Reaper 10km Obstacle Race Write Up 17th Oct 2015
So today I travelled to Coventry with PTS folk Gavin Henson and Justin Green to run in the Reaper 10km Obstacle Race. There was also other PTS folk running it, Laura Kemp and Mark Boyce, but they were in different waves to us.
This race meant a lot to me today. I’ve attempted two other races this year, the Iron Run in August and the Nuts Challenge in September but had to withdraw from both due to injury. I also nearly went hypothermic at the Nuts Challenge (body temperature at 32 degrees!), so was really worried about having to deal with the cold. I knew in previous races I had run too slowly, and needed to go faster to keep my temperature up, but then can my fitness cope with an increased pace…. Lots of questions!
I had roped Gavin into running it with me, because Gavin is fast! He wanted something to get into, so I suggested this (about 3 weeks ago!), we had one training run last weekend (which was awesome! Of course it was more of a race than a run, but who the fuck wants to be friendly? Competition rules!) and here we are! Justin also joined us, just because Justin is pretty much up for anything, a good attitude at PTS!
Nobody I knew had run the Reaper event before, so it was a bit of ‘Let’s see on the day’. We were in the 12.40pm wave, which is nice! Not an early, freezing to fucking death start, so a nice big breakfast of scrambled eggs and porridge at 8am, and I had my special smoothie ready to drink about an hour before the race started. Plus lots of flapjacks, sweets and chocolate for afterwards of course!
So we got there at about 1120 am, registration was incredibly fast, but I was gutted to find out that it wasn’t an officially timed event. So it was a case of checking clocks and also memorising people in our wave, so you know who you’re beating! There were waves going off every 5 or 10 minutes, which seemed like a good idea to minimise clogging.
For this event I got some tight leggings, to deal with the cold, but also to help stop my legs getting mangled quite as much! Plus, I bet I looked fucking sexy! I decided to not wear shorts over the top, because I remember them riding up my ass when sliding on stuff, and who wants the view of my sculpted bum and thighs blocked? Anyway, I think they made a huge difference, because I can’t remember a single clothing distraction during the whole event, which is great!
We got called in to do the usual warm up, run by some folk from Fitness First I think. About 5 fitness instructors, and when they asked for everyone to squat, they upset me by all performing ‘air power curtseys’. It might be snobby, but a squat is a squat! Bend your legs more than 90 degrees motherfuckers! Clearly it is never ‘Leg Day’ down their gym! To to be fair to them, the warm up was actually pretty good, instead of stupid shit like burpees and tons of push ups and many, many rounds of sprints (here’s a clue for all you warmer uppers, it’s called a ‘warm up’, not a ‘pre-exhaust you and fuck your shit up so bad you struggle on the first obstacle’. Remember who you’re dealing with! Most people doing OCR stuff ARE NOT THAT FIT. Prepare them, not wank your ego by crippling people before they have begun! Rant over.)
The off was given, and fucking hell Gavin was off like a shot! I thought to myself ‘Shit, I’ve got no chance!’, the first couple of obstacles were wall type things and he was over them like liquid. I took stock and saw I was in 5th place, with Gavin in the lead. But first I had to deal with my biggest worry…. About 2 minutes in was a slide into a lake. Fuck. So we start the race and get dunked straight away in freezing cold water. I was dreading it. Getting to the slide I saw they were also spraying everyone with water before we slid down, and thank fuck for that! So I was already soaked and cold by the time I went in the lake, which was actually great because the shock was so much less! I screamed “YOU FUCKING CUNTS!” to gee my self up a bit as I was getting out of the water, which made the marshalls laugh, but it did the trick of releasing some ‘Raaaahhhh!’ and boiling my blood enough to get running. Still in 5th place at this point, I ran alongside the guy would come first in our wave eventually, in fact that was the only time I remember him, he then ran ahead and ran alongside Gavin for a bit, then just ran off and vanished like a fucking ninja made of smoke, never to be seen again. Whoever you are, well done for pissing all over us!
So I thought to myself, looks like a running bit now, time to start reeling them in! Overtook the guy ahead of me pretty quickly, then it was a guy in Ninja Turtle top (Oli, as I find out afterwards, but now called Turtle), then Gavin in 2nd, with 1st a ghost at this point. We entered woodlands, so running through ditches, some water obstacles, lots of uneven ground, just awesome fun! Turtle then also vanished early on, so I caught up with Gavin, he seemed to be not pushing it. I think he said he rolled his ankle early on but it was ok, but it probably knocked his confidence a bit. So we ran togetherish (as in, we were pacing the same, but it’s still a race! None of this ‘team’ nonsense! Haha!), I don’t really remember much for a lot of the first half, other than thinking to myself how much I was loving every second! Except for one bit very early on…. Climbing over a small wall in one of the water sections, I managed to slip and bang my shin on the EXACT SPOT where I had a huge lump from hitting my shin on a barbell at a deadlift competition the week before! In fact, that was the only bump I remember taking for the whole course! Typical!
