Doing an OCR Solo when your not an elite runner!

So I’ve been doing OCRs pretty much 2 years to the day now. And I have ALWAYS done them with friends. Be that close friends or friends I have simply arranged to meet up with through facebook groups etc and we have run on the day together and a friendship has developed. I’m generally not the most confident at some obstacles and I certainly lack the strength and technique to conquer many!

But this year I have a Rat Race Season Pass. And I LOVE the Mens Health event in London so I decided I would take on the whole Mens Health series! This year London was back in July when it was lovely and hot! And so the first of the ‘normal’ Mens Health series of events was in Cardiff two weeks ago. Typically it fell on a day after I had done Tough Mudder! Not really ideal but there you go! I made sure I stretched loads after Tough Mudder and I think it helped quite a bit!

On the Sunday I woke up and didn’t feel too stiff for someone who had done 11 miles the previous day! My wave was the 12.30 wave, one of the last. So we had a leisurely breakfast and then made our way to Cardiff city centre for the race. The car park recommended by Rat Race was easy to find. Registration was a breeze. The event village was quite compact at this event, I’m guessing due to what they were and weren’t allowed to use! It did get quite busy but not unmanageably so.

The first obstacle was as always the haybales 50m from the start and then we got a bonus lorry to climb through. After that we set off through the streets of Cardiff before coming to the first few obstacles, a wall, some monkey bars and a pool of water. We then went up and over a long bridge before taking in some riverside views as we headed to the White Water Centre. I have to admit I was anxious about this. Alone and without someone to pep talk me I had to make myself face my fears and get in that water! Once secured into my life jacket and with helmet firmly in place I waded out into the water to be taken downstream by the current. It was actually quite fun, I didn’t go under at any point and in fact at one stage I got stuck in the current and kept missing the gap to go down! The ending is the hardest where they say swim left and the current takes you forward! Thankfully a boat is there to catch you!

After the water section we went off into a park/green area where a few of the smaller obstacles were dotted around. Balance beams, cargo net crawls etc. Around this time they decided to take us to what must have been the highest point in Cardiff! I may have felt quite smug with my roclites as they offered a good amount of grip compared to those in road shoes sliding down the hill!

It was then BACK over the super long bridge for the last obstacle heavy sections. The giant water slide, the gym balls to crawl through, air bag jump, walls, travelators etc were all there.

The course clocked around 14km in the end and I have to admit I really liked it, other than one bug bear. At the end of the course, when you’ve already done like 12km there were a few out and back sections along the wharf which just seemed pointless. There was no need to add in extra distance like that when you’d already covered over 10km.

Aside from that I had a really good time running alone. I pushed myself more than I thought I would and conquered obstacles I’d quite often have a freak out at. I’m the kind of person not afraid to ask for help so I was more than happy getting to walls and asking for a hand, it did surprise me how many people looked shocked at my question though as OCR is usually so friendly but I eventually found people to give me a boost when needed.

Enough of a challenge that its not boring but still good fun for those who are new to OCR and want to give things a try!

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