The Nuts Challenge 05/03/2017

I am going to start this review a bit different that previous ones. I am really proud to say that Mudd Matters will be celebrating our 1st Anniversary on the 17th of this month. We’ve been all over the country visiting and reviewing races and products and ran over 100 races between us so it’s fair to say that we know a thing or two about Obstacle Course Racing. I am not saying that we are the best of the best but we are able to offer a great all round perspective on races, from kid’s races, fun runner races, through to the competitive side of things.

Over the last year we have met a huge amount of people and I’ve come to the decision (through feedback) that I’m going to take a more personal approach on the reviews. Our reviews will still have structure to them but be more…personal.

For those of you who don’t know how we work; we have one person (either Steven or I) who takes part in a race, the other person either becomes a marshal for the event or has free reign of the course so that they can review the quality of obstacles and get more of an insider’s point of view. We then usually have another runner (chosen at random through our Facebook page) who will run the same race at a different distance. At the end of the race we then get that runners’ perspective, speak to other people who have taken part in the race, the race director and collaborate to form an all around, thorough review for you guys.

Snapshot

The Nuts Challenge is set in the beautiful countryside in Dorking, Surrey. They offer a laps race; 1, 2, 3 or 4 (if you’re crazy enough). The laps are about 7 – 8k each but are seriously not to be laughed as it is very obstacle heavy.

Prices start at £55.99 for 1 lap and rise to £67.99 for 4 laps. Very reasonably priced for what you get.

What do you get? The race, a pretty cool tech tee, a medal which changes for each race they put on through the year, chip timing and a nice hot drink to warm you up at the end.

Terrain: 

The terrain was very varied but due to the horrendous weather conditions parts of the course felt like I was doing an impression of Bambi on ice. The mud was everywhere. I personally love mud but some types of mud are a nightmare to try and run on. There was plenty of this type of mud which made it really hard to try and get warm on any open running sections.

There were a few hills, especially in the woodland area where they very ‘kindly’ added a sandbag carry and later on the course, a ‘delightful’ tyre carry. By the time most people had come to this point (about 6k in) they were exhausted and I saw plenty of people losing hope when their tyre decided to roll back down the hill they’d so painfully carried up it.

Plenty of water! Most of the water wasn’t deep but was freezing cold. Runners’ commented on how torturous it was thinking they’d just finished with the water sections, only to turn a corner and have to get back in it. There was a large water section which involved a number of technical obstacles and wading through a lake.

Obstacles:

They had a great range of natural and manmade obstacles which were suitable for all abilities. I was really glad to see that they had an easier and harder lane for runners to choose from, depending on what they felt comfortable with.

I was running 1 lap with a lovely Mud Queen (it was her 1st ever race) and we were happy to take the easier options where as the likes of Steven (who did 3 laps) enjoyed the fact that the harder lanes meant that they were kept clear for competitive runners.

I found that there was a really good mix of fun, challenging and technical obstacles and that the obstacles were built really well. The only point I’d make here is that people doing just one or two laps didn’t need to do the ‘Nutcracker’ section which involved monkey bars and more technically demanding obstacles. I felt that there wasn’t enough upper body work on the 1 lap.

Runners who took on 2+ laps said that they were happy that the obstacles were varied so they didn’t kill your legs, then more legs and more legs, but gave them a break between muscle groups, whilst still being physically demanding. Steven said that after the second lap even a small gate was a struggle because the course really sucked everything from you. (Which was clear to see when he’d finished his 3rd lap and cried for about 15 minutes after).

An obstacle that I found difficult was in the water section and basically involved getting across a lake over some floating rubber rings. I got half way and fell in but was super happy that I’d made it across the floating platforms before the rings as I’d failed them on a previous race.

All of the marshals on the course were great and offered help and encouragement to everyone.

You made it! Now what?!

I was so happy to finish and I don’t know one person who wasn’t. What an achievement! It was an absolutely gruelling course and a large percentage of people actually DNF (did not finish). I spoke to one runner who signed up for 3 laps but after half way through lap 1 called it a day. Another runner signed up for 4 laps, completed one and shook the hand of everyone else who completed a lap.

I crossed that finish line with a smile on my face and loved the medal. It’s well made, weighty and a clean, crisp finish. I am really glad that they do a different medal for each event – it makes it that bit more special.

I was met by some bubbly marshals who handed me a hot drink and took of my gloves as I was so cold then off I went to get changed. The changing rooms were terrible. This isn’t necessarily down to the event organisers, they were in a heated marquee but the floor had become well… somewhat of a swamp. The showers didn’t work at all but I think we were all just happy that it was heated.

The event village was really small but had the essentials. A few food stalls (about £4.00 for a burger) well stocked toilets and a sports massage tent.

PROS: 

Value for money

Varied terrain

Suitable for all abilities

Good mix of obstacles

CONS:

Showers didn’t work

Changing room floor became a swamp

Overall Opinion:

The Nuts Challenge was great fun. If you’re looking for a race that offers you everything then this one is worth the money. It caters for all fitness levels and has a really good mix of obstacles and terrain.

Personally, this was my favourite race so far and comes highly recommended by myself and the majority of runners.

The only thing that let’s this down slightly is the changing rooms could use a little bit of work and maybe to introduce a few more upper body obstacles on the 1 – 2 laps.

Overall rating: 9/10 

Bootneck Challenge

Today we visited the bootneck challenge in Peterborough. It’s the brain child of Matthew Doherty, an ex-marine. I never like to start a review with a negative or trying to defend an event but it IS worth noting that this was the 1st event for Matthew and he openly admitted that he was “bricking it”. So, being consistent to our readers, we went in with our reviewing caps on but mindful that it’s unfamiliar territory for him so tried to be sympathetic.

Steven was running the 10k elite wave and I had free reign of the course. The wave was due to start at 9am; we arrived at 8am to have a look around. I was particularly excited to go and see the water slide and view the build quality of some obstacles that Mark Noble of Zeus races had built for them.

They also had good engagement with potential runners via social media and did a few little video’s which got us looking forward to this race.


THE REVIEW

Price & Info: 

Early bird prices started at £43 for a 5k and £53 for a 10k but went up to a staggering £74 on the day! What did you get for that? A medal, a t-shirt, (the website stated a goody bag but we didn’t get one and I couldn’t see any?) free car park and free bag drop. Oh, and a random slice of orange. Our Garmin also measured the course at 8.9k not 10k.

A bit more expensive than the average £30-£40 and a bit more than I would say it’s worth.

There was a course map on the website but none at the event – not even for marshals. I need to point out here that although most marshals had a briefing, some didn’t and the briefing was, well…brief. I stood in and listened.

There was a huge amount of confusion at the gecko walls whereby runners were getting so confused as to where they were actually supposed to be running and the marshal’s didn’t have a clue either. I felt so bad for them. It was painful to watch but hat’s off to the marshal who took it in her stride and whilst embarrassed shouted “it’s an adventure; I’m really sorry but enjoy the unknown”. I went over and spoke to the three marshals at the gecko walls who confirmed that they hadn’t been explained to about where to send runners or which way they were to tackle the walls, and one (the team leader) hadn’t been given any briefing.


