McTough Guy OCR Review

McTough Guy - First Obstacle Course Race of the Year!

It seems like a long time since my last obstacle course race at the Bing Blazer: Park Life in October 2015. 

The Bing Team had a well-deserved break after our first season delivering multiple OCR events. I have been eagerly anticipating my next opportunity to get wet, muddy and hit some obstacles, though...

Roll on Saturday 2nd January at 11pm the night before McTough Guy - the first OCR Event of the season. I am ready to go up and meet some new people and spectate when I have the sudden brainwave that I should enter. 

Luckily I know of someone who has to transfer their ticket due to a broken toe, so with less than 12 hours prep, no real run training… this could potentially be a stupid idea but I decide to give it a bash.

So I head to bed after getting my gear together and proceed to worry myself until 2.30am and then wide awake again at 6.30… yet again maybe not the best prep.

Knockhill, cold, wet and windy

However, when I go to leave my house at least the weather seems to be holding up - not overly cold or windy. Upon arriving to Knockhill this is no longer the case. Its cold, wet and definitely windy.

Despite this, the atmosphere from fellow competitors gives me an adrenaline boost and my concerns over the weather, lack of sleep and training pass. 

Pipe band at starting line

Standing on the start line, we are greeted by a Pipe band coming over the hill and then a standoff before the race gets underway.

The race begins and proceeds back up the straight of the track, round the gravel traps and then into a large muddy section before going over some large slippy tyres then heading up the road section towards the OCR Scotland obstacle.

Most brutal section (for me)

From there it is through some tyres, then to a section including waist high water - not too cold at this point and actually a relief… then to the slaloms. This was a brutal section up and down the same patch of hill, the toughest part of the course in my opinion and I’m sure others will agree.

Muddy ditches, slides and 'Log' carry

From there it was through some more muddy ditches and slides before heading back up a muddy trench, past the rally experience track and down the other side of the hill towards the log carry (more like a caber) then over some more obstacles before heading to the 4x4 tracks. 

In my opinion this was my favourite part of the course. Some great terrain and some refreshment of the river to crawl and wade through.

After this section it was up through a field to take hold of your sandbag to head up the hill into the mist. This was a slog for sure.  A group of runners decided to jog for the first part to be only punished by throbbing calves and turning lunges.

Things got cold as you headed into the mist, but again, it was a relief. Then after a quick drink at the top the route headed back down the hill towards the ditches… 

Waist and chest high at some points, I don’t know how long this section was but it was tough going and frustrating that you couldn’t move faster through the cold and wet sludge.

At this point the slow pace and the cold started to get to me, some pretty choice words were going through my heads as my quads and hamstrings were on the verge of cramping. However, out of the other side of this I could feel the end was in sight and started to feel more positive despite hitting the wall.

We then headed through a quicker running section, under the blackout crawl and towards the rope traverse. Luckily I made this despite the numb hands; I didn’t fancy going for a swim that’s for sure. 

The final km, at last!

The last km was a nice easier section, which my legs were happy about before being cheered by the crowd heading into the last obstacles, over some cars (cramp in left hamstring), through some water filled skips (cramp in right quad and hamstring), over some plastic barriers and fences (cramp in both quads and hamstrings) then over ‘nessie’ – the McTough Guy equivalent to the dragon back and through the final water obstacle to the finish.

Well done to Brass Monkey Events.

It was definitely a great way to start the year and the medal definitely will serve as a reminder of the cold and pain which will definitely make the warmer weather events seem easier I’m sure.  

It is safe to say I am now back into the OCR mentality and looking forward to my next event and a big season which culminates in a 24 hour obstacle course race in Las Vegas.

Hopefully, I can get a couple more OCR’s in before the Bing Blazer on the 21st May 2016.

Blair Keith, Bing Team