Bing Blazer Race Review 2016
By OCR Scotland
Pictures available at: https://bingblazer.smugmug.com/
Race Video: Coming Soon
Bing Blazer is a 10km obstacle course based in Sibbald Park in West Lothian. The event offered both a 10k (1 lap) & a 20k (2 lap – Bing King) option, as well as a junior’s race. Both the 10k & 20k options were qualifying races for the UK & European Championships.
Registration & Goodie Bag
Arriving at registration about an hour before my wave started, the event village was already very busy. There were a few canopies set up as well as an inflatable enclosure, but due to the high winds most had to be taken down, leaving only the OCRA tent standing. The organisers had planned family activities such as a bouncy castle and face painting, but unfortunately the high winds limited these.
The registration process was slow, not sure what went wrong but something definitely did.
Once at the front of the queue the helpers were very friendly and the race pack with the reputation of being one of the best, lived up to its reputation. Great technical t-shirt (and I’m fussy about these), numbered headband, Bing Blazer rubber wristband and gloves for the course (though I didn’t use them).
Once registered I headed out to chat with some of the fellow runners before heading to Bing Blazer’s unique start line.
Warm Up and Start
We were lead into a warehouse area, closed off from the main spectator zone. An energetic trainer gave us a quick warm up with plenty of shouting to get people motivated before positioning us in front of a large roller door. As the door started to rise the countdown began. 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . GO
Out of the warehouse, up a little hill and immediately into off road tracks. We quickly met the first obstacle, a hay bale jump before following the route round until we reached the first tyre carry, a little loop up and down before onwards through the course. Next up was ‘The Thing,’ an almost pitch black tunnel of concrete tubes. An easy to complete obstacle as long as you’re not afraid of the dark!
A few small hurdles before the hill ascents and descents started. First a hill scramble up before a rope traverse down a steep slope, almost immediately followed by a second rope climb back up. A short run later and another hill climb lay ahead, this time it was into very soft soil so getting grip was pretty tricky. The descent was much easier, a quick water slide into the pool of water below. Great fun!
The course then had a few trench jumps before reaching the ‘Baboon Bars’ (one of the qualification mandatory obstacles). The bars were a reasonable length, not too long but long enough to be a challenge, and with wet hands getting a grip was very difficult and made this an even tougher challenge, and sadly one that I failed. Next up was a very tough wall climb, before a tyre wall climb.
This first section was very obstacle intense with a brilliant mix of obstacles to challenge all ability levels.
The next section was a long run along the cycle path, starting with an insanely long tyre carry. The tyres weren’t too heavy, but the path seemed to go on for ever and soon the weight and awkwardness of them started to prove difficult. I was very glad to finally get to discard the tyre at the designated drop point, but seeing wave 1 runners having to carry them the return leg, I knew I hadn’t totally escaped them yet. Further up the path there was a tarpaulin crawl (though the wind eventually destroyed it for later waves) and an overhang wall.
A lot of the cycle path was basically a road run but it presented a great opportunity to make up some time from such an obstacle intense start.
The path lead us to Caper’s farm – the next obstacle intense zone, with a pillow gauntlet on the way in. Not a real challenge but a bit of fun. A truck bed hurdle later and it was time for the OCR Scotland Best Obstacle Winner, ‘The Tower.’ This had been renamed ‘Hexathalon’ and been upgraded to include a rope climb. This is probably the biggest obstacle rig in Scotland, standing an impressive 24-foot-high and encompassing climbing walls, ladder descents, a fireman pole and the longest set of monkey bars in Scotland. As if that wasn’t enough Bing Blazer had also added an 8 foot wall and their infamous paintball alley, where their ‘Sniper’ seems to have pinpoint accuracy for shooting you on the ass!
Out of Caper’s Farm and back along the cycle path, unfortunately knowing some of what lay ahead. After a long length of cycle track it was back to the tyres and a carry for the return leg. Thankfully it was more downhill on the way back but still a very awkward run. Thankfully as I dispersed of the tyre, the end was in sight.
With the end in sight, the course took a cruel turn in the opposite direction, taking us to one of Bing Blazers newest obstacles ‘The Lion Rampant’ – a ramp run up into an overhang wall. Great to see new obstacles like this being developed, particularly in home-grown events. Up and over before a fire pole slide back down. Next up was a 16kg kettlebell pull followed by a water run, strategically placed to get you wet right before the colour dust run – a section to run through while having paint dust pelted at you. Tired, wet, and now very colourful it was time for me to go round again, but for the 10k runners it was the finish line, 70mins later I too got to cross it.
Bing Blazer billed themselves as the ‘Bigger, Better, Bing Blazer’ and they definitely achieved this. The course was much tougher than the previous years and they had put in a lot of work developing and improving obstacles.
The finisher’s medal looks great and the jigsaw idea is brilliant - definitely want to get the full set.
This was the events last year at Sibbald Park, can’t wait to see what they create for the new venue next year.