Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Total Warrior UK- Lake District 01/08/2015

I have always wanted to do an adventure race, and with total warrior being out of the rugby season it gave me the perfect opportunity to experience one.

Looking back on the event, all I can say is it was brilliant. If someone asked me to run it again tomorrow I would!

Having been back from my holiday for just two weeks I didn't have chance to train specifically for the event, something which I would do if I were to run it again!

Getting there

Day of the race I made the journey up to Shap in the Lake District, which was relatively pain free and very easy to find. I parked on the course at a cost of £5 which I felt was reasonable. Some people had parked in the village and walked, but I don't think they realised the walk would be so far!
Registration

This was very well run. Most races I have been to send you your number in the post and this was the first event I had had to pick the number up and register on the day. I was sceptical at first, worried that it would take a long time to register, I made sure I arrived a good hour before my start time. This time frame was probably about right. I queued up alphabetically to receive my race pack and followed the crowd into the next tent along (this was signposted, however, with the sheer amount of people they blocked the sign, it would have been better to have overhead sign posts).

Race Prep

The next tent along was primarily to help you attach your timing chip, headband, number, and temporary tattoo. They also wrote your number clearly on your headband and also on your arm if you wanted. This was to ensure that the photography company could collate all pictures of each participant together, making it easier for you if you wanted to purchase them. They were extremely helpful in this tent (and extremely busy). I also have to say a big thank you to the young girl who must have been no older than 9 or 10 who helped me put my Total Warrior temporary tattoo on (and gave me another when it didn't work properly. She was very well mannered and this was typical of the rest of the volunteers. One of my only gripes was the start. The course organisers could have called people up to the start line with the simple use of a tannoy system. I had no idea that I would have to get to the start line 25 minutes before my wave began and panicked that I was potentially in the wrong group.

The course

This was a rollercoaster of emotions. From the start you realise it's not exactly going to be easy. The first obstacle is running up and down a rather steep hill 3 times, and by the time you have recovered from that you are about to get wet- nothing like starting early! The obstacles were brilliant, as were the people around the course who helped one another through, over and under them! I would seriously recommend trail running shoes as my old Nike running trainers just didn't cut it (also make sure you tie them tight! I lost one of my shoes in the mud and it wasn't easy to get it out and get it back on!). I was slightly annoyed with the people who decided to skip out all of the hard obstacles having evidently not trained for the event, in my opinion they didn't deserve a finishers t-shirt at the end. One of the obstacles I found the most grulesome was "you tube" basically this was a long, slightly uphill tube. It sounds relitively painless, however I didn't think it was wide enough, as I struggled actually getting in it! I also couldn't get any purchase as my entire body was caked in mud! Another thankyou to the bloke who helped me through and pulled me out, although he pulled me out directly onto a rock which wasn't the most pleasant! My favorite obstacle was probably the "slideaway" which is a 120ft waterslide, with added washing up liquid so you are actually clean when you get to the bottom (I would run the whole course again just for this obstacle!). A big shoutout to all the photographers, who seemed to pop up in all the right places, although not in the first 4/5km (I think they were waiting until everyone was covered in mud!).

Spectator experience

I had 3 spectators with me so I feel compelled to write about their experience of the day too. Firstly, I have to mention the porta-loos. They could well have been caked in mud by the end of the day, but they were spotless, as was the rest of the course.However, the spectators all had trouble knowing where loved ones were around the course and what time they were likely to finish. My suggestion is that the timing chip be linked to a tracker around the the course, either GPS or timing mats at half way and closer to the finish similar to road races I have competed in. This would allow spectators to get to obstacles at the right time! Also, a course map could also be handy for them to get around! Another negative would be the lack of seating areas. There was only a handful of picnic benches so it was difficult to get a seat.

After the race

As you finish the race, straight away you have your timing chip cut off and are given a goody bag along with your finishers t-shirt and headband. I was handed my "beer token" as it is advertised that you get a free beer after the race. However, I was shocked to be told that this token only qualified as £1.50 off, with the cost of a can being £3. This is something which I feel needs to be addressed by the race organisers.A medal would have been nice, and although not advertised, I feel it would be a nice addition next year.The merchandise tent was good, the quality is also very good and it was reasonably priced although I did feel that the selection was quite small.

Overall

An enjoyable event with a good atmosphere to go with it. A few tweaks and this event could be even better. I will be taking part again next year!

To sign up for a race yourself, visit www.totalwarrior.co.uk and don't forget to check them out on Facebook and Twitter too!