The Major Series North
The Major Series are obstacle races [yes, this is a report about another obstacle race]. They are designed by the British armed forces personnel for British Military Fitness. The suggestion to enter the Major’s northern event had been made by the happy people at Motiv8 North and, not needing that much persuasion or encouragement these days, I readily entered the 10km run.
This run was held in the stately grounds of Bramham park on the 29th September 2013. There were several starting waves, and we had opted to enter wave 2, which started at 0945. This would be the furthest obstacle run I’d attempted to date, so I did briefly have some nervousness, but managed to set this aside by deciding to just enjoy the experience and attack the course.
When I arrived, the sun was shining, and there was plenty of activity going on. At the appointed time, those of us in wave 2 moved to the starting area and we were taken through a bit of a warm-up prior to starting the run. This basically involved running around in a circle and occasionally squatting or laying on the floor as we ran in a circle. I’d agreed to wear a top for this run due to having difficulty deciding what to do with my race number. I’d discussed the options with a work colleague, and one of the suggestions we considered was to attach it to both nipples and a cod piece with a chain. The other option was to write it on my body. The top appeared to be the easiest option and one that would not unduly affect my performance or time.
The run had pretty much everything you’d want to experience really:
- Wading through waist-high water
- Ducking under floats in the water
- Crawling through water under low barbed wire
- Crawling through mud under camo nets
- Crawling through tunnels
- Zig-zagging up and down more steep hills
- Climb and jumping over walls
- A 30m mud trench
- Climbing over a series of vaults
- Electric wires over which to climb
- Marshals firing cold water at the runners
At one point, I stopped paying attention [something I unfortunately do too much], and followed some other runners down a long but refreshing hill. When we reached the bottom, we realised that we had gone the wrong way and so had to double back. We initially thought that there were no signs to indicate the correct direction, but once we’d made it back up that long hill, which was not so refreshing by this point, we noticed that there was an arrow indicating the correct direction in which to run, and we had all stopped paying attention. As a result, we all probably ran at least an extra 800m, and the hill took a bit of a toll; I had also lost time and had to catch up to all the people I’d recently passed. However, on these types of runs, there really isn’t much time to feel annoyed or sorry for yourself, because you have plenty of other things on which to focus your energy. Despite this error, I managed to finish with a big push but, unfortunately, the photographer at the finish line must have been on one of his mandatory breaks the result of health and safety, because I didn’t get photographed crossing the line with a glorious finish. For those who have noticed or commented on some of the cuts and marks on my lower legs, I am happy to report that this run provided me with a few new additions.
Overall, the event was nicely organised and good fun, with a great mix of running and physical challenges, meaning that it wasn’t just the legs feel the burn. Also, there were lots of people there cheering and being supportive, which added to the atmosphere and fun. The only downside to some of these runs is that there can be bottlenecks at certain obstacles. This is less likely if you are brave and fit enough to enter an earlier and more competitive wave, but it can impact your time. Another benefit of these types of runs is the camaraderie and friendly banter amongst the participants, which helps when there is a bottleneck or someone is struggling with an obstacle. This is something that I’m not sure is often apparent in regular runs. There were many different types of people doing this run, and so it is definitely one I would do again and recommend to others. There is a 5km option in case people don’t care for the 10km option!