Not that kind of dirty weekend- I’m talking about Rat Race’s obstacle course race, set in and around the grounds of Burghley House, in Stamford (near Peterborough, UK).
Think 20 miles of trails and 200 obstacles arranged in zones, with camping before and after, and a gig in a big top event at the end. Some of the obstacles were basic, like running over old tyres or crawling under cargo nets. Others were BIG, like the grand finale below.
I’d initially entered myself into one of the first waves, but my running mates in that wave bailed on the event so I entered a more sociable wave. This killed my chances of getting round the course quickly due to queues at many obstacles, but this was to be expected, plus it was such a warm day that I wad glad to spend more time in the lake and in various water obstacles.
A pleasant aspect of the zones is that they follow a theme: one water-based one required the use of a buoyancy aid throughout, another was more military themed and involved more mud and tunnels. That meant that the entire course wasn’t muddy, just sections. There was also no electrocution: let’s face it, once you’ve been electrocuted on one race, getting electrocuted again gets tedious.
My only gripe about the event was that the volunteers were under instructions to ration the 250ml bottles of water, one per person. With five stops over 20 miles on a day that exceeded 20c, that left a lot of people dehydrated. Given that a two years ago they ran out of water, I would have thought a more elegant solution would have been to increase the number of bottles available or have cups of water, rather than rationing.
Still, it was a fun day out with friends, and the high spirits of volunteers and other competitors made it so much more enjoyable. If you want to make a weekend of your obstacle course race, this one’s for you.