Described as the UK’s only TV show inspired obstacle course… are you game?
After a rather indulgent summer, fuelled by rum runners, I decided I needed to get back on track with my health and fitness journey. What better way to begin, again, than with a fun obstacle course… so I signed up to Rough Runner! I’m not the biggest fan of running, so if I can break up a run with big inflatable balls, or a waterslide, I’ll do it! It makes the run worth it, as I’m running towards something fun… the next obstacle. I enjoy the break from the pavement pounding and to be honest, the obstacles let me catch my breathe.
What You’ll Need For Rough Runner:
- Your printed ticket and signed waiver.
- Clothes you don’t mind getting wet and a little muddy.
- Long leggings so your legs don’t get scratched. Plus, they’ll keep you warm. (Don’t wear baggy or loose trousers as they may flap about you during the course and become heavy with the weight of water.)
- Trainers with grip, to help you under and over the obstacles!
- Preferably, a team to run with as it’s much more fun than going solo.
- Go-Pro (optional)
- Fancy dress (optional, though I embraced this for Rough Runner!)
- Energy, a smile and a sense of adventure!
I am always on the look out for fun ways to exercise and Rough Runner is certainly that. I have completed a few obstacle course races before and have always enjoyed the mix of fun, the sense of achievement and the camaraderie. I find OCR races much more fun with friends, and this time, we decided to dress up too! So, with my bag packed with all my before and after race requirements, I headed to the Rough Runner North London course, on what was, thankfully a beautiful, warm and sunny day.
We arrived at Finsbury Park and followed signs to the entrance. With our tickets and waivers checked, costumes on and bags dropped off in the free bag check (bonus!), we headed for the big dome at our wave time where a safety and information video was shown… last time we’d be sitting down and relaxing for a while! Wave times are allocated, and team members are always put together if you are part of that team (join or create a team when signing up), but as I had signed up for the race only recently, I did not have a wave time, so we were allocated one on the day. Outside the dome, at the start line, our warm-up began, which was hosted by Digme and so was not surprising that it was both motivating, yet exhausting! We were glad to see that a few others had dressed up too – the green Turtle Team were in our wave, yay!
And we were off…
We opted for the 10km course, as the 15km was not offered in North London. On other courses, I have found the 5km to be too short and I am always envious of the obstacles that I was not able to do as they were on the longer course. Don’t worry if you’re not an avid runner, you can take your time running/skipping/walking/hopping… between the obstacles as this is not a race, it is meant to be fun. I even saw some people cut corners between obstacles, to avoid the running segments. However, I wanted the exercise and the sense of achievement and completion, so I did follow the blue line around Finsbury Park, from field to obstacle, and everything in-between.
Admittedly, I was a little self-conscious running around Finsbury Park, especially as the course was not cordoned off, dressed in a Cinco De Mayo outfit, with a hat that kept trying to escape… spectators galore, whether they meant to be or not! But after a while, especially after the first ‘swim’, you just smile and go with it! Plus, it added an even more challenging element to the obstacles, as the hat kept falling over my eyes, restricting my sight! However, it was also a conversation starter with other runners, whilst waiting to tackle the next obstacle. I’m pleased to say that, apart form the ten minute queue for the ‘Big Tipper’, we never had to wait more than five minutes for any obstacle. The wave times were perfectly sized and were spread out well, meaning fewer people congregated at the start of an obstacle.
The obstacles were great fun and I tackled them all. All were doable (though not by me!), but not all were in your control! The ‘Swept Off Your Feet’ obstacle was being controlled by a minx, that accomplished her task… I was literally knocked off my feet and flung head-first into the water! The water landing, or the inflatable landing meant that I just bounced back unharmed, ready to either try again, or sheepishly succumb to defeat. The variety of obstacles was perfect. The ‘Balance Beam’ tested your balance and agility, the ‘Cargo Corkscrew’ tested your strength and core (Ouch! Should have brought gloves!) and the ‘Fearless Fall’ was just fun! I found the ‘Buoy Zone’ just impossible; it had me bouncing backwards landing arse first in the pool of water, then I couldn’t get out of the pool for an embarrassing minute! But, it was certainly giggle-inducing and fun to watch as others rebounded into the water too!
I completed the 10km Rough Runner course zooming up one of the slower lanes of the ‘Travelator’. Admittedly, I was exhausted at this point and wiped out… face-planted… on one of the faster lanes, but I was determined to do it and not too proud to then attempt the slightly slower lane. With my cape tucked in, so not to get caught, I launched myself at the most evil of all treadmills… It brought back memories of watching Gladiator on TV as a child. I think ‘Jet’, my then idol, would have whooped my arse today. Let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than it looks, but so much fun.
I really enjoyed Rough Runner. The weather was amazing and kept us warm; it may have felt cold running around wet, had the sky been grey. The course was not over-crowded, it felt like the perfect amount of participants; a buzz in the air, but queues were never too long. There were a variety of obstacles, that were reminiscent of game-show challenges… I finally got to see, up close and extremely personal, what a Travelator was all about! The only thing that was disappointing, was the absence of some of the obstacles that I had seen advertised for Rough Runner, that did not make an appearance today, such as the ‘Grand Canyon’, ‘Rise and Fall’ and ‘Mt. Roughian’. The latter, I really wanted to do. However, that is the downside of not doing the 15km course that is available at other locations… you will inevitably not be able to see all the obstacles unless you get out of London. This only means, Rough Runner, that I will be back!
What You Need After The Race:
- A large towel – you will get wet!
- Muc off, or similar, no water required antibacterial body wash
- Bio-degradable wet wipes (some locations offer showers, but London doesn’t.)
- Warm, dry clothes and shoes – I always take flip-flops, so my feet can breathe and dry!
- Black bin bags for your dirty clothes.
- Snack bar and water to hydrate (water is given out during the race and at the end)
When: Check out their upcoming events here.
Distance: 5km/10km/15km (and even a kids’ course too)
Entry: Prices rise closer to the event, so get in there early to book.
Event Website: https://roughrunner.com, Facebook
Check out our article… Our Top Tips for Running an Obstacle Course Race.
*Health Advice: It is wise to consult with your doctor before participating, especially if you have any health concerns.