June 3rd would be the setting for my first ever Wolf Run event based around the very picturesque Stanford Hall in Leicestershire. The day was perfect for racing conditions and I was more then excited to give another race a go for a change. I always enjoy events I haven’t done just for the sheer surprise factor. This event didn’t disappoint.
Logistically it was based quite far from the closest station so driving is definitely the choice you would want to make when attending this event. The Wolf Run team hold 4 events per year (one for each season) 2 of which are set next to Stanford Hall. The other 2 over in Warwickshire. This was the summer wolf so Leicestershire it was. The signage to get to the event was fantastic. Easy to spot signs based along the various routes towards the event site made it very painless trying to find it.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived was how much of a buzz there was in the event village. Music pumping, plenty of food stalls, activities for those of all ages and a very easy to navigate site. Probably one of the best vibes I have seen on an ocr site. Registration was easy and quick; was all done and ready within 10 mins of getting there. After a swift registration and a short warmup, I was ready to race!!
The Wolf in the title is an acronym itself; Woods, Obstacles, Lakes & Fields. So I knew what to expect. It’s a medium sized course being that it’s only 10k which isn’t too far out of reach for a newbie and should be pretty normal for a regular racer. Racers were set of in waves of about 150 which was manageable and didn’t cause too much of a hold up. Being an OCR, of course the first thing you do was walk into a waist deep lake. Sets the tone for the rest of the race and then your trail run starts.
Most of this race is set in the woods which has over the last year become my favourite type of running. Watching your step and keeping your wits about you leading to a few smaller water sections was a great start. Then faced with an easy set of logs that we had to balance over. There were three routes to take (east, medium and hard). The easy one seemed to have the queue so I jumped onto the emptiest one being hard. Done with no bother, more jogging over the fields ahead. Still very clean might I add! After about 20 minuets of running you come to the amazing water slide. Thinking back to the briefing they gave in the warm up you literally run up and let gravity take its course! The slide was an amazing feature and probably the course highlight.
With the adrenaline sky high and being soaking wet, you continue running. A few rolling hills to increase the challenge and you get towards what will be a big part of the rest of the race; getting very muddy…that’s actually an understatement. The bogs were really really muddy. The fact they called the area the mudsucker should probably highlight how bad it was; in a good way of course. Before everyone started the race they told us too double knot our shoes. This was why!! A few people lost shoes and socks as a result of the mud and a section that really did test your ability to not stop and keep moving to avoid sinking deeper. After being completely cleaned up by the water slide, every runner was now covered from head to toe in mud!
The rest of the race covered more rolling hills with the added obstacle here and there. There were two swimming sections (water up to my neck and I’m 5’11”. The great thing was there was an option to avoid this if you were not as confident in the water. I went ahead and joined the tadpoles and dived right in. This was perfect as it completely cleaned of the earlier mud; this made my kit clean much easier later on. One of my favourite parts of the water section was where you needed to completely submerge yourself underneath 2 sets of buoys! Brilliant.
An incline/decline set of monkey bars had people dropping left, right and centre. I was determined to smash that obstacle with the grip training I have been focusing on. Loving monkey bars I did just that. This was followed by a technical log formation that you had to get up and over. This was much harder then it looked and really did challenge the runners. With the event village in sight, the end was near. The final obstacles were a giant cargo net which was really high followed by another lake to clean away the last of the muck. A climbing wall was added which was quite easy to hop over and then cross the finish line!
Finishers were greeted with some more Clif bars (sponsors of the event), a technical t-shirt which looks cool as hell and a wrist band. This didn’t mark the end of the event however. The race was followed by live acts on stage which kept the party going on into the darkness. What an event!
This was one of the most fun events I have taken part in. I went alone but everyone was friendly along the way. It really gave me the chance to enjoy the race and take in everything on offer. I think my finish time was circa 1:30 which isn’t too bad but with no time chip, this clearly isn’t the point of the race. It’s to get stuck in and enjoy; literally. The only thing I would say was missing were a few more pit stops with some type of energy gel or carb recovery item to keep runners energised. Also a Wolf Run medal would be amazing as silverware does often attract more competitors and it gives a slight better sense of achievement.
I think this is one of those events that is accessible to all experience levels. 10km isn’t painfully too far and the obstacles aren’t super technical. Plus there is no penalty for not completing any, so this is a great event for OCR newbies. If you are a regular to OCR then this is a great one to do with or without a team and enjoy. With the autumn and winter wolf runs still to come up this year, there are more chances to get involved. Visit www.thewolfrun.com and see if your up to the challenge.
Have you taken part in any of The Wolf Run Events? What are your thoughts? How do you think they stack up against other OCR events? Let me know in the comments below