Undoubtedly one of the highlights from Mud7, RockSolid Race hosted its final race of the year in Milton Keynes. Having enjoyed their 1km section of Mud7 I was looking forward to finding out how this would transfer to a full course.
Parking was quick and easy, costing £5, which seems to have become the standard fee across most races. Running in the first wave meant an early arrival before registration had even opened, however a small queue was building with eager racers, but the RockSolid volunteers worked efficiently to get people through registration as quickly as possible.
Entering into the event village, I was amazed how professional and organised the area was. Event villages vary from race to race, some looking like they have been thrown together on the morning of the race; however RockSolid had clearly put some thought and effort in. Making great use of the venue, the event village was located in the Silverstone Camping area, just on the edge of the Silverstone Circuit. This provided great access to hot showers, plenty of seating and toilets and an onsite pub for a cheeky pint after the race.
Onto the race itself and I was signed up for RockSolid’s 15km option; the longest of three choices available, with the shorter distances being 5km or 10km. The availability of different distances is a great way to cater for all runners. The course was clearly marked out for the different distances, with coloured markers informing racers where to go.
The MC for the warm up was enthusiastic and got the crowd ready to race (although having recently returned from the Worlds in Canada – he was no Coach Pain!).
Lining up ready to run it was clear the race had attracted a variety of runners. There were familiar faces from the OCR scene and others with the look of panic that is usually reserved for the first timers. However the race is in fact a great introductory race for people new to OCR. There is no chip timing, no bands, no penalties and no placings. All the things we’ve come to find as standard in the current ‘Must Qualify for Championship’ era of OCR. So it was nice to get out there and just race for fun for a change; almost taking you back to the reason you got into it in the first place.
The course itself contained the standard obstacles; walls, cargo net, barbed wire crawl with a few ‘fun’ elements added in. The course contained two water obstacles which had been strategically placed one after another, ensuring that racers didn’t need to get wet and cold repeatedly throughout the course. The first required a 15ft jump into water, more mind over matter. Following successful completion of the jump, you were rewarded with a slide into water, another classic obstacle loved by many. Midway through the course, upon arrival at the next ‘obstacle’, the marshal informed me I had to jump in a sack and hop up and down a hill. Certainly not something I had trained for, and failed miserably at! Still, it was a throwback to my school days for sure. There was a lack of technical obstacles, but this does make the race accessible for all. However, some more seasoned runners may find this disappointing and not enough of a challenge.
Having reached the end of my 15km, a standout and original feature of the race was ‘The Laundrette’. Stepping inside a mammoth washing machine filled with bubbles was a great fun way to end the race before RockSolid’s signature climbing wall up to the finish line. In addition to the obligatory bling, there was hot soup and Chia Charge bars to refuel you for the drive home.