have to overcome on this course is your own sense of dwindling stamina, because it really is relentless from start to finish. That’s not to scare you off though – it is a classic and integral part of the UK calendar, and 2 laps is just the right amount to make you feel tested and epic simultaneously.
Take: A support crew to help you get changed in transition. Also, knee protection. Nuts is VICIOUS on the crawls.
So there you have it, not quite an exhaustive list, but some hints in the right direction. Will you be taking on any one of the intermedi8 this year? Don't forget a trip to the discount page if you are...