Poor navigation was a common theme here throughout the course. We spoke to Matthew who said that he had been let down, last minute by his signage company (we won’t name them). Even so; there are alternatives which should have been implemented.


I am pleased that on the 2nd lap of the 10k, they seemed to have corrected this and marshals’ had readjusted some taping to make it clearer.

Rating:  5/10

Terrain: 

This event is set in the grounds of an equestrian centre and has a fantastic range of terrain. It’s got small hills, big hills, rolling hills, water, farmland, mud, woodland and more! Another event has previously used this area and included more of the woodland section but due to it being winter, we were told that it was closed off by the people who owned the land. As far as terrain went, the boot neck challenge chose a perfect location for their event!

Rating: 10/10

Obstacles:

With this being a 1st time event for the bootneck challenge, I wasn’t expecting anything amazing as purchasing or building obstacles is a costly exercise. I loved the way that they utilised natural streams and made good use of the land but found some obstacles to be somewhat uninspiring e.g. ‘Snipers’ Alley’ Where you ran up a hill and people were shooting water pistols at you.

The water slide was a hazard! There is no other way to put it. It is really hard for me to sit here and type this when of course, I want to be able to sing praise for all OCR events but when runners’ safety is compromised – there is no ‘nice’ way to talk about it. I’d heard quite a bit of hype about their waterslide and did a ‘live’ feed on our facebook page as I approached it but was sorely disappointed when I got there. It literally consisted of plastic membrane down the side of a hill, held down by some wooden stakes in the ground. There was a tractor at the top with a pipe that almost trickled water out as someone squirted washing up liquid across it. There was nothing at the bottom, no water, no barrier or anything just sloped grass that people continued to slide on. My BIGGEST issue here was the safety or lack of. In the 10 minutes I stood there I witnessed 3 people injure themselves. One man came down and took out one of the wooden stakes. One woman caught her elbow on one and a man caught his back on the remaining steak that was sticking out of the ground.

When I spoke with runners at the end about the slide, many said it was really poorly made and commented on the danger is posed. I am not here to give them a bashing but I am here to provide constructive criticism; perhaps find a safer way to secure the plastic down or make the slide much wider to avoid accidents? Also, add more water on the slide as I saw a few embarrassed faces that ended up having to pull themselves down the slide as it wasn’t wet enough.
Another talking point obstacle was the quarter pipe. This was really well made and I personally got up there, took some pictures – I’ll include them – and started helping people up. I loved the feeling this one gave runners’. The sense of achievement it gave them was incredible and right at the finish; so they ended on a high. Well done to Mark for the build quality of this one in particular!

Runners said there was a good range of easier ‘natural’ obstacles through to tougher, more challenging ones like the incline walls.
Our competition winner and his friend also noted that the net in the wooded area was unsafe. They said that it didn’t have enough tension and marshals had to hold the bottom of the net to try and stabilise it.

It’s a difficult one for me to rate because when it comes to safety, it only takes one dangerous obstacle to really damage a score.

I’d like to point out here that if some obstacles didn’t pose such a threat, I’d have rated the obstacles a 6.

Rating: 4/10

The Bling:

The medal looked pretty cool and well made and has the year on so I assume will be the same for all 2017 events. The tee looked nice but sizing is an issue as they come up small and really quite short. Lovely colour and detail on though! No goody bag as promised by the website which was a shame.

Rating: 5/10

Event Village and Atmosphere:

The event village was good. It was small but so was the event. We grabbed a delicious bacon sandwich from ‘The horsebox’ for £4 – which I really have an issue paying for 2 rashers of bacon and two slices of bread.

There were two options for food and drinks; The horsebox and the gourmet burger place. Merchandising stalls included RunFlex, MySports, Gainz and Cotswolds.

There were plenty of toilets, female and male changing rooms and floating medics.

There was a great buzz here and I think they did really well for their first attempt. The only improvement would be to get bigger and offer more, which obviously comes with their own expansion.

Rating: 9/10

 

PROS: 

Great Fun

Good event village

Bigger obstacles were built well

Amazing terrain

Room for expansion – grounds

CONS:

Compromised runner safety on the waterslide and vertical net

Works out a bit expensive compared to similar events

Poorly marked out course

Overall Opinion:

Although this sounds like quite a bad review, I think they did pretty well for their 1st ever event. On paper if you look at all the things runners want i.e. the varied terrain, a good mix of obstacles, changing facilities, variety of food etc: They delivered.

Yes, there were some teething issues but there was always bound to be. This has great foundations to be a brilliant race. It just needs working on, adjusting and improving upon but I have no doubt that Matthew will do exactly that. Like I said, we are not here to bash an event and writing not great reviews is never pleasant but is sometimes just the tool they need to learrn and move forward. I would love to go back to an event of theirs in the future and see how it’s improved. For a first timer; the bootneck challenge did alright.

Overall rating: 5/10 

The Muscle Acre 22/01/2017

logoMuscle Acre is based in Guildford, Surrey and is headed up by Kev and Andrew. Kev comes from a Royal Marine background whilst Andrew works on the adjoining land with his family. Their ‘Winter Warmer’ was their 8th run and it was a very frosty start indeed. They have recently boasted becoming OCRA UK affiliated and part of the community league.

They offer a range of different races, catering for kids, 5k, 10k and a daring 20k.

 

THE REVIEW

Sign Up, Price & Info: 

The website is really easy to navigate and contains plenty of information. There is no post code given on the site but it is sent to you once you have booked onto a race. The reason for this is because the land is private; they didn’t want just anybody turning up throughout the year.

Prices start as little as £36.50 and go up to £60 for on the day prices for a 20k, which I think is amazing value for money! Why? Well because of everything that includes; car parking was FREE, bag drop was FREE, FREE hot chocolate, FREE beer, FREE banana, a Muscle Acre hat, timing and more!

Rating: 10/10

Terrain:

I felt that the terrain was very flat and very monotonous. Personally, I can’t stand running but then our competition winner, Roxane had said that she liked it being running heavy because it was where she could make up time and place a higher overall position. If you are good at running or enjoy it, then this one’s great for you.

They did make good use of the small amount of hills by making runners’ slalom with some obstacles in between.

Not much mud at all but then everywhere was frozen so what would you expect? They usually make use of a wooded area and marsh lands which they call ‘the wilderness’ but due to the ice being so thick (they couldn’t break it) they made the sensible decision to close that part of the course.

I think during warmer months, their trenches would be good and offer some muddy fun.

trenches

Rating: 7/10

Obstacles: 

There are no real ‘amazing’ obstacles on their 5k race although they do offer a fantastic range from crawls, wall, climbs and a sternum checker. If you are running anything more than the 5k the obstacles certainly step it up a gear or two. They introduce much more technically challenging obstacles such as a rope climb and a rig.

invisch

(Steven on his invisible chair)

I loved the fact that almost all of their obstacles cater for any type of runner from a newbie to a seasoned runner. For example; there was an apex wall that had three different options. 1. The left hand side had small batons across with a rope 2. The middle had just a rope 3. The right hand side was just the wall. They also had similar for monkey bars… finally! I was ecstatic to finally find a race that had monkey bars that catered for everyone from tall men that glide across to short arses like myself who don’t have the arm span of an orang-utan.

