A couple of months ago Rat Race announced a new event to their listings, a off road running festival! 5km loops with optional ‘fun stops’ for as many as you wanted for maximum of 8 hours! There was also the chance to camp as well.
I decided that seeing as it was going to be late July I was happy to risk the camping option. Not cheap and to be honest a hotel would have been cheaper as you are not only charged for your pitch but per person too, totalled up to over £75 for 2 of us! The campsite was small and seeing as how small it was it felt like the toilets and showers were put quite some distance away but that might have felt worse after I had run 😉
Friday night entertainment was in the form of a few comedians, one was funnier than the other and one pushed the line so far that apologies had to be offered due to the young audience members! Once that was over we headed back to our tent to get a good nights rest (well as much as you can on an airbed!)
Saturday morning was nice and leisurely as the course didn’t open until 10am. We arrived down to the event village just as the large group were setting off at 10am, I finished applying suncream and bodyglide before setting out shortly after 10.
My original plan was to maybe see if I could manage 50km and get the gold medal. That plan involved running 3 laps without any fun stops and then the remaining 7 with one fun stop each time. However after my first lap I knew the fun stops were pretty much zero appeal to me as running past them all I had no interest in them.
The training plan for the weekend was 2hrs 30 of running. So plan A was to reach that. That took me to 20km. I then did a lap where I did enjoy a couple of the fun stops, namely the slip n slide, assault course and stunt jump. The inflatables were zero appeal for me, the water section saw people coming out covered in pond weed and I wasn’t feeling the messy tent. The last zone the funfair zone was also unappealing for me. Maybe if your running with friends and family it would be a giggle but alone I just skipped it.
On my lap 4 I had a brief chat with ‘Panda Man’ who ended up being first to the 50km and he went on to do 75km! He said to me always do one more than your comfortable with. My comfort zone was the end of 25km. I was tired my energy was sapping and I was starting to walk more than just the hills. I sat down had a bite to eat and had to mentally push myself HARD to get back out there one last time. But by then I knew the course like the back of my hand and I just kept pushing myself on until I got to the 30.
I knew if I went over 30 I would want to keep pushing until 50 and I wasn’t sure I could manage the 50 in the time I had left which is why I decided to cut the ties at a point I was happy with rather than end up not completing it and being upset. For me it felt right.
When I was done I exchanged my timing chip for a medal, curly whirly, buff and bottle of water before heading back to camp for a much needed shower and nap!
Saturday evening we wandered down to the event village again for the evening entertainment and some dinner. The pizza stall was lovely and tasted amazing! We managed to grab a table in the tent and watched the presentations. I may have been slightly envious of the 9 year old who had done 45km! I wish I was her! And as for the male and female who both did 75km I was just in awe of them! We then spent a couple of hours waiting for the evening entertainment, watching lots of sound checks and not much entertainment. Eventually ‘Avatar’ took to the stage however neither me or the girlfriend were a fan and after 45 minutes of listening to what sounded like the same beat, no breaks just blending one song into another we decided it was time for bed!
Overall it was a lovely weekend, pricey but well organised for a first event as you would expect from a rat race event. Would I go back and do it again? Yes! Would I camp? Maybe/Maybe not, depends on if I was attempting 50km and if I was taking the kids with me!