In 2017 we’ve put on 4 of our own events and attended/ reviewed 26 other events, 17 of which I’ve attended myself, taking part in 14 of them so I thought I’d look over some of my personal highlights from the year.
Our first event of the year came in June on a scorching hot Father’s Day where we put on what we think was the UK’s first ever run exclusively for people running pushing their children in buggies at THE NORTHAMPTON BUGGY RUN. We held a competitive wave and a fun run at what was a new venue for us in Billing Aquadrome holiday park. In all honestly we didn’t get the participation numbers we had hoped for but those that did attend all seemed to go home happy and called for us to put it on again in 2018. We even had a few suggestions to name it ‘The Buggy running UK Championships’.
Next up in October we held a Halloween/ alcohol themed night run called THE HALLOWINE RUN. We set the entry limit at 50 for this one for a number of reasons and almost sold out. I find whenever you add alcohol into the equation people tend to have more fun and that certainly was the case here. That added to several other elements including our marshals that doubled up as zombies hiding in the woods ready to scare the slightly tipsy runners at any moment! Again we used a new venue for this run at the Obelisk Centre in Northampton. Personally this was my favourite of all the events we’ve put on so far and it’s definitely one I want to hold again.
Finally to end the year, for the second time, we held the QUIRKY CHRISTMAS MINCE PIE RUN. After the success of last year’s run (which was our first ever host event) we were very keen to put this one on again. We moved it away from Salcey Forest to Billing Aquadrome where we had a brilliant (and warm) indoor facility for registration before heading outside for 5k and 5 mince pies! We opened up entry early for this one and the sign ups flew in. It may have been a Christmas event but we’d passed last year’s participant numbers by the end of the autumn and were really happy with how things went on the day. This is an event we aim to build on year on year and look forwards to our third successive run in 2018.
We ran the event in partnership with local charity The Lewis Foundation and after hearing so of the stories from some of their guys who took part we wanted to do more so set up our first virtual run where we set people the challenge of running 5k while doing anything quirky along the way. All 100% of the entry fee for this when straight to the charity.
Firstly I’d like to thank all those who have covered and reviewed races for us throughout the last 12 months. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to bring you anywhere near as much content and also to all the event organisers who have kindly invited us along to their events.
I’ve had the pleasure of attending so many races which have brought a mix of fun and excitement and also many that have really challenged me both physically and mentally. That combination was never more apparent than in the first event we covered in 2017 Tough Guy- The original.
We have some close links to obstacle course races so it was important to me to be at the race where it all started, especially when they were billing this as their last ever event. Having now done Tough Guy 6 times it will always be up there with my all time favourite events and I was very sad to see it end. Although they’ve now decided to keep it going in a much more watered down version January 2017 was were the true Tough Guy race ended in my eyes but who knows what the future will hold.
In February I had the pleasure of attending the famous Olney Pancake Race. This one is only open to the village residents so I was there, along with media from all over the world, to film and report on an event which goes way back in history.
In March I returned to Dorking, Surrey for the UK Wife Carrying race. Personally I left slightly disappointed as for the second year running my wife and I finished second in a race we really want to win but that didn’t take anything away from what is a truly unique event which this year featured not only on our website but in almost all of the national newspapers and many television broadcasts. This one just has to be the ‘Quirky Races quirkiest race’. We’ll be back in a few months time looking to go one better and bring the title to Quirky Races!
May saw me make the long trip to the Tetbury Woolsack Races. Another event steeped in history and one I was very excited to take part in. Again although this was fun it was very physically challenging and the pouring rain that came down throughout the day made the sacks even heavier to carry but didn’t dampen the spirits of what was a great day.
Next up in June was the first running of Beat the Boat, an event I would say was my pick for ‘best new quirky race’ as it had so many elements to it that made it unique. There were three boats for the runners to race alone the river Themes, with the backdrop of Windsor castle, all going at different paces, spectators could travel on the boats and there were even two beer and Prosecco stops along the 10k route.
In July it was another first, this time for obstacle course racing as Ram Run put on the UK’s first outdoor short course elimination race called Iron Ram. On a personal note this one stood out for me as the event really suited me and I managed to pick up the overall win. It brought a different dynamic to OCR and it’s a format I really hope continues.
If one month in particular stands out throughout 2017 it was most definitely August which started with an epic double event day both of which involved plenty of alcohol consumption and ended with my most challenging event of the year.
First up it was The Great British Beerathon which required the running of 5 one mile laps each ending in the drinking of a great British pint and the eating of some great British food. The atmosphere of this event made it feel a lot more like a night out with your mates than a running race and for that reason it gets my vote for ‘quirky race of the year’. From here I headed straight across London to the Beer Mile World Classic. This time I had to consume a can of beer before each 4 x 400m lap of the running track. I loved the mix of participants at this race from those who couldn’t run very fast to those who couldn’t drink very fast, some couldn’t do either yet there were other who excelled in both and had flew in from all over the world to compete for the world title and were aiming to set the world record.
Later in the month I travelled to South Wales for one of the experiences of my sporting lifetime at Breca Swim Run Gower. 40km of running over 1,800 meters of elevation and 6.5km of swimming in the sea with 16 transitions meant this one definitely gets the title of ‘most challenging quirky race’ as it put me out of my comfort zone more than any event ever has done. The course was epic, the views were breathtaking and the sense of accomplishment at the finish was monumental.
In October I went back to the Gherkin Challenge for the third time. Although stair running is becoming more popular there is still a very limited number of opportunities to do it and this is one I really enjoy. Like many quirky races, it’s for a great cause and offers a unique challenge and what better finish line than the top of one of our capital city’s tallest buildings?
The last quirky race of the year for me was the Tunnel Vision Dawn Run. Getting up super early in freezing cold conditions wasn’t enjoyable but running from darkness into light as dawn broke was something pretty special as was going through the 412 meter tunnel in both directions.
For full reviews on all of the above mentioned events and many others click here: https://quirkyraces.com/featured-races/
Happy New Year everyone. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for all our upcoming events and news: https://m.facebook.com/Quirkyraces/