Rat Race's Survival of the Fittest was such good fun last year. In the brochure they gave us at the finish point was something called London River Rat Race. A 10k obstacle race claiming to be the wettest event of it's kind. This event has ran several times already in Stockton but they were bringing the event for the first time to London this year. I was excited, so was a lot of others until they heard you had to jump in the Thames..
I setup a team and everyone can join it by using my team username and password. This was great as it relieved the pressure of pestering people to sign up and asking for money upfront. If you get 5 people signed up you'll get a rebate of £5 and for 10 people a rebate of £10. Unfortunately the Thames was majorly unappealing for nearly everyone I asked. Team Scream At My Face had 4 people.
The event was hosted in the Excel Exhibition centre so was nice and easy to get to on the Docklands Light Railway. River Rat Race was well organised and registration was straight forward.
A friend had to pull out and our friend Irina took his place. This was also sorted out without too much hassle, just had to provide a letter confirming the transfer.
Staff were manning a desk for your small personal valuables and another area for your bags. It was nice for a change to have real toilets at an OCR event! No shower facilities still, but there were separate male/female changing room tents.
The guys on stage warmed us up with some exercises. I wasn't as breathless as last year, perhaps my fitness is improving! After the warm up I slurped down my mojito energy gel. (I was disappointed that it really didn't taste like mojito). We then threw back this can of energy drink, I don't usually have these so it got me wired! To pump up my other teammates I had them 'scream at my face.'
At the sound of the whistle Wave 10 (Gold) was off. The Excel Exhibit hall reverberated the stampede of runners leaping over the first obstacles of plastic barriers. We zigzagged up and down the hall and tackled other standard obstacles before we stepped out outside where the fresh air was welcome.
We were now required to complete two laps of the course. Some obstacles were repeated and others were specific to the lap you were on. As this was a Rat Race event, there were some familiar obstacles from Survival of the Fittest series.
On a few obstacles we had to clock out and clock in so our time won't be effected by the queuing. This was a great idea for people concerned about their course time, however they didn't actually clock you back in until you'd finished that obstacle. Andy missed one of the checks and so had an extra ten minutes on his final time. We were there for fun so he wasn't fussed.
I won't go over everything but here are some of the course highlights:
A formation of trees were tied with netting to form a maze. This didn't provide any challenge as a fellow participant kindly told us the correct path.
Giant floaty sausages.
Nothing too taxing but the first full water submersion was fairly early on. This woke you up as you swam under them.
Making use of the facilities by the docks, several flights of stairs got you to a bridge with a good view of the location.
Easy enough, but just got to watch that you don't knock another person at the same time.
Climb your way across. Nice challenge as it's slightly different from your usual monkey bars.
The pontoons. Swim.
There were a series of pontoons with the first task being swimming to the next. It was quite tiring, being fully dressed with shoes made this harder.
The pontoons. Rings bridge.
There were inflatable doughnut rings making a bridge across to the next pontoon.
The pontoons. Giant floats.
Leap across these free moving floats.
Into the drink.
A 20 foot jump into the Thames. This got my heart racing at the top. Dan was probably the most scared but we did it. Good to do something a little out of your comfort zone every now and again.
Like Survival you have two options to choose from. Shame it wasn't any longer either.
This was fun. Most people did this in pairs. (There was a three person team that seemed to be a lot slower). A shame we looped back to where we started but I guess this is the only feasible way of getting kayaks back to the start again.
It started at the same height as the jump, but the slide made it more fun than scary. Which is not a bad thing.
Make a leap to jump into this free floating obstacle. I think they need more of these kind of tasks, with a dunk in the water as the consequence of missing. However, we had to swim back to the pier anyway.
I've come to enjoy the walls after watching the tutorial from The Beard. The inverted walls are quite rewarding to slide down the other side too!
It was just a really fun event. The obstacles were nicely spaced out so you weren't running a huge stretch of the course before tackling another task. Our course time was 90 minutes, but that didn't include the time on some of the obstacles we'd clocked out on.
My friend Dan hadn't done any exercise for months so by the end he was really struggling. However he is a testament to the fact you don't need to train for these things. That said, if he had trained he might have been able to enjoy it a little more! Dan has already said about "next year!"
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