Ever looked wistfully at an event page and thought, ‘That looks fun, but I could NEVER do it?’ Whatever excuse you may be hiding behind, be it a poor running technique or little upper body strength, we’re here to tell you that you can!
We’re going to be following Scott Allan through his adoption of OCR and adventure racing. We’ll let him introduce himself, but suffice to say, he loves sort, but never quite imagined he’d be on a mission to conquer the Man vs Series from Rat Race…
Over to Scott.
I’m 36 years old going on 15 and I live in Edinburgh. Doing anything outdoors has always been an important part of my life; I started my own company in 2007 specialising in shooting sports. Today we run Airsoft events for corporate groups, are involved in land management, clay pigeon and target shooting…. Oh and I own a tank… Well, two actually. I recently used one to pull me along on my snowboard.
I am not a runner, I never have been and I never claim to be, though I love keeping fit. I’m probably what you would call a bit of a fitness tourist; mountain biking enduros, weight lifting, skiing, 10ks and then more recently, OCRs such as Spartan, Total Warrior, Tough Viking and Tough Mudder - I love it all. The thought of a marathon or any kind of longer distance however, gave me the dry heave until I ran Rat Race Dirty weekend in 2017. I had always thought my ankles would give up or I’d get bored long before the end, but I did think maybe distance wouldn’t be so bad if I could just keep my brain occupied?
In November last year I had an itch I couldn’t readily scratch; I needed a big event, something to aim for. Just returning from a week of mountain biking in Gran Canaria had left me hungry for action. I had already signed up for the 2018 Dirty Weekend and wasn’t overly worried about that, and on the other side of the spectrum many friends were doing a number of ultras that seemed out beyond my grasp. I can’t say I felt a specific need to follow suit but at the same time I figured a natural challenge increase was on the cards. The Spartan Beast or maybe even the Ultra Beast were certainly options but I couldn’t settle on anything. I don’t have much interest in doing lapped races such as the Dirty Weekend Double, so my search continued.
Then Rat Race announced their Man Vs series with the addition of the Coast race to the already established Lakes and Mountain events, it included a Trifecta medal that seemed pretty sweet. So it was decided I was going to do the Man Vs series. They’re only 20 odd miles, so they can’t be that hard…. Can they? Then another challenge caught my eye, - the Rat Race Coast to Coast; 105 miles of biking, running and something called a kayak that I believed to be some kind of camel. They had a two day and a one day option, and that was a real quandary; the two looked great but I would’ve kicked myself if I’d felt good enough to keep going and could’ve done it one day. I figured, ‘Sod it I’ll just go for it, how hard can it be?’ and signed up to that too. Then I remembered I’d never cycled that far ever, nor did I own anything else other than an enduro bike (a bit like a downhill bike). Cycling any distance on that would probably kill me so I had to find a cyclocross. Luckily a friend was selling one in good condition that hadn’t been used much at all. This was to be a solo venture for me as none of my friends are into mixing their disciplines; of course they’ll cycle cycle 100 miles or run some insane 50-100 mile races but heaven forbid they do both on the same day.
So, with my new bike and positive attitude, I was all set for all of these races, or so I thought…
[To be continued…]