Man Vs Mountain OCR Race Report
Man vs Mountain 5th September 2015
- Stnky Wetness Rating: 2/5
- Stnky Muddyness Rating: 1/5
- Event Date: September 5th
- Event Location: Caenarfon Castle, Caenarfon, Wales
Jonny gives us the low down on the Rat Race Man vs Mountain, including his training and his experience of the event.
After doing numerous events this year including Airfield Anarchy, Tough Mudder, Ram Run & Rat Race Dirty Weekend, I wanted to challenge myself a bit further, and do an event that had more than just obstacles, and took on more of a mental and physical challenge. So running up Snowdon was the choice!
I created a 12 week training plan specifically for this event. It started off with smaller 3/4 mile runs over undulating terrain, more up and down trail running but nothing too hilly. As the training progressed my large run would be on the Sunday and it would be over hilly terrain. This went from 60 mins up to a final run of 180 minutes on hills. I soon discovered I hated hill running, but before long, the smaller hills which had affected me before, I didn’t even notice. I also incorporated hill sprints, hill intervals and varying terrain.
This event was the first time I had been given a mandatory checklist of equipment. The night before the race at registration each individual had their kit checked. I wore Innov8 X-Talons 212, these are my OCR trainer of choice and I wanted comfort and grip on the mountain. I had normal running socks, shorts and a compression top. As well as the token Rat Race Rag on my wrist to tackle the sweat. On my back I had my Innov8 Racepro 18 rucksacks with built in hydration bladder. I like this rucksack as not only is it padded along the back and straps, it sits nicely and the hydration pack is horizontal across the bottom along your lower back so it’s good for support and posture. Inside, I had around 1000 calories of food in the form of sweets, energy bars and gels, a Lifesystems first aid kit, a fully taped seams waterproof jacket (they were very strict on the taped seams), hat, gloves, leg cover, phone, money and emergency blanket. This made it heavy, but luckily, I trained with it full and on my back from week 4 onwards.
The whole event was a massive physical and mental battle. The first 8 miles were what I’d trained for and I was through them in the first 80 minutes. After that, the fun started and we ran down to the base of snowdon. That’s when I realised the sheer scope of the ascent and how steep and uneven the route was going to be! I cracked on and it wasn’t until about 1/2 mile from the summit, it started to burn my thighs, burn my calves, and my normal straight direct running/walking had become a little more difficult and a bit more zig zag. Once at the top, it was a massive relief. Incredible views! Breathtaking views! I probably spent too long at the top taking pictures and then realised I was in a race! I started the uneven descent on slate, stones and jagged rocks. Downhill for 4 miles and punishing on the legs and knees! The vertical kilometer at around 19 miles can only be described as torture! Zig zagging up what can only be described as a quarry side, steps after steep steep steps, with no flat at all, finishing up a long thin track to which I saw grown men in agony with cramp and fatigue.
This is when we hit 20 miles and realised we were going over the described distance. We hit the ‘fun zone’. Abseiling off a railway bridge, and then walking a plank and jumping 20ft into a cavern of freezing cold water….. Exactly what you want after climbing Snowdon! After making our way out the water, another water section, this time a slide into the freezing stream. Then another water section, this time across the reservoir, which somehow was the coldest water I have ever experienced! Then I saw it! The finish! Between us was 2 8ft walls and a rope climb. Normally I can do these walls…. This time, I needed help! I was cooked! What a rush crossing that finish line!! A bigger rush than finishing the London Marathon in 2013!!
My favourite part would be that final push to the summit and the sense the of achievement upon getting there. It wasn’t the finish, there was nothing tangible as a reward but the atmosphere of achievement surrounding me and the views….. It made the pain and hurt just disappear!
We got a Rat Race Man vs Mountain t-shirt when we checked in, and a medal when we finished, and in true Rat Race style, it’s a beauty!
We had pit stops at Mile 8 and Mile 17 and these were more than plentiful…. There was chocolates, sweets, crisps, water, electrolytes, basically everything you were craving knowing it would give you a boost! A free soup awaited after I had finished, changed and put all my wet dirty gear in my Stnky Bag ready for my next race!
There was an event village at the finish in Llanberis. There was a few food stands, ample changing facilities indoors for once and plenty of space to collapse and recover! Anyone who wants a challenge and wants to push themselves to the limit, get on board and get running those hills! It’s worth it! This goes down as my favourite event to date! I’m coming back for you Snowdon!
I said half way up Snowdon, I would do it again, I said it at the top and now, 4 days later, I’m definitely going to do it in 2016 and I’m going to beat my time!