Many of the obstacles were not flash ones that have cost thousands to make but all of them have been made to a fantastic standard and let’s be honest: That’s what matters.

The trenches that we went through were absolutely FREEZING! It was easily the coldest water I have ever been through, with the ice being about 2-3 inches thick.

ice

The difficulty I have in rating these obstacles is that prior to having our daughter, I was running a minimum 10k race with much more demanding obstacles. I will however say that for someone who has not done many or perhaps doesn’t have the best fitness currently; the obstacles of the 5k were perfect. They were challenging enough but still fun. I will be looking forward to running the 10k race once my fitness has improved so that I can see the difference in difficulty between the two.

Steven and the RD, Andrew said it was a shame that I couldn’t currently do the 10k as they both agreed that it offers so much more to runners. I have marked this a 8 because I found that some obstacles very quite repetitive and a bit boring – one involved climbing over crowd barriers.

I love that Muscle Acre has something for everyone. Well done.

Rating: 8/10

The Bling:

The medal was great. This year was a new medal and they change their ribbon for each event but I found that they didn’t have distances on so even though I did 5k and Steven did 10k, we both got the same medal.

At the end of the race we got given a cold can of Fosters, a hot chocolate, a finisher’s photo and a goody bag which included a Cliff bar and some funky tablets. It was excellent value for money.
The only thing that let it down was not having the distances on the medals but I understand that this isn’t cost effective.

Rating: 9/10

Event Village and Atmosphere:

For a small race, they had a good event village. There were no merchandise stalls and nothing enticing but they had great MC’s and music. They also had metal drums fires so we could warm up and heated changing rooms. I will say on a small note that although they were advertised as heated, this consisted of one very small electric heater and plenty of the women I spoke to said they were really looking forward to a heated changing room but were left a bit disappointed.

There was a burger van and plenty of well stocked toilets on site and everything was really easy to get to. It soon became deserted once runners’ had finished which left the event village feeling a bit eerie but this is to do with the weather, not the race itself. I am sure that they would have more going on if it was warmer. Nobody likes hanging around in the cold.

All of the runners that I had spoken with, from 1st timers to pros’ said that the marshals’ were outstanding and I couldn’t agree more.

Rating: 8/10

PROS: 

Excellent value for money

Great atmosphere

FREE parking,

FREE bag drop

Awesome bling

Well built obstacles

Give participants discounts for future race

Obstacles cater for every fitness level and take into consideration different height/build of runners

CONS:

Minimal event village (understandable in these weather conditions)

Overall Opinion:

It’s taken me a few days to produce this review because i have really found it difficult. Whilst this ocr has scored highly in the categories, it’s just not one that i have felt excited about, it isn’t one that I have happily boasted about for 3 days after the event either ( like i usually do). This is not due to the race. Being totally honest with you all, it’s down to me. If i would have done the 10k then I am confident that I would have been shouting about it to anyone who would listen. The course, the team at Muscle Acre, the obstacles and everything else in between was fantastic. Overall this is a really good race. It’s one of the best value for money races and I’ve not come across a race that properly caters for such a vast amount of abilities, body shapes and sizes.

Overall rating: 9/10 

Published by Keren – Mudd Matters

*Pictures courtesy of The Muscle Acre and R and R Photography*

Nuclear Races Fallout 12/11/16

Nuclear races are one of the most talked about obstacle course race companies out there. No matter where we go, we can almost guarantee that at least one person we speak to will refer to Nuclear which is usually when they’re comparing that OCR’s slide to Nuclear’s famous ‘Death Slide’.

James Parrish is the brains behind Nuclear Races and the Parrish family have owned and farmed the land for three generations, acquiring the secret nuclear bunker in 1991. James was formerly an equal partner of Adventure Race Essex and has extensive experience in organising OCR’s.

Steven and I were both running this event (Fallout) this time. I was a newbie ‘Nuker’ and wanted a fresh perspective on the race considering that Steven is a seasoned ‘Nuker’. Foolishly, I signed up to the 12k – I say foolishly as this was my second OCR after having our daughter 3 months ago. For anyone reading this…don’t underestimate just HOW tough Nuclear races can be in mid November with mud like I’ve never experienced before.

THE REVIEW

Sign Up, Price & Info: 

Sign up is uber easy through active and prices start from around £60 (early bird) and can go up to over £100 with offers to purchase a Dryrobe along with your race. I paid £75 and honestly think it was worth every single penny. I’ve always viewed Nuclear’s prices as extortionate which was the main thing putting me off but after being nagged by my friend David (who absolutely loves them and happily travels from Lichfield to Brentwood for them) I thought i’d give it a go.

The website is really easy to navigate and full of useful information for participants including how to get prepared, kit etc.

Just a quick mention here about marshalling for Nuclear; Nuclear has a waiting list for marshals and is renowned for how well they treat them. You can get a dry robe or a free race in return for marshalling at one of their races.

I was due to marshal at ‘Rush’ in May but I had to be there very early in the morning and it was a 3+ hour drive I asked about camping there due to not wanting to drive 6 hours in my day and marshal while 6months pregnant and I was told that it was not an option so I withdrew from marshalling. A friend of mine who was also due to marshal asked about camping and was allowed to do so which left a very sour taste in my mouth and I felt discriminated against for being pregnant. Other than my own negative experience, I have not heard about anyone else who has had any issues or anything bad to say about marshalling for them.

Car Parking was FREE, bag drop was FREE, hot showers were also FREE and they had heated changing rooms!

Rating: 9/10

Terrain:

Depending on what time you got around the course depended on what type of terrain you got. Steven and I both went off in the same wave but he is obviously ALOT fitter than I am so he said that the terrain was good, twisty turning through woodlands, grass, fields. “Where they don’t have mud, they make mud”. Crossing fields became an obstacle as the mud sucked you in and was very sticky.

By the time I had made it around everywhere and everything was covered in mud. EVERYTHING! I don’t think I saw one blade of grass but that was due to the weather as it was raining and had been for quite some time. Taking away the ridiculous amount of mud everywhere then the terrain would have been really good. There were woodland sections, fields and hills. It has a good mix of everything and the water sections are great.

It is difficult to review the terrain as the weather had a massive impact on it which wasn’t Nuclear’s fault but I have to say that I have never known mud like it. It absolutely zapped all of my energy and while people were chanting “Love Mud” I was grunting “F**k Mud” under my breath. The sheer amount of mud made it near impossible to actually run sections of the course and most people walked it which was when the low temperatures became an issue.

Due to the cold temperatures and risk of hypothermia Nuclear had taken steps to prevent harm to participants so much of the water sections were removed. There was also a pitstop which consisted of a fire to huddle around, some warm squash and sweets. Perfect and I was really, really impressed (and thankful) for them making runner safety paramount.

Rating: 9/10

Obstacles: 

Packed FULL to the brim with a great mix obstacles both manmade and natural. The obstacles here are made for a range of abilities and are made to be fun and challenging. It is no wonder that Nuclear have won so many awards, especially the Mudstacle award for ‘Best Obstacles’. With a permanent location for races, it means that obstacles’ can be made to be very sturdy and you’d have no issue throwing everything you’ve got at them. They really are unlikely to break.

