TrailTroopers Race Review April 2016 – Chatelherhault
The venue was easy to find, only a short distance from the M74 motorway, as well as easily accessible from the local railway station. There was plenty of free parking available and the venue hosted an onsite café and visitor centre, offering runners a place to shelter or refresh, as well as an option for spectators.
After parking it was just a short walk to registration. Quick and easy with separate queues for each race.
As start time approached, runners assembled for wave 1, and with a large attendance of elites, I knew this was going to be a very competitive race, not that I would be involved in that tussle.
The organisers kept the briefing short to avoid us waiting too long in the cold. A slight issue with the starting call as the front of the wave couldn’t hear it, but a few shouts from the back of the pack and we were off.
Within seconds we hit the first obstacle, a short but steep hill climb that TrailTroopers had made tougher by covering with a cargo net, turning it into a scramble / crawl up the hill. A short run down the road and we turned into a more wooded section.
Entering the wooded section it was clear that TrailTroopers had utilised the natural terrain extremely well, the trail lead us through a path of muddy ditches, embankments climbs as well as over and under fallen trees. The course also contained plenty of water. A few river sections varying between ankle deep to waist deep water, very tricky as the underfoot conditions were extremely slippy. There were also a few stream wades with culvert / tunnel crawls thrown in.
The course had plenty of long trail sections through the woodland paths with a mix of obstacles scattered throughout, spider webs, muddy slopes, slack line traverse, rope climb and more. There were also a few carry sections - a rather short log carry as well as a tyre carry. Initially I thought the tyre carry was ‘a bit easy,’ however my initial opinion proved to be very wrong. The tyre circuit quickly became very muddy and proved a very difficult trudge with some mud coming waist height. Very difficult, especially with a tyre being carried at the same time. The course also had an obstacle that features regularly in the TrailTroopers race series - a very long, muscle zapping stairway ascent.
The final section of the course is a very obstacle intense section featuring a tyre drag, bungee rope foot obstacle, box crawls, parallel bars, balance beams, seesaw beams, A-frame climb, a 7 foot wall and not forgetting the very quick downhill waterslide, which was a bit tougher to get to this year as first we needed to ascend a tarpolin covered section of the hill, very very slippy.
I am always impressed by the TrailTroopers races and this one was no exception, and despite regularly using the same venues, TrailTroopers do an excellent job of changing the course so that it Is never too similar. At just £23 early bird price, with no hidden extras (except a £1 bag drop), it is also brilliant value. And despite the low cost, the finishers pack was excellent, awesome jigsaw medal, finishers T-shirt, bottle of water and a caramel log.
Overall I had a great day and will definitely be back for the next one.