- The normal obstacles like the barbwire crawl (which both were actually quite short), walls (4ft, 6ft and 8ft), monkey rings (which were staggered and not in a straight line) and the Herc hoist (easy) all made the obvious appearances. Strangely enough here were no monkey bars or the peg obstacle that they introduced in Edinburgh.
- They clearly followed suit with this years main natural obstacle being hills! Some of the climbs during this race were absolutely relentless. The two that stuck out were a tire carry up a very slick, muddy and steep hill. I picked up one of the heavier tires to take around this section which really did cause me a bit of bother getting up that hill. After slipping pretty hard once, I reassessed the situation and used the tire as a means to dig into the mud and clamber my way up. There was a rope to assist the climb but that was so covered in mud it was useless. Really tough. The Bucket Brigade was most peoples nightmare obstacle as the hill was literally at a 45 degree angle. Climbing the hill without a bucket full of rocks was daunting enough. Chuck in a very heavy challenge and you have the hardest task of the day.
- The twister obstacle (which I was determined to smash this time) made a return! I started going backwards but that didn’t work for me whatsoever. After losing grip I somehow managed to regain some type of composure but finally lost my grip at the section change. Way more practice needed for me on that one. The slip wall which is usually a doddle was very deviously placed after the only muddy section of the event. This made climbing it virtually impossible! Even the elites opted for burpees on this one. My ongoing battle with the spear throw still continues to this day. I couldn’t hit that thing if they placed the hay stack right in front of me at this rate.
- The hills along the course were still energy sapping, but I felt great along the running sections. The fact that I was wearing a brand new pair of Saloman Speedcross definitely helped me there. I decided not to walk up the hills and actually attack them head on while recovering on the downs. Worked out well for me.
- Other carry obstacles along the course were relatively easy. The sandbag carry seemed to end before it started and the log carry was actually quite gentle. The rope climb was aced as usual while others who tried to use only upper body strength to ascend struggled slightly. One of the very friendly volunteers cheered me on and pointed me out to some of the guys trying to learn how to get up. Love a confidence booster. The rest of the race was very comfortable and led to a clean fire jump with my signature Dab to finish.
I really enjoyed this event. Even though my night wasn’t the best before race day, I highly recommend volunteering, getting out there spurring on other runners and then racing after. It is definitely a direction I will take on any race day I can now. Camping is fun and there is certainly a good vibe in the campsite, even after the race is done. The course was well mapped out and had plenty of variation from running to obstacle. I felt great on the day and I do believe that played a big part in my outcome. My final time was 2:55 which still netted me in the top 20% of runners on the day so not the best but by far not completely disastrous. With 2 more Spartan races to go this season, I can’t wait for the end of September when I complete my first back to back race weekend. Just the Windsor Beast and Sprint to go!
Did you take part in the Marston Lodge Spartan weekend? What were your thoughts? What was your favourite and worst obstacles? Will you be at Windsor to complete your TRIFECTA? Let me know in the comments below. Share, like and subscribe to keep up to date with The Urban Challenger!