I genuinely lost count of the amount of ditches I got dragged out of and Ebenezzer was the almightiest of ditches: Thick, black sludge that you had to attempt to cross with the most ungodly smell to it.

Obstacles were technically demanding but really good fun and ensured you got a full body work out.
There were slack lines which were simply hilarious to watch and I had to have a little rest half way across when the photographer said “that’s the first picture I’ve taken of someone that looks like I’ve just photographed a dead body”. Luckily, I have a great sense of humour and have even decided to share the horrid picture of my lardy ‘dead body’ with you all.

A few obstacles to mention here are the Gorilla bars which total an enormous 119meters! Don’t let that put you off, not many complete them but if you do, you get a FREE dryrobe. If you complete the monkey bar then you don’t have to do what feels like never ending ditches that run alongside them.

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Nuclear’s Death Slide has won an award for ‘Best Individual Obstacle’ and is one of the most talked about obstacles in OCR. I absolutely love slides but I really struggled to get myself to do this one. It looked amazing and looking back I don’t really know what I was terrified of but I sat at the top of the slide for what felt like an eternity, getting annoyed with myself for holding up the line and being a scaredy cat but thanks to encouragement from the marshal, a random woman and her also petrified friend, we did it, together and had a high five, a hug and a warm cup of squash after.

20161128_141858.png

There were some obstacles that I simply didn’t even attempt which has never happened to me before but being short, I found that I couldn’t even reach some obstacles without someone holding me up like a daddy helping his daughter at the park and as they were absolutely covered in mud by that point I knew full well that I’d just slip off them and wasn’t willing to slip from that height when I knew I wouldn’t complete the obstacle anyway. One of these was the spinning monkey. I said to Steven (who found them too low as he is well over 6ft tall) I think that Nuclear could have made one side higher and one side lower to accommodate for all heights. We found this with Helix also.

There were a few obstacles that I found difficult because I am short. I found some of the obstacles that required me to climb to the top before coming back down, made me feel really uncomfortable and genuinely scared because the step up was too far for me to reach and I relied on someone else pulling me up on a very slippery surface. I think the obstacles would benefit from some sort of grip on them as I felt that I was really putting myself in danger because of this issue and the mix of mud making everything so slippery.
It’s so hard to critique Nuclear for their obstacles as they really are outstanding but constructive criticism is what helps races improve.

Rating: 9/10

The Bling:

The bling is awesome, so much detail and a great design. You must be looking at this picture thinking why the hell is there parts missing? Well, I am not ashamed to admit that this was my first ever DNF (Did not finish). I completed 10k of the 12k and was pulled off the course for chest pains and being SO cold that they struggled to get a reading using their machines or even find my pulse. The medics (who were great by the way) gave me a polite telling off for attempting a 12k in those conditions 3 months after giving birth. People have varying opinions on whether or not to take a medal if you didn’t fiish a race. My opinion is this; I was only 2k short so I earned that medal minus the 2k so I clipped my wings. That’s a reminder for me of how hard I tried, what I achieved and that next time I will get my wings.

I got given a T-shirt which ironically says “survivor”. Great quality though and I am told that finishers also got a FREE cup of tea and a ‘Trek’ bar which is just what you need after such a cold and tough race.
If you are stupid or brave enough to complete rush, blast/blackout and fallout within one season you earn bragging rights to “The boss medal of all medals” (as our son calls it). This is the almightiest of medals and is bigger than the palm of my hand.

Rating: 10/10

Event Village and Atmosphere:

The event village seemed a little small for such a huge race but suffers because of weather. I am told that at other nuclear races, the event village is bigger and better.

There was a good variety of food from duck wraps to burgers. One of our friends got a double burger with bacon and cheese for about £8.00. Toilets were clean and well managed and the Mc’s were full of energy and offered a good warm up.

The only thing I would have liked to have seen is for more things for people to do, entertainment activities or something to keep your mind off the horrid weather.

The upbeat atmosphere was felt across the course and whenever I questioned what the heck I was doing there and my body felt like giving up, there was a fellow runner or marshal there spurring me on shouting “Love Mud”.

Rating: 8/10

PROS: 

Outstanding obstacles

Great mix of terrain

Huge amount of fun and technically demanding obstacles

Great atmosphere

FREE parking,

FREE bag drop

FREE hot showers

Awesome bling

Runner safety is paramount

Give participants discounts codes for future races

CONS:

Some obstacles do not cater for different heights of participants

Overall Opinion:

Being honest, I had a bitter taste in my mouth after how I was treated by Nuclear in the past but overall they have great customer service so feelings aside; this race was fluffing brilliant!

It’s been hard to find any faults with it no matter which angle I tried. It is no wonder that Nuclear has won so many awards or that it seems to be the one that people often refer to.

Looking back, I should have opted for the 6k rather than 12k but even though it was my first ever DNF, this one will always hold a special place in my heart as it took me on my own personal journey.

Nuclear gives you everything you look for in an OCR and more, so at first the money may seem too much but trust me, it is totally justifiable and excellent value for money. I look forward to attending one of their future events to see if they can keep up the good work.

Overall rating: 9/10 

Published by Keren – Mudd Matters

*photos courtesy of nuclear races.

Nutritious and Delicious NRG bites

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We were given a box of mixed flavours to trial from company owner Matty Taylor and what we thought to these balls was exactly as the name suggests. The make up of the balls is a mixture of nuts, fruits and seeds, with a soft texture and tasting mostly of dates, each ball has it’s own individual side flavours which really stand out while eating them. My personal favourite being the ‘Cherry bite’ as this has some 70% cocoa mass in too. yum.

The flavours are:
Cherry and Dark Chocolate
Apple and Cinnamon
Hazelnut
Dark Chocolate and Ginger
Cranberry Pistachio & Fennel
Spiced Berry
Strawberry
Vanilla and Cashew

Prices are:
£1.45 per energy bite.
P&P is £3.90 for orders upto 10,
£4.50 for orders upto 20 and £6.30 for orders upto 40.

All of products are dairy, wheat and gluten free.
Calories per NRG Bite range from 130 to 150, carbs is an average of 12g, fat is an average of 8g, and protein is an average of 4g.

So all in all these balls are a good way of snacking and keeping those urges under control between meals without busting the bank, nor piling in excess calories or protein.

My overall rating of this product is 4/5 stars.

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Good going as a start up company Matty. Keep up the good work.

https://www.facebook.com/DeliciousandNutritiousNRGbars/

Rock Solid Race 29/10/16

Rock Solid Race was founded in 2013 and although it hasn’t been around for very long, its super duper professional and make it look like it comes naturally to them. I’d been looking forward to doing this race for a while but was totally unprepared for it. Originally I signed up for the 5k race and when race day came, I had some steam that I needed to vent so switched over to doing the 10k. Absolute madness considering that I’d had a baby 2 months ago and had ran just over 2 miles since boxing day last year. The race had 3 distances to choose from 5k, 10k or 15k which were based on colours. Blue, Red and Black and all ran parts of the same course until you hit the split points.

I’d heard that Rock Solid was brilliantly fun but a real challenge at the same time and it being my first one back into the OCR world as a runner, I was absolutely bricking it.

