Tinsel Dash Race Review

This was our second time at Tinsel Dash and this year it was based on the grounds of Chatelherault Country Park, near Hamilton. Arriving early at the venue, we were welcomed by heavy rain, extreme winds and the freezing cold!

A quick dash to the registration tent, and in a matter of minutes it was done. Straight back to the car for some heat and to escape from the ever worsening rain.

Not for long though, as soon it was time to brave the elements again and head for the start line. Luckily the rain took a well-timed break, but as the start line got nearer I could see that the wind had got its first casualty – one of the event tents!

A quick (much needed) warm-up got us ready to go, and without delay we were off. An almost immediate duck under barrier led into a long trail run starting from woodland pathways, before leading into tougher off-road terrain. The long run allowed the field to spread out, and helped avoid bottlenecks later in the race.

The run led into a small, but steep, hill ascent before an equally steep descent back down. With the wet conditions it was extremely slippery underfoot, making the challenge even tougher. Many runners opting for more of a bum slide approach to get back down. At the bottom there was a short cargo net crawl, and then we were back running through the woods.

Before long, the path led down to the river and it was soon time to get wet! We entered into the river and waded through extremely cold water!

Glad to get back on dry land the trail led through the estate with a great variety of obstacles ahead, including plenty of weighted runs:

Log Carry – this required the carrying of long logs through a woodland circuit. The length of logs making it difficult to navigate the path, and several times the log reverberated after collisions with trees.

Tyre Carry – Trailtroopers must have decided that simply carrying a tyre round a circuit is too easy, so they added in a wood hurdle climb to make things tougher.

Cone Carry – a quite lengthy wooded route carrying the awkward object.

Stairs – For anyone who has ran a Trailtroopers event before, you will know their love for stairs! And this course was no exception. Their course contained two sections of stair ascents. These really slowed the pace and got the legs pumping.

Slack Line Traverse – An obstacle that seems to be an ever increasing feature at races, but this time with the added risk of ending up wet with the line traversing a section of water.

Water Wade – Based in later stages of the race, it was time to get wet again, a waist deep wade through a freezing cold body of water.

Nearing the end, the path led into a very obstacle intense finish, perfectly placed for any spectators who had managed to fend off the weather – there weren’t many! First a tyre drag. The tyre was heavy due to it holding a lot of residual water, but the slick weather conditions helped get it moving round the required loop circuit. The water logged section at the end of the loop being the toughest due to the increased drag. The obstacles were now coming almost back to back. First some quick feet through the bungee cord foot maze leading to a cargo net crawl. Then a wall jump, immediately leading to a parallel bar traverse and then an over, under, through a set of wooden hazards. Next was a very steep hill climb up towards Chatelherault House, before almost immediately shooting straight back down the slip n slide and into the finishing straight. One final wall hurdle and across the finish line!

The event village had been obliterated by the extreme winds, with not a single tent still standing. However Trailtroopers did not let this deter them and had the finisher’s goodies distributed straight out a van – a very seasonal collection with a great looking Santa medal, a selection box and a T-shirt. They also were offering some very much appreciated hot orange juice.

The race did have an issue with some of the course tape getting damaged, which at points caused some confusion about the right path to take. However, under the conditions this is a very minor criticism as the fact they had managed to avoid cancelling the event (although did have to cancel the juniors run), was a massive achievement in itself.

Overall it was a brilliant race and with a great atmosphere. A great race to end OCRs for the year.