Women vs Men in OCR

So this weekend was the 2nd OCRA UK championships. Once again I didn’t go. I don’t take part in OCR to compete. I do it for fun. Not for placings. But as so many friends were taking part I have been following whats happened today like I did last year.

Last year a huge debate occurred involving women in OCR and whether they should be taking part in the same courses as the men or if allowances should be made for the fact that our strengths are different to those of men.

Most sports there are some kind of difference between men and women. Gymnastics for example, there are only two events which both men and women compete in – the vault and floor. Other than that they do different events. Olympic swimmers the men do a 1500m whilst the women only do a 800m.

Its not unusual for differences and exceptions to happen.

Now don’t get me wrong I am very much a men and women should be equal but the fact of the matter remains when it comes to sport physically women will rarely outdo the men, it happens sometimes but not often.

So back to the OCRA Championships. Today they were operating a 2 band system (thats a whole other story). Not a single woman managed to complete the course with 2 bands. Only 13 finished with 1 band. Most of these came down to a ‘rig’ which many men failed, even the top 3 had to have a couple of turns to complete it. One woman is said to have been there a couple of hours giving it a go and trying to get over it.

Theres two separate debates to this really. 1 – was the rig too hard? 2 – should women have a separate rig?

For some women there are going to be obstacles that are much more challenging due to height issues. For example a 10ft wall. Or a sternum checker that is that bit too high.

My personal opinion is that obstacles should be looked at on an individual basis and in situations where 50% of women are not going to be able to complete an obstacle I think there should be an adjustment made or a second one differed slightly.

Its a complex area that is no doubt going to cause a great deal of debate over the next year leading up to the next championships. Should women run a different course? More band chances? Run exactly the same course? Theres a ton of options and arguments that can be put ahead.

I’ll continue to enjoy OCR for the reason I started, to have fun. It makes me sad seeing the way the community has become divided between those who want to ‘win’ and those who do it for enjoyment.


Choosing a marathon training plan

When I ran the Brighton marathon in 2015 I signed up there and then to the 2016 race. Sadly due to last years injury I had to defer my place until 2017. The trouble is in that time I have become a total gym bunny and not a runner anymore! Well I don’t FEEL like a runner!

I had been torn over if I was going to take part in the 2017 marathon but after some thinking I realised I had unfinished business with the race. I didn’t get the time I wanted last time. I wasn’t far off it but it wasn’t what I wanted. So I’m going at it again!

Choosing a training plan has always been a conundrum for me. I know from training for Man V Mountain that I don’t like plans based on time. I’m a slow runner, I don’t cover the same distance that ‘average’ runners do. I knew I wanted a plan that was based on 3-4 runs a week and no more, I did a 4-5 run a week training plan for my first marathon. I was overtrained and from the start of the marathon sluggish and tired muscles. When I did Brighton and had done 3 runs a week I started the race much fresher and felt good for longer!

So after spending ages googling different marathon training plans and after lots of recommendations from people to give My Asics a go I decided I’d try it again. I started one of their plans for one of my previous events but didn’t like the pace it set. I’m still not a fan but I’ve decided to turn a blind eye for the pace recommendations other than for the long run.

I like that its broken down into stages and it also has a ‘preconditioning’ phase which is where it is currently at. I assume this is simply getting me ready to start upping my distance. Managed a nice ‘gentle jog’ of 4.5 miles this morning. It felt quite good but I know I’ve got a long way to go before I get there.

According to the plan I have another 85 runs, 447.7 miles and 21 weeks to go. EEK!

How do you choose your training plans? 

Mens Health Survival of the Fittest – Manchester – Race Report

Having completed London, Cardiff, Nottingham and Edinburgh last weekend it was time for the final event of the series. Manchester. When I signed up at the start of the year Rat Race had on their website their old info which stated if you did them all you got a souvenir hoodie. Prior to Manchester I got in contact to find out the details as I hadn’t heard anymore and couldn’t find anything on the website. The answer I got was

This was in place in previous years as part of the full monty package. We have not, however, run this package for 2016 as it was replaced with a higher value season ticket offer.

*Rolls eyes*

^ that is all I’m going to say for now, theres another blog post to come about said Season ticket and if I will be getting another one.

Anyway back to Manchester, this event had parking but it was a good distance from the event village with no signage, so it was follow the people who look like they are doing it and hope they know where we are going kind of job. Eventually we found it in the shadows of the Etihad stadium and with the travealator as the finish line.

Soon it was time to go, the usual hay bales were first to take us around a nice 180 turn. Then it was a short run with a couple of little hurdles and a wall before we hit the stadium climbs. Wow they were LONG. But also fun, I love football so running around a stadium is pretty cool to me.

After that we went off to the Athletics Track for a lap with the steeplechase included. I thought it would be about ankle deep, turns out its much deeper, check out the video for me stacking it!

Before long we came to the first canal crossing. Can’t say I was thrilled about it but I was going to do it and I did. Both of them! The lazy river was definitely that as we had to walk it as it was too shallow to glide down! But even though we were walking we had to have a life jacket on…. yet for the canal crossing into water that was 3m deep we didn’t need one … logic anyone?

Overall it was a good course, quite a lot around the stadium for spectators to see, or try and guess where they would see you as there was no map as usual. A bit of sightseeing around the home of British cycling and out into manchester parks and then it was back into the area around the stadium to finish.

In my opinion it was a good course, plenty of obstacles, lots of road running. Overall I was pleased 🙂 Check out the video to get a feel for what it was like to run it!

Race Report : Mens Health Survival of the Fittest Edinburgh

This weekend we flew all the way up to Edinburgh from Stansted so I could take on the penultimate MHSOTF. Having already done London, Cardiff and Nottingham I had a good idea what was coming in terms of obstacles. But the hills took me by surprise! That and the steps! So many damn steps! I don’t think we ran on flat for more than a few hundred yards!

This event is definitely the most city centre based race of the series so far and as a result they couldn’t fit anything huge in. The travelator was only two lanes rather than three this time. The air jump being based along the royal mile was cool as it meant it had lots of spectators. We took in some amazing scenery along the way and I got to see bits of Edinburgh I have never seen before and a few familiar sights from when I did the marathon.

Check out the video to see some of what I took on!


And finally next week it will be Manchester!

Race Report : Mens Health SOTF Nottingham

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Mens Health series of events. Road running plus obstacles! My favourite! Last weekend I took on Nottingham  Mens Health, I hadn’t done it before and this time unlike Cardiff I hadn’t checked out any videos for any clues as to what was in store! So it was all a complete surprise. I stayed in Nottingham the night before and had just a 10 minute walk to the event village. It was a crisp morning and I had originally planned to run in vest and shorts but whilst waiting around in the event village popped on my base layer! I am torn if I actually needed it or not, at times I was too hot and could have done without it but the few times there were queues it was beneficial.

Running alone didn’t bother me. I’m super chatty to strangers anyway so nattered to loads of people around the course and met some fellow Muddy Race runners too as I had my vest on.

The course itself had quite a few LONG sections of running which was quite frustrating as it meant the obstacles were all grouped together. We had the usual fun obstacles including the airbag jump and the water slide as well as the travelator which this time took two attempts and a helping hand from a marshall to get up! My legs just didn’t have anything left for that final push!

We also took in the steps of Nottingham Forests football stadium, how fun when you’ve already done 8km! NOT! And we ran around the Water Sports Centre but unfortunately were unable to do any water obstacles here due to water testing that week.

I won’t babble on too much as this time I video’d it and so I shall let the video do the talking.