THE REVIEW

Sign Up, Price & Info: 

Their website is really user friendly and actually gave me some giggles as I read through the back story of how Rock Solid came about. The website also gave useful tips via their blog on how to conquer obstacles, nutrition and more along with simple instructions of how to get to the venue and even a course map.

The prices (for a 5k) start at £30 and up to £60 (for a 15/20k) but these are super early bird prices. Initially, I thought that’s pretty expensive but if its value for money that you want then it’s worth every penny. The 10k that I did had over 70 obstacles! That’s more than most 10k races have.

What did you get for your money?

Well, it’s important to note here that ALL your race photos were FREE!!! You got a cool tee, a jam packed, fun filled OCR, free hot soup, chia charge bar, water, FREE hot showers and of course…some bling!

Rating:  5/5

Terrain:

The majority of the terrain was flat grassy land but it did have some small wooded sections and a few water sections – with awesome obstacles – and a fun filled muddy dunk.

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There was only really one hill but they did really well utilising this by using a slalom log carry on it so it drained you.

There was a section towards the end where it was literally a switchback on a grassy area to make up distance it seemed and was boring as hell. Most runners beside me said it was a real dampener on the last stretch of the race.

Rating: 4.5/5

Obstacles: 

Where do I begin?

This is the most obstacle intensive course that I have ever run. There was a vast range of obstacles, some fun ones, some technical ones and a great variety of natural and manmade.

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There were walls and it was nice to see them spaced out around the course not one after the other. The water obstacles were pretty cool and a bit scary. They had a slide very similar to the ‘death slide’ at Nuclear and a 20ish ft drop off a shipping container into a lake. A deep lake at that as I didn’t even touch the bottom. I was petrified (I am not great with heights) but it turned out to be my favourite obstacle on this course.

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The log carry I mentioned earlier zapped the little energy I had left in my legs and my back side felt like rock but Lucille (my log – Forgive my walking dead reference) and I got through it together and I felt a little sad leaving her behind.

I also enjoyed the simpler ones that required some skill, especially once my entire body was shaking and in shock from this amount of hard (but fun) work. Towards the end there was a log over some a large and very smelly pond that you had to balance across. Sounds simple right? It wasn’t as I was shaking like a sh*tting dog but once my foot touched the ground on the other end, I was super proud of myself.

Rock solid also had a really fun muddy dunk which was a deep mud pit filled with mud (obviously) and rubber ducks and was a great photo opportunity.

I could go on forever about the obstacles at Rock Solid but I don’t want to spoil the fun for you but believe me when I say to you that you won’t be left wanting.

One thing that I really thought was good on this course was how the further the distance you attempted, the harder the obstacles became meaning newbies could get a taste of what it’s all about and the elite style runners can crack on without.

If you read this review and decide to go to a Rock Solid event, you won’t be disappointed at the obstacles, water/feed stations and the awesome marshalls.

Rating: 5/5

The Bling:

The medal is a heavy dog tag on a ribbon rather than a chain. It is pretty plain and simple, a little boring compared to others and it could benefit from having the year on but other than that, it’s hard to pick faults with it really.


At the end of the race each participant got a free cup of hot soup, a bottle of water and a chia charge bar.

I thought the soup was a really nice touch actually and think more events should do this. It was exactly what I needed and tasted delicious!

Rating: 4.5/5

Event Village and Atmosphere:

The event village had a really good buzz about it. It had a good selection of food stalls and we managed to get chips for about £2.00.

They had FREE hot showers… yes, you did read that right! I didn’t use them myself as there was a massive queue (as you can imagine) but the toilets and changing rooms were brilliant.

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At the finish, there was a MC who was pretty good, music playing and a few merchandise stalls, ORM were there too and medal engraving etc and plenty of places to sit and chill out with your friends and family. The only thing that I think could be improved here is something for the kids to do – other than the kids race.

Rating: 4.5/5

PROS: 

Excellent value for money

FREE race photos

FREE hot showers

A huge amount of obstacles

Great for all levels of fitness with distances/obstacles to suit

A mix of terrain types

Good events village

Well stocked and clean toilets

CONS:

Seems expensive

Some queuing for certain obstacles

Overall Opinion:

I really, really, really enjoyed this race. Perhaps I should have done the 5k rather than 10k as my first race back.(Just look how miserable I look here – I was happy inside really)

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I’d suggest anyone that is a newbie to OCR, do the 5k. Rock Solid have done exceptionally well on all levels. Great location, some of the most important and appealing things to races (Hot showers and photos) are FREE. Jam packed with a huge range of obstacles and although it might seem a little pricey at first, it is absolutely worth every single penny.

I look forward to going to this event again in the future but maybe for the 15/20k next time.

 

Overall rating: 4.5/5 

Published by Keren – Mudd Matters

The Whole Hog 16/10/16

The whole hog has been around for 10 years now so long before the OCR scene actually took off. The RD’s come from a background in ultra events and this was another avenue that they wanted to explore. The whole hog is set in a beautiful country estate named Wantisden Valley, with surprisingly good terrain for Suffolk. I’d never even heard of this event until Steven mentioned it to me and I figured it was a small local event and didn’t expect too much from it. I was also really surprised to hear that this was it’s 10th year and they haven’t hit the main stream OCR world yet.

THE REVIEW

Sign Up, Price & Info: 

There are two different distances available to runners;

BOSS HOG – 7 miles of gruelling terrain scattered with 30+ obstacles. Suitable for experienced racers.

WHOLE HOG – a shorter course of 4 -5 miles with 20 + obstacles. Suitable for a first time/novice racer.

Prices start from just £30 for an early bird whole hog and up to £50 for a late booking boss hog.

The website is easy to navigate, gives clear directions to the race and helpful information for runners. Also, parking is FREE. That’s right, free.

This is a timed event however there were some issues with this and seemed more work than it was worth. This was a manual timing system whereby runners would have to then go over to the marshal and give them their running number and then they would stop your time. This was not very accurate and allowed for mistakes. Previously, a timing chip system was used by way of a dongle that the runner then inserted into box but again, this was down to the runner to remember to do this.

Rating:  4.5/5

Terrain:

Good use of the natural landscape including grassy fields, deep sandy lanes, thick woodland, mud and a river.

There were quite a few runners that said they felt that there was too much running in the course but that the setting was beautiful and had a great variety so you didn’t get bored. It was a good way to ensure that it challenged runners as they had to adjust to each different type of terrain. Suffolk is renowned for its flat landscape and the whole hog really has done well with what is available to them.

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Rating: 5/5

Obstacles: 

Obstacles were mainly rough and rugged, natural ones with a handful of truly man-made ones. There wasn’t anything very technical like a rope climb or monkey bars but plenty of river crossings, thick bogs that you had to wade through and other ones to mimic the habitat of a hog.

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Okay, so it sounds like there wasn’t a lot here to do but I think that they are trying to stay true to the name and don’t want flash or intimidating obstacles. These obstacles are supposed to challenge you but still be achievable by any person who enters, whether they be super fit or just a beginner.

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Some of the wooden walk ways in the lake section are a bit precarious when wet and felt ready to give way so perhaps strengthen them in some way would be an idea?

