Swim, bike, run is one of the fastest growing sports in the world but I think this is bigger than triathlon…much bigger…it’s called OBSTACLE COURSE RACING!!!
You don’t need any more equipment than your basic runner needs and in this sport you’ll find no end of people to give you a helping hand over an obstacle and they know that if they help you, someone will help them.
Tough Guy is still one of the toughest due to it being held at the end of January and to a chunk of the course involving being in a lake. In extreme cases the leaders find themselves breaking ice as they wade or swim in freezing waters. I did Tough Guy in 2007 and will never, ever forget it. To choose to do something that was almost guaranteed to give you hypothermia and have a high chance of being given an electric shock for fun did test my mettle and on completion I still questioned my sanity.
It doesn’t take long however, for the sense of achievement to come rushing through, never mind the bragging rights. Conversations on a Monday morning of what did you do over the weekend were a highlight. “Well, let me tell you…”.
Since then, I’ve done quite a few but my stand out one is the Fisherman’s Friend sponsored Strongman Run in Germany…FOUR times now. Why FOUR? Well simply put I’ve been asked every year by the PR team behind the throat clearing lozenges to help bring together a team to take on the epic 24 kilometre, two lap course encountering 1300 metres of altitude with 34 cramp inducing obstacles. I was initially drafted in to attract some of my celebrity clients but was told on many occasions to “Ram it up my arse”…she will remain nameless by the way. 😉
Even with comments like that from some people, there are so many obstacle or themed typed races appearing that might not make you want to ahem…ram it up my arse. Race For Life are even getting into it by having ‘pretty muddy’ races. I tell you, it’s growing and normal running races will seem boring in comparison. These normal running races have differences in difficulty and they can include the obvious distance element and or the elevation with some of the hardest types being the Snowdonia Marathon or even more extreme Marathon de Sables. Obstacle races use these factors too but can also add crazy, mental, downright daft obstacles! Which brings me back to the Strongman Run.
It’s seven years old and in its seven years it’s now expanded to eight different countries. What you may find strange is that the UK isn’t one of them even though Fisherman’s Friend lozenges were originated and are still made here in the UK. The simple reason is that the biggest markets are elsewhere and those countries are getting the races…rumours are to launch a South African race soon too. The courses use hills, mud, water, electric shocks, gravel, tyres, ropes, cargo nets, a-frames, steps, logs…I could go on.
So how does me being team captain in this help Fisherman’s Friend and possibly you? Well, it’s simple…every year we look to take around 6-10 people with a presence. The more of a voice you have the better, hence where the celebrity angle came in but in recent times we’ve been taking bloggers, vloggers, people who can tell the world about this amazing race and drop in the title of the race. After that the PR company will do the rest. Even though I’ve only done 4 races I’ve been involved in this for 5 years and I am going to give you some advice if you want to join me in the 2015 Strongman Run.
If you’re not a blogger then become one asap, if you are then great. Get people involved in a journey, your journey to a fitter, healthier you or involved in the challenges you want to do, get people excited, inspired, motivated by the things you post online and when 2015 comes around be ready to put yourself forward for selection. The rest is up to the PR company.
I know of one person who followed similar advice when I wrote this blog last year and he’s gunning for a place on the 2015 team and the way he’s going he’s in with a very good chance of joining me on a VIP, all expenses paid trip to the Nurburgring next year. BRING IT ON!!
Look out for my race report on this year’s race in the next edition of Obstacle Race Magazine.