Newhaven Fort Zombie Run- Halloween 2016

A Night of Mixed Emotions

Review by Andrew Ibbott

As I took to short bike ride from home to the fort I was full of excitement for what would be an evening of firsts for me. This was the first time I’d done an event so local to me that I was able to ride along the cliff tops to get there, it would be my first event where zombies were involved and my first ever night run.

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The pre communication told us to arrive between 5-7 (depending on how dark we wanted it to be when we ran). On route I got a preview of some of the zombies who seemed to love being in character, which was great. I passed lots of families with plenty of children dressed up in their own spooky costumes. It was still light so I headed into the fort to look around and wait for it to get a little darker. I wanted to get the full ‘apocalypse’ experience and when it was pitch black and no children were left on the course it was time for this to begin.

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The start took us into the fort and we were led through some role play by a brave zombie hunting mercenary. He gave the course brief and set the first challenge, to retrieve an eye from a darkened room. Surprisingly to some this provided the first zombie encounter.

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We were then sent on our way under the simple rules to follow the course markings, stay alive (by keeping the tags that had been given to us that the zombies would try to retrieve) and to then locate a marshal to gain an access card which would get us back into the fort.

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We proceeded outside and into the darkness. We circled the top of the fort and then were off into the surrounding area. A mix of tarmac, gravel track, grass and narrow wooden paths created the course route. Lots of twists, turns and hills both up and down kept it interesting.

Then came the exciting bit – The zombies. Hours after starting they were still fully in role and still shocking, hunting and scaring all participants. I was loving it but sadly the fun was over all to quickly. They say time flies when you having fun but for me to do 5km in 12 minutes must have been fun overload! It was very disappointing to find out that the course was only 2km, not the 5km stated.

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In fairness the organiser did say that we could go round again, and it probably still would have been fun but just not the same experience. They said that the course was shortened due to the amount of family groups that went round in the day and I think this sums it up perfectly. An event suited to families that want fun, scares and fitness all in one. The £60 family price also seemed much more reasonable than the £40 individual adult ticket.

It was still a great experience and one I had not had before. The unusual location made it unique too. It’s an event I would highly recommend to families but one that was over a little too promptly for adults, especially when expecting a 5km. Nevertheless, the medal was amazing.

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We Launch Our First Event!!!

Quirky Christmas Mince Pie Run

On Sunday 11th December we are hosting our very first event. Please come and join us to celebrate Christmas to Quirky way!

Run 5k, eat 5 mince pies! Come and celebrate Christmas the Quirky Races way. Set in the beautiful Salcey forest participants will run (or walk) 5km while stopping to consume a full mince pie just before every kilometer.

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You will receive one Christmas sticker at each pie stop to go on your Santa hat (included with every entry) once you have eaten your pie. At the finish your 5 stickers with earn you a Christmas medal.

We encourage all participants to dress in Christmas attire. Full Santa suits, reindeers, snowmen, Christmas jumpers etc. will all be welcomed with open arms. This is a fun event for all the family.

Event details and schedule
We have been lucky enough to have been given permission to hold the event in the beautiful Salcey Forest. This will be the first ever official weekend running event held at the venue. Be sure to check out the unique tree top walk which our route will pass. The course will be a one lap route taking in a mixture of terrains along the woodland trail, cross bridges and you’ll even be tasked with clambering over a huge fallen tree.

The run will start outside the Tree Ninja aerial assult course at 10am. Please arrive at least 45 minutes beforehand to register.

All under 16’s need to be accompanied by a paying adult entrant.

Enter here:

http://www.active.com/hartwell-northants/running/trail-heads/quirky-christmas-mince-pie-run-2016?int=

Quirky Races and Mo Running Partnership

COMPETITION TIME!

On October 10th we were very pleased to announce a partnership with Mo Running via our Facebook page (https://m.facebook.com/Quirkyraces/). To celebrate this we launched a competition to give away two free entries to any Mo Run from the 17 difference venues around the UK throughout November.

MoRun is about raising awareness and funds for the Movember Foundation tackling men’s health & stopping men dying too young.

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From close to 100 competition entries we randomly selected ten people and challenged them to think up a quirky way in which they would run Mo Run should they win.

We had some great ideas come in almost all involving fancy dress including pyjamas with teddy bears, ladies dressed as the 118 men, and some outstanding unicorn costumes but one idea stood out.

So our competition winner is….. Nick Pettit and his running partner Chris Rollins who will be running the Milton Keynes Mo Run 5k on November 20th three legged while carrying a tyre!

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This evening we caught up with our lucky winners to find out how they came up with the idea and watch them in action as they had their first practice of the unorthodox aproach to a race.

Nick said “We were messaging each other to come up with an idea, I came up with the 3 legged bit and Chris said about taking Tarquin the tyre, our running group’s mascot, round with us so we decided to combine the two”.