The RD’s have been made aware that runners want more technical obstacles and have said that they plan to implement this at future events.

Rating: 3.5/5

The Bling:

A good version of their logo and a well made medal but it stays the same year in year out. The only thing that had changed was the ribbon. Last year it had the distance and year but this year has been switched for a more generic, non specific ribbon – probably to save on costs.

It lets it down slightly as the medal look a little unfinished to me. I’ve never seen a white hog before?! On a personal note, I don’t really like cartoon style images on a medal – fine for kid’s races but I want to feel like a badass with my bling on and this just feels a little bit juvenile to me.
Rating: 3/5

Event Village and Atmosphere:

There really was not much, two burger vans and some toilets alongside the finish line and warm up area. This led to a pretty mediocre atmosphere but it did improve when the teams’ event started.

I bought a bacon roll for £3.00 which was actually really disappointing as it was literally just a budget style bun with two small rashers of bacon on and wasn’t even that nice. There were a few runners that had mentioned how they were a bit disappointed that you only had a choice of a burger or a roll really – and no vegetarian options. More variety was needed.

We know that the whole hog are not trying to be a huge event with all the frills but the events village really could be improved by adding some stalls and maybe something for the families that were spectating?

There were two points on the course that spectators could watch but this created a lot of overcrowding and many people, who walked a fairly long walk, didn’t get there in time to see their loved ones running.

Rating: 1.5/5

PROS: 

Good use of terrain available

Good marshals

Good signage/clear route

CONS:

Universal medal

Not many manmade obstacles

Too much running and not enough obstacles

Spectators limited to two viewing areas

Bad timing system

Overall Opinion:

The set up and approach for this event is good and tickets were sold out so i think that reflects how enjoyable it is. However if they want to increase their numbers and appeal to a wider audience then simple changes need to be implemented such as a better events village, more technical obstacles and a decent timing system. For the price, I think that its great value for money and would like to go again next year to see how they have improved.

Overall rating: 3.5/5 

Published by Keren – Mudd Matters

Bear Grylls Survival Race 9/10/16

Bear Grylls has had some pretty bad reviews from people in the past. I’ve not really heard of many people willing paying money to go to one of their events and haven’t ever spoken to someone who has done on and went back for more, so I was pretty anxious about attending this event.

I’m going to start by saying that although most people dislike that these races don’t have very much mud at all, it is not now, nor has it ever been, a mud run. It is a survival race. What does that even mean? Here’s what the website says;

“Experience survival scenarios like those that Bear Grylls is exposed to in his many adventures across the planet. As you make your way through our Survival Zones you will encounter scenarios found in some of the world’s toughest terrains and surroundings, where you will truly experience what survival is like in the Jungle, Desert, Mountains, and Arctic. We promise you will be tired at the Finish Line, but you will leave with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment for what you have achieved.”

I think you’ll agree that it still sounds appealing though right?

They do 5k, 10k, 30k and a season pass but are they worth signing up for? Well, let’s find out.

THE REVIEW

Sign Up, Price & Info: 

The website is easy to navigate and it’s as simple as clicking your chosen location (we went to Trent Park, London) and the distance (we chose 30k – because Steven thinks he’s a badass). Individual ticket prices start from £55 for a 5k and up to £100 on the day for 30k.

Most people will agree that this seems expensive and considering that you then need to pay extra for parking, bag drop and if you have any supporters ( over 12 years old) they will need to buy a ticket to enter the ‘festival’. (This is basically the event village).

Online the tickets prices vary but as an example if I were to now buy a ticket for myself to run the 10k (as an average distance) in London at £60, I’d have to purchase parking at £5, a spectators pass for Steven at £20 and then a kids race for Malakai would be £15 so that’s £100 before we have even stepped foot on the course. A little too much in my opinion when I usually pay around £40 for a race of this distance and it’s the 1st event I’ve ever been too where you have to pay to spectate!

Quick side note – the parking was actually unmanned when we arrived but was a 15 minute (hilly) walk away from the race which isn’t ideal when you’ve finished, you’re shattered and want to get changed.

Rating:  2.5/5

Terrain:

The terrain was pretty good overall. Lots of running over naturally hilly land, wooded areas and flat stretches. The thing that I really did like was how they had sections to mimic the different types of terrain that you might encounter in a survival situation. They had desert, jungle and arctic sections which were a great idea but I think could be expanded on further. The desert section obviously involved sand, with a barbed wire crawl and a shipping container. The jungle section was a rig with rings and a tube slide and the arctic was all about balancing on tilted blocks whilst in cold temperatures. I think they’d benefit from being a bit more creative with this part, perhaps making these sections a bit more…realistic?

There wasn’t actually much water (if any) on the course so mud was a no, no. As I said earlier this is NOT a mud run. I think that BG has wrongfully received bad press in the past for this which isn’t fair as they’ve never made out to be muddy. This is a survival race, so if it’s mud and water slides that you’re looking for then this isn’t for you. However, if you want to step out of your comfort zone and try a different kind of challenge then this could be just what you’re after.
Rating: 4/5

Obstacles: 

You can tell that there has been a lot of money invested in the obstacles as they really are made exceptionally well. The rig was pretty impressive but my absolute favorite was aptly named, ‘The Mountain’. This was an epic climb over wooden slats to a platform at the top of this staggering structure and then a drop down through what I can only describe as a sock which was absolutely terrifying but flipping brilliant.

There were plenty of obstacles that were military themed like the burgeon carry, Jerry can carries and shooting tasks. There was also a grueling sandbag drag which saw a few people on their knees. There were a great range of obstacles throughout the course but some became your nemesis as the 30k race was 3 laps of the same course.

The elite wave had to run part of the course whilst wearing a ‘Phantom training mask’ which actually restricted their breathing which itself, was an obstacle.

(We will be doing a review of these masks at a later date)
There were some pretty innovative obstacles like the test tube carry which was basically a long plastic tube filled with water which you then had to carry along. As you can imagine, that’s pretty hard when the water is sloshing about. One point where they could have improved here were little things like the Atlas stone carry was only to be carried one way and then a marshal would reset the stone ready for the next participant. Great for the runners but I bet the marshals went home exhausted – with arms like the hulk.

We got feedback from a few runners that had said there were not enough water stations out on the course and some on the 30k said that they were told there would be feed stations but didn’t see one. This seemed to only be an issue for those running the 30k who were faster runners. Food was put out but only at a later time.

When we received our email we were told to come prepared and on the day, during the warm up, we were given an observation number and told to remember it. At no point was this number used or asked for which was quite confusing. I don’t know if they were doing this to try and keep your mind sharp or what that was all about but all it seemed to do was have people guessing.

One thing BG races are known for are their ‘survival tasks’. I really thought this let them down though. On this particular race we were told to eat some meal worms –easy – and to light a fire. Well, being Bear Grylls and being a survival race I expected to be making this with my bear hands (see what I did there) but it was as simple as lighting some cotton wool with one of the BG survival tools (that they conveniently had for sale) which lights most things once it is stuck. Participants agreed that these tasks needed to be harder like at previous races where the fire you made had to burn through string before you could continue.

