Tartan Warrior Family OCR

Thanks to Ben Finch for writing the below race review from the Tartan Warrior Family OCR

As I lined up in wave one, I tried to go over my race plan in my head. It wasn’t a big plan! It was inspired by the Boston marathon where a club runner had charged to the front for a brief moment of glory. I intended to replicate this – a sprint off the line to take the lead and then enjoy the race.

This was the first race that Tartan Warrior had organised having set themselves up a year ago as an OCR training and fitness organisation. In 2014 I had been to two training days with them in Plean (near Stirling) and had a great time practicing on the obstacles with my training team. The second session was for my birthday so even my wife and son joined in. The Tartan Warrior team each fulfil a different role, John is a master builder just like a character from the lego movie, while Joda is the super fit super bouncy PT and motivator.

What gives them their unique selling point is the way they make everything inclusive for families, and this proved to be the case again at this race. Adults and children both completed the same 3k course but the obstacles were lined up side like little and large. Even the tyre carry included tyres from go carts for the smallest runners.

As Joda counted down I prepared for my moment at the front of the race and as she shouted go, I immediately realised I had failed and had no chance of getting ahead of some of these runners. I quickly decided I would just hang on as long as I could near the lead pack.

The first section included some nasty little hurdles that seemed placed perfectly to prevent any sort of rhythm followed by a nice section of trail with some killer tree roots to think about. After a short downhill I was still in touch with all but the lead 3, but a short uphill just let them distance me. I tried to catch them again as we ran down a ditch in the centre of a large rough open area, which led to a quick scramble under a cargo net. However as we headed up another incline I realised there was someone behind me and was passed by the leading lady on the next cargo net crawl. John had warned me that the tyre carry was going to be “fun” and as we reached the top of the hill we picked up the tyre and headed back down on a huge loop were I was passed by yet another runner. Once the tyre was discarded we were treated to great water slide. Whether it was due to an extra dose of soap or my little sprint I managed to catch the guy in front. I stuck on his heels as we crossed back towards the start/finish field and over some more  hurdles (my legs were burning even on these), in and out of the stream and then though a little trail section that looped round the field. Again I just lost contact and my head was dropping, but then I reached the out and back log carry and realised I wasn’t far behind. I pushed myself a little harder to try and catch back at least one place. With my log discarded and knowing I was near the end I tried to inject a little extra pace and entered the main field with the final set of obstacles. I was rewarded instantly, I hit the monkey bars and as I swung across gracefully (well in my head) I was able to watch the guy in front of me doing his 10 punishment burpees for coming off. I didn’t know how many he had done so I continued on to the wall and skipped over it with ease (no really – I am good at walls), over a long line of tyres and finally over an A frame to cross the line in 17:41.

The leader was round in under 14 minutes so I was very happy with my time and my 6th or 7th place (I lost count). I don’t think anyone ahead of me was over 30, so given I am approaching 40 I am calling that a win in my age class!!!!!

The day and the race were a big success and the kettlebell trophies looked really good, but the best thing by far was watching the kids and families running round an obstacle course together. I will certainly be at the next race in August with my family, where I am sure the Tartan Warriors will have age group categories (Hint, Hint).

Ben Finch.