It’s safe to say that we’re pretty short of any Obstacle course races or mud runs up North, the scene is pretty different and it's not quite caught on in the same same way *yet*. So, when there’s a chance to do one not only in my hometown, but a stones throw from my front door, you can bet I’ll be there!
I’d taken part in Rough Runner once before, and this time decided to take on the 5km, for two reasons: I’ve recently had a baby and knew I wouldn’t be able to do more than 5km, and also, in my current state, I’m interested in the “in it for fun” scene.
Firstly, the set up is great. I was quite concerned as only signing up on the week of the race I didn’t have a wave time, but I was instructed to turn up before 11am and I would be given one. The super helpful lady on registration directed me to the start pen and said if there’s less than 70 people in the next wave, you can jump on in. With waves every ten minutes, we were guaranteed to not be waiting long.
Bag drop was free and easy, and dropping and picking up took less time than any I’ve used at other races.
We were given a race briefing via a rather formal sit down screen presentation, however, with lots of jokes, whilst giving tons of information, it kept the crowd entertained and geared them up for their race. This was followed by a thorough but fun warm up, and we were off.
The course is clearly marked with different coloured flags for the 5, 10 & 15km distances, and with the marshals still paying attention even at midday, directing us in the right way when our course would cut parts of the longer route off.
Rough Runner promises Gameshow style fun, and it doesn’t disappoint, on the shorter course we did miss out some obstacles I would’ve liked to play on, such as “hang tough” rings, but there were plenty of testing obstacles, and plenty of very fun obstacles. I would say they got the balance just right, I felt tested at times, and other times I just laughed. I particularly enjoyed one obstacles where you had to dead hang on a bar as it travelled over water, I did this in a pair and expected a big splash.
The main spectacle comes at the end, in the form of the “travelator”, a backwards moving ramp which you attempt to run up, with 4 speeds so everyone can make it, you get one try at each before moving on. With a spectator area set up, as well as an MC on top, it becomes something of a crowd participation obstacle, but all done in good humour.
The course took a route around fields and some trail, it’s tough to find many hills in this area, but they made use of the few that we do have for this such as a slip ’n’ slide. I understand on the longer routes they also made use of the river, and more of the woodland.
we came across a man who had slipped on the mud whilst wearing road running shoes, and had hurt his arm, the marshals were quick to respond when alerted, and knew the procedure well.
All in all, Rough Runner is a slick operation, with bags of fun promised.The 5km is perfect for the first timer, the charity groups, gym groups, the work get togethers, hen/stag do’s, the ones in it just for a laugh. I think they hit just the right note, for a non chip timed fun event. Enough to challenge you, but also to let you have fun and go home feeling satisfied, but not broken. I hope to see them back again next year!