Another thing that wasn’t great was the thickness of the rope for the rope climb. It was so thick that it was near impossible to do a foot lock and actually climb the rope.

Rating: 4/5

The Bling:

I have to give it to them, the bling is pretty awesome, a huge and heavy medal to brag about. Well made and it puts most other medals to shame. The only let down is that it doesn’t have the date or year. Not only did you get an impressive medal but there was also a tee, some delicious snacks a magazine and that lovely fire lighting tool I spoke about earlier. As far as bling and goody bags go, this one was one of the best.

Rating: 4.5/5

Event Village and Atmosphere:

This part I paid particular attention to considering the cost to enter the area.

First impressions were okay but not really worth the money. Yes, there were quite a few stalls and it seemed to have a lot going on but lots of the same old stuff so what had I paid £20 for exactly?

Okay so, there were a great range of food stalls and a bar, that were on par with what you’d expect to pay at an event like this. I paid £2.00 for a bottle of coke and £3.00 for a coffee. There were a few merchandise stalls there with a good range of items for sale and it was nice to see that there wasn’t a conflict of interest you can quite often get.

Kids rides would set you back about £5.00 a go but consisted of inflatable boat rides, water zorbing, falconry, surf board tasters and my personal favourite, learning how to make a fire – which was FREE!

Adults could try out the segways and there were lots of free tasters from some of the companies there such as Arla and Mazmik. The music was good, as was the MC and the toilets were kept very clean and well stocked. There was also a really good singer on a stage down by the food stalls and that had a really good atmosphere.
All in all, the event village was pretty good actually but would I pay £20 to go again? No. I still had to pay for rides, I had to purchase any food or drink I wanted and I only actually got to see 3 small sections of the course so what did i actually pay for? I think £20 is too much, although they did let spectators go on ‘The Mountain’, awesome for spectators but maybe a bit of a safety issue being shoulder to shoulder with runners.

Rating: 4/5

PROS: 

Varied terrain

Innovative obstacles – test tube carry

Different themed sections

Good events village

Well stocked and clean toilets

Something a bit different to try

CONS:

Expensive

Car parking was much too far away

Survival tasks were poor and unimaginative

Overall Opinion:

Overall, I liked this race. It was nice to find something that was a real challenge but was different to most races involving obstacles. There are a few things that could benefit from some more thought going into them but are not poor as they currently are. I think that the cost quickly adds up which I have been told puts off many racers. Maybe keep the race and car parking cost the same but stop charging for spectators? So, would I go again? Yes. Maybe not for the 30k but this really is an enjoyable race to attend.

Overall rating: 4/5 

Published by Keren – Mudd Matters

Iron Run 06/08/2016

Nestled in the beautiful surroundings of Cranford Hall, Kettering, I was instantly pleased at the location of this family run OCR. It’s not one that I’d been to before or one that I really thought much about doing. It certainly wasn’t on my ‘to do’ list but it definitely is now!

Iron Run has been going for around 5 years now and is run by the lovely Lewis family. Pete, the head of the family and Iron Run’s Race Director has a totally family orientated approach to OCR ensuring that there is something there for everyone. He told us that everything is set up to be achievable and fun for all and it was clear to see the effort that had been put into the Iron Run by each member of the team from Pete, to the photographers and marshals.

THE REVIEW

Sign Up, Price & Info: 

Sign up was nice and easy through their website and is really reasonably priced starting with early bird prices for a 12k at just £38.00. The kid’s race is 3k and is only £15.00. The website is one of the best I’ve seen for a while. It’s clear, loaded with all of the details that you might need or want but is easily navigated. They do say that no changes are allowed within 2 weeks of the race. No tickets are refundable or exchangeable either but could be deferred at their discretion. If for whatever reason you might need to contact them about anything, we found them to be very accommodating and approachable.

Rating:  4.5/5

Terrain:

To begin with, although the surroundings were pretty I thought it seemed very flat and grassy but boy was I wrong! Firstly we went out on the kids 3k which had a great variety of terrain and it was refreshing to see something other than laps of a 1k circuit on one type of terrain.

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The adults’ race (6k and 12k) also had a great amount of variety. I was astonished at how much variety of terrain was included in this course. There were grassy fields, hills – my word those hills! rocky cliffs, water, mud, the lot. I really couldn’t fault the terrain at all.

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Rating: 5/5

Obstacles: 

I loved that Iron Run really did make great use of all of the natural obstacles around the course. There were slalom of hills set in a deep valley, muddy crawls through tunnels and down streams and the man made obstacles didn’t disappoint either.

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There was even a monster in a swamp which received mixed reviews as some kids (and adults) were petrified of this creature that looked like Doc from Back to the future had an accident and came back as a zombie with a mask on. Some runners loved it and Malakai even high fived the guy as he thought he was awesome.

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I loved that they had a slide for kids and a slide for adults. The adults slide was a whopping 150ft long into a deep pool of water.

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*Kids Slide Above. Adults Slide Below.

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There were the usual A Frames, walls etc but this particular run had some interesting obstacles like some muddy dips at the top of the cliffs, dark crawl through tunnels and rather than just running down the hills, they made it into large muddy steps which became an obstacle in itself.

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Very well thought out but I did hear a very few amount of people say that they felt the obstacles were not very well made. The last obstacle being one of them and the monkey bars.

The last obstacle was a quarter pipe and although it looked impressive and was achievable by both kids and adults, it was made from a plastic that plenty of people found MUCH too slippery and some injuries occurred, which you’d expect from any OCR.

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The monkey bars were set too far apart for many people to achieve which was frustrating for them as I saw them trying again, and again.

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Rating: 4/5

The Bling:

I absolutely loved their kids’ race medal and Malakai (our son) said that it’s actually his favourite out of all the ones he has now (which is more than I have!). It is well made and looks pretty slick in glossy black.

The adults’ medal is silver with a red ribbon. It isn’t as nice as the kids’ once but again, is well made and the ribbon has the year on – no distance though.


Iron Run do Bronze, Silver and Gold medals dependant on which event through the year you are taking part in, which we think is a great idea so really the only thing lacking was a distance.

Adults get a tee but unfortunately the kids didn’t.

Rating: 4/5

Event Village and Atmosphere:

Parking was only a short walk away and a reasonable £3.00. There were showers and toilets which were well kept and checked regularly. The event village had a fabulous atmosphere with family friendly music, a kids section with inflatable’s such as bouncy castles and slide which were reasonably priced at just £7.00 for unlimited use.

There was a good mix of drink and food options with a really cute caravan that served just alcohol and it was nice to see everyone sat in the sunshine enjoying some good food and their achievements.

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Excellent and well marked out medic tent and a sports massage for a small donation to charity.

I hope that as the event grows we will see larger companies such as Scimitar, selling items too.

Rating: 4/5

PROS: 

Excellent, varied terrain

Innovative obstacles

Well marshalled

Super friendly and helpful staff

Good events village with close parking

Great for all abilities including kids and adults

CONS:

Would be nice to have a goody bag or for kids to also get a t-shirt

Some obstacles could have been a little better built – walls seemed a bit thin

Overall Opinion:

This was a very well executed family run, family orientated OCR. Great value for money and has an awful lot to offer everyone, from newcomers to experts, from children to adults. It offers a huge amount of bang for your buck and the team that make up Iron Run are pretty awesome too. Only a few little snagging points but overall, we were pretty impressed and have added this to the ‘Must do’ List.

