Symbiotic relationships are a special type of interaction between species. Sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful, these relationships are essential to many organisms and ecosystems, and they provide a balance that can only be achieved by working together.
Bias Alert! Bias Alert! Bias Alert!
I need to declare a vested interest to you lovely reader of this blog, I, Darren Hogwood am an unashamed Judgement Day fan. I have the trident tattooed on my person and have twice willingly and enthusiastically attempted to complete their darker sibling of OCR races, The Unknown.
So. This will not be an objective race review because:
I have grown to consider myself JD family.
This was the last individual race the brand will be putting on so why feedback on the experience, what are they or indeed you going to do with the critique?
Whilst on the subject of last ever race, I find myself choosing my words carefully. Unlike Rock Solid or Dirty Dozen, the brand will continue to put on events, in the shape of The Unknown and the wonderful wind down to the year that is the Team Event. In summary this was the last OCR as we have come to know them: A timed, individual race, often in relation to a league or with championship places at stake
I had already purchased the £99 early bird for the 6k, 12k and 18k including camping long before the announcement and had spent time since the announcement conspiring and colluding with others who felt the same to try to create a celebratory party atmosphere for ourselves and all those associated with Judgement Day. Symbiotic. Sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful
Upon arrival on Saturday morning all the usual JD USPs (Unique selling Point) were on show. Relentless MC, The DJ truck, the usual collective of rogues what run and, of course, the lovely Reg girls having a spot of breakfast Chardonnay.
12K - JD hate laps. I know this for a fact but they have realised that loops work well and so the 12k was the 6k Loop returning to do the rope and then head off in the other direction to do a further 6k loop. All the usual staples were on show obstacle wise, monkey bars, rings, low, mid and high walls, inverted walls and carries. There wasn’t a technical rig, rope traverse or new JD obstacle as there might have been in the past, instead Dean had put thought into making best use of the terrain at Pippingford.Park. No one knows or utilises that site better than this man. Anyone planning an event there should be giving him a call.
At this stage let me get one of two minor negative observations out of the way and this one is aimed at you, yes, you my fellow OCR competitors.
Heats are important. Staggering the field so that the risk of queues and injury earlier on are minimised and controlling the number of people at key points on the course that need technical marshalling, lake crossings for example. I was down to start in the 09:30 heat but I didn’t. Why? Well because EVERYONE who was on site at 09:30 started at that time leaving the heat massively over-subscribed.
One could argue that the race organisers should employ a system to ensure that it does not happen but that takes money away from other areas they would like to focus on like event village and course. JD trusted us as a community and we let ourselves down. I had chosen this distance to run with my wife and a newbie and also carry a tyre with Paul Hester so the upshot is I didn’t make the start of the fun lap which is a real shame for me personally. Symbiotic Sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful
6K – As I came down the hill to the finish of the 6k what a sight greeted me. As sea of yellow, with inflatables, the odd fancy dress outfit and a cacophony of noise! I cast aside my tyre and utilised a very aggressive cornering technique to cut 1km of off the course and get in amongst it with the Mudstacle wave. Now normally this would be my happy place but on this day I set about racing over, under and past my mudstacle and Unknown friends. Why? Well I had a date with the staff of JD many of whom were doing their first ever OCR. Once I caught them and handing out some spankings for leaving without me we had a great time and it reminded me that, as much as I like to compete occasionally I am, at heart a completer. For me the R in OCR stands for running not racing.
Negative Observation number 2 -All three event distances ran out of medals. JD have promised that all those who did not receive a medal for their distance will be sent one at their expense and I am one of those who will get their medal belatedly, as JD family I have no problemswith that but I know some were massively disappointed. I did ask the organisers for their thoughts and was told that for the 12k it was because they had had a lot of late interest, they were prepared for the eventuality and were selecting people they knew to arrange to forward the medal.
The 6k was a different matter. In order to facilitate the fun lap they let people run that had not necessarily paid for the race. This has happened before at other events as a fun lap sort of takes on a life of its own. But the unforeseen knock on was that people not only enjoyed completing a distance they had not paid for, they took a medal they hadn’t paid for too. Symbiotic Sometimes beneficial, sometimes harmful
Post Race celebrations
Beers. Wine. Honey Rum (Ian Banks is a bad man) stories, games, more games, fantastic compering. Singing. Fire, Dancing, more games. Repeat. I am on a dry July so was able to observe it all including several JD organisers and customers getting teary eyed and just drinking in the atmosphere. – A fitting and righteous end. Symbiotic they provide a balance that can only be achieved by working together.
18k – Now I am afraid dear reader that I cannot be the one to tell you about this distance. It started off well enough with a few sore heads and careful runners and then I found my Unknown Brothers and Sisters and we ran in a group with an emphasis on solidarity and style points, shits and indeed giggles but not outright speed. Marvellous.
But I have a few big ticket items in my calendar this year so when a twinge in my bicep spread to my tricep and then forearm it pointed to something that I was not going to ‘run off’ so I did the right thing for me and departed the course at 7km to visit the physio tent.
I then packed up and chilled out, observing and cheering runners through the finish, enjoying the Sun and eking out my last hours on a Judgement Day OCR course, remembering the wow factor of the first event at Copehill Down (No chip timing there if I remember rightly)
To quote Paul Weller: And as it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end.