But lo and behold, I did spy a Turtle! Yes! We had caught up with second place! The fierce competitive nature that burns brightly in my soul turned up a notch, I was probably drooling as well. Playing catch up in races with a predator mind set is just a wonderful experience, but I probably sound like a fucking serial killer to most people reading this.
I don’t recall at which point I went into second, but it was a great feeling! I was always on the lookout for the ghost in first, but I kind of figured that was a fantasy. But the woodlands was so much fun anyway! I even enjoyed something a lot of people seem to complain about, and that’s running into slower people from earlier waves. I loved it, gave me the mental push I needed to keep my speed up to overtake every living thing I came across. When I did the Nuts Challenge I made a huge mental mistake of taking comfort in groups of people, which then made me pace to them, which only made me cold…. Bad, bad idea. Having learnt from that, I now knew that when encountering people I had to absolutely blast past them, to really accelerate, and also dodge! So they became part of the obstacles, and I enjoyed it as such! Huge fun strategising paths on the go through people and trees and ditches trying to get the fastest clear path without being a dick to anyone.
But then the only real flaw with obstacle racing… Obstacle queuing. So some of the obstacles in the woods were a bit slow (the wobble beam was ingenious actually, satisfying to get over that!) and then Turtle caught up with me and Gavin. From after half way through (at a guess), it was a full on dead heat race between me, Gavin and Turtle. Back and forth between all three of us! We were pretty much shoulder to shoulder right up to the end portion. Some random obstacle memories from the woods (because I was enjoying myself so much I didn’t think, just felt! Bruce Lee would have been so proud! I truly did not miss the heavenly glory of the moon on this race! Thank you Bruce! Feel free to ask me what the fuck I’m on about, I will happily give you my best Bruce Lee impression!)
-The rope swing. Bit dubious on this, was worried about smashing some part of myself. But then, what would Tarzan do? So I gave it the full Tarzan cry (and impressed quite a few people!) and it was lovely!
-The smoke tunnel. Fucking dark! With lasers! Full on rave! On your hands and knees! I got told to stop touching the woman’s legs in front of me, well excuse me, if I could see and you hurried the fuck up a little bit I wouldn’t have to keep molesting your calves! I suspect you got more out of it than me anyway!
-Mud slide. I get really nervous about slides into water, because I’m worried about losing my contact lenses! This one was near the end, and when I got out… Blurry sight in my right eye. Shit! I figured I had lost a lense, and ran the rest of the course with fucked-up-o vision, but then at the car afterwards it slid back into place! You could have done that earlier, you cowardly lense!
Coming out of the woods, Turtle was just ahead and Gavin was just behind me. I saw the jetty obstacle ahead of me at the lake. Fuck! We were at the end! I got a little desperate now, ploughed into the water and tried to climb the walls as fast as I could. I think there was three walls to the finish line, and I’ve never been so aggressive, or successful, at tackling walls. 8 foot jobs, and I just flew over them. I passed some strong looking young lads who were struggling to get over them, and it just made me mad they were struggling! But whatever, Turtle was 50 feet in front of me, but by this point that was not a distance I could cover in the time. So I came 3rd in our wave, with a rough time of 59 minutes, which I was very happy with. I had in my head a sub hour goal, so to get it was wicked. I called over to Turtle and learnt his real name, hopefully see him at Nuclear Races on 14th November and get my revenge! Gavin came in 4th at around 61 minutes, and is pissed off! Haha, this is good because Gavin is now determined to kick my ass, and I’m determined to not let him! This is the stuff the best training partners are made of! Fuck your sensibilities, it’s competition! You want to improve, you want the drive, you want some motivation? Then allow yourself to think ‘Fuck you!’ and enjoy rivalry! But understand this, never in the pursuit of glory is it acceptable to do real wrong to your adversaries. Snide tactics, all that shit, that is not where we’re taking this. Elevate your rivals, do everything in your power to make them the best they can be, THEN CRUSH THEM. THAT is how you achieve maximum glory! The true meaning of sport!
It was funny to me afterwards to be so worried about the cold beforehand, as afterwards I stood around for some time in just my pants, I was buzzing too much to want to get dressed! But sometimes you have to be sensible, and we had to go and look for Justin! Justin came in at around 90 minutes, he seemed to really enjoy himself also. The Reaper course was really well run, it was fantastically marked out the entire way, so even a complete navigation idiot like myself made no mistakes and could just run like a crazy fool to my heart’s content! I had such a good time I wouldn’t hesitate recommending this event to anyone, but with it being such a good racing course…. Can we have timed waves please? Maybe they do on other dates, I don’t know.
But anyway, a fantastic day and well done to everyone involved!