Overall rating: 4.5/5 

Published by Keren – Mudd Matters

Scorpion Run 17/07/2016

The Scorpion Run is fairly new to the OCR world and promotes itself as a very raw, no frills assault course race. I’m always attracted to things that have an edge or make a point to be different to the rest so naturally, this intrigued me and I needed to go see what it was all about.

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THE REVIEW

Sign Up, Price & Info: 

When we arrived at the venue, just outside Penkridge, it was clearly marked with a banner and we turned in and drove down a dirt track. I was a bit concerned that there seemed to be a few cars already leaving which seemed odd as we’d turned up early. It turned out that it’s because there was no parking available at the venue itself and we were then directed back out and across a main road, into a field where we had to pay £5.00 to park and then walk 5-10 minutes to the place.

I don’t understand why they didn’t put any signs up beforehand as it really didn’t give a good first impression and isn’t ideal when you know that after your race it’s a long walk back to get your stuff, if you don’t like to leave your belongings in a bag drop.

The race offers outstanding value for money at just £29.00. That’s for ANY distance you choose to do 10k, 15k or even 20k like some nutters did. I really can’t fault the price of this race considering that you get the race, a medal, a tee and a beer. They even give the 1st man and woman for each race a pretty cool trophy. You can sign up via active so it’s quick and easy and Rick (The Race Director) is pretty easy going and likes to get stuck in which shows commitment.

Registration was simple and well organised. I liked the fact that there was an army camp feel to the event village area and everything you needed was easily reached within a few minutes.

The race started about 20 minutes late but I enjoyed Rick’s pre-race “this is who we are and what you should expect” speech followed by a nice warm up and away you go!

Rating:  4/5

Terrain: 

This event was spread over a vast landscape which included a paint balling arena, farmland, woodland and road. There was some water sections included too but I’d say the majority of the terrain was flat and grassy. There we not many hills and although the terrain was much the same, it was well disguised by the use of obstacles and had a really fun feel to the experience.

Rating: 3/5

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Obstacles:

When I read through the very in depth disclaimer and looked at the map I was surprised to read about the part where you got shot at. Initially this concerned me and I heard some people say that they felt it was ridiculous and unnecessary. I have to say once I had a look and saw the set up of that section I was instantly jealous. Each runner was given a face mask and then had to run through a section with tyres and some hiding places whilst being shot at by two men in army gear. They were only plastic bb pellets but they really did pack a punch. One guy in particular was really unfortunate and had his watch taken out by one of the shooters. A costly race for him but most people said how fun that particular section actually was. (Children taking part were not allowed to participate in this section).

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One part that wasn’t great was in the wooded area with a tyre carry. Runners were told to keep between the orange rope and they shouldn’t get lost…they did. Now, to be honest this was due to some runners not really paying attention to where they were going but also, it really could have been marked out much clearer for them. When we had a walk around, we managed to get a bit confused and there really wasn’t anyone marshalling this area. We ended up helping out by directing people through which is when I saw an obstacle that was ‘broken’. (This depends on how you look at it). There was a wall to climb over and through the top section; the problem was that when climbing through the top, the planks of wood above you dislodged…Negligent? Broken? Or’ raw’?

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Most runners that I’d spoken with said they found this section quite boring and too long.

There was also a small section on flat grass where smaller boot camp style obstacles were set up. Medicine balls, tyre flips, tyre crawls and monkey bars. No lavish obstacles but they really zapped energy.

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The water sections were nothing special and the slide needed work (and deeper water so I was told).

I know the obstacles might not sound very impressive but they don’t aim to be. They are raw and they are the ones that leave your body feeing like it’s really been through it. Personally, I liked them.

Rating: 3/5

The Bling:

The medal looked pretty cool and well made but nothing special. I liked that it had its own shape not just the usual rounded or shield shaped medal. It was simple yet striking. What really let it down was the ribbon. It didn’t matter what distance you completed, every single medal was the same. We spoke to Rick about this because some runners that we had spoken to stated that if they’ve done 20k VS someone who’d done 10k and got the same medal, they’d be unhappy about it and some were.

Rick’s response was that it’s an added cost and they’d have to pull money from somewhere to be able to do that. Okay, fair enough but why not stop giving free beer at the end but instead, invest that money on a ribbon that states the runners’ achievement? I get that £29.00 is outstanding value for money and on one hand I think well, what else could you ask for, for that money but like I said… pull money from one thing and use it for another.

The tee shirt was as striking as they medal in a bright red and I was envious. It’s one I’d like to add to my collection that’s for sure.

Rating: 3/5

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Event Village and Atmosphere:

As previously mentioned, the event village was good. It was small but so was the event. There was a lovely Mudd Queen (Lucy) offering her amazing massages, Keri-Ann of OCR Bears (watch out for our review of these very soon!) two food stalls – which amazed me at how cheap they were. We grabbed a delicious hot dog, chips and water for less than £5.00! Bottles of ice cold water were only £1 and the guys were lovely. There was also a bag drop and a nice undercover seating area.

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There were just two toilets, which were awful. One was bent and subsequently, didn’t lock properly and the other was literally filling up with s**t. There were two adorable dogs running around which the kids loved but you needed to watch out for the doggy poop.

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There was a great atmosphere here and whilst the event village could use some improvements, it was – as Rick said – “no frills” but had what you needed (apart from the car park being so far away)

Rating: 3.5/5

PROS: 

Outstanding value for money

Fun filled with an edge

Does exactly what it says on the tin

Made to challenge runners but is made to be achieved by all

Very reasonable prices for food or drinks (makes a change from the usual rip off prices at other events)

CONS:

Car parking was so far away

Needed some more marshals and better course markings

Avoidance of any responsibility regarding negligence on their part

Overall Opinion:

I liked Scorpion Run’s honesty and their edge throughout, although I wasn’t too impressed by the total of avoidance of any real responsibility and/or negligence within their disclaimer.

I studied law myself years ago and although I am no expert, there are sections that I didn’t agree with and am not so sure is actually worth the paper it’s printed on. For example; requiring participants to sign to accept responsibility and to “eliminate your ability to bring future legal actions” for things such as 1) inadequate first aid and/or emergency measures and 2) errors in judgement by personnel working the event. I know most people don’t really read their waivers but I insist on it. There was also a section that states that you give permission for ANY photos regardless of who has taken them e.g. your partner puts a picture of you running on their Facebook, it automatically “become the sole property of scorpion run”.

That’s really the only negative i have to say about the scorpion run. It was refreshing to see an RD with a different angle, an event that wasn’t trying to be anything else other than what they wanted to be. No fancy obstacles, no huge event village and not all singing, all dancing.

It was raw and hardcore but fun. I expect that this event will grow substantially within the near future but I hope that they don’t change too much and they keep their uniqueness. This is definitely one that I would recommend to runners and I would like to visit myself again, in the future.

Overall rating: 3/5 

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Published by Keren – Mudd Matters