On finding out they had won Chris said “What have you got me in to Nick”.

 

Quirky Races will be at Mo Run in MK to follow the action on the day so be sure to check that out, it should make for some interesting viewing to say the least.

There’s no such thing as a boring race

I totally understand that pounding the streets isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I get why people find road running boring and agree that the repetitiveness of your weekly parkrun can become tedious but like most things in life, you get out what you put in and any given situation is what you choose to make it.

Rather than just going through the motions, not really enjoying a single second of your flat, unscenic, multi lap road race as you plod to the finish line to take a selfie for Facebook pretending you had a great time while smiling with your medal, why not think outside the box and make it more fun, more challenging or both?

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I’ve chosen a whole host of different ways to spice up races in the past few years, each one different in its own way, all of which have made things a whole lot more interesting and given me an extra challenge while increasing my enjoyment factor. One of the simplest yet most effective ways of doing this is to carry something.

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I guess the thing I’m known for most is running while carrying a car tyre and this past weekend marked one year since I set the world record for the fastest half marathon carrying a car tyre when I ran 1:35:58 at the Great Birmingham Run. I introduced Tarquin (yes the tyre has a name) to my running group for the very reason I’m writing this article and several of our members have now done various different races with it. I personally have carried it round some obstacle course races, at parkrun and I even managed to win the Milton Keynes Mo Run 5k with it.

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As well as a tyre I’ve also raced carrying a sandbag of 20 KG and 30 KG. This really does provide an extra challenge but on the occasions I’ve done it it’s been because I’ve been accompanying people who are slower than me so it’s meant I’ve been able to run with them and still get a good workout from it myself.

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To install increased teamwork my running group (Parklands Tough Running) have also made up two wooden sleepers complete with four handles that we’ve carried together around several races. This has set about a new challenge which has brought us even closer together, made us stronger and significantly upped camaraderie.

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Another simple yet affective way of upping the amusement levels is fancy dress. Depending on how elaborate you go with your costumes will depend on how much tougher the challenge becomes. My outfits have mostly been quite lightweight but it always adds an element of happiness for what might otherwise be a standard run.

I find the best thing about racing in fancy dress is the reactions you get from your fellow competitors and the crowd. It’s something you can feed off to improve your performance. I’ve raced in a morph suit, as Spiderman, Santa, a Dalmatian and a snowman. I also unsuccessfully attempted to beat the world record for the fastest marathon dressed as a postman, which also involved carrying 10 lbs of weight in my postbag.

But my favourite way of all to increase the challenge and improve the fun in a race is to run while pushing my children in their buggy. It is an inspired way to get your kids involved in your sport at the earliest possible opportunity and the perfect way to share your passion with your little ones installing a family vibe into what could otherwise be a lonely and uninteresting journey. Seeing the smiles on their faces makes you realise why you do what you do and gives a reminder of just how great running can be.

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It’s also possible to get some good speed up while pushing a pram if you’re on the right course. I’ve managed a sub 19 minute 5k in the past on my way to victory in a Virgin Action fun run. I must admit I do enjoy overtaking runners as they look to one side in disbelief as I fly passed with my son or daughter. It does seem to give them some extra fight though as they dig in to hold on for as long as they can which is always a good thing.

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So the next time you think a race looks boring or you fancy giving yourself a bit of an extra challenge consider your options. Think the quirky way.

Obelisk Beer Mile

Running and Drinking- What’s not to love?

Beer mile racing seems to have become quite popular in the last few months with several events billing themselves as ‘World Championships’ from America to the UK. The Obelisk Beer Mile wasn’t claiming any such titles. This event was all about having fun, bringing together some local running communities and combining two things people enjoy doing but doing them in an entirely different way to normal.

The rules were simple. Drink one beer (or larger) before every quarter mile lap equalling a total of 4 beers and one mile of running. Sounds easy right? Well I can tell you it most certainly isn’t!

Arriving at the Obelisk Centre in Northampton on Friday evening I was thoroughly looking forwards to what would be my first experience at such an event. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done plenty of running and plenty of drinking in my time, just not at the same time.

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This was a low key race open to anyone but as it was organised by members of the Northampton Road Runners and Parklands Jog and Run that’s where most of the participants came from. There was a lovely, friendly atmosphere and anticipation grew as the jugs of alcohol were brought from the bar to the tables set up at the start area. There was a choice of Worthington’s bitter or Carling larger which was then poured into plastic half pint glasses ready from consumption.

As we were asked to gather at the start line just before 7pm everyone seemed excited yet apprehensive not knowing how they would fair mixing two favourite past times.

It was explained that the full glass of drink had to be downed and put upside down over the participants head to show it was empty all within a 10 meter zone before running could commence. If this wasn’t adhered to an extra lap forfeit was in place, the same punishment that came for being sick (nice!)

It was then time to begin. But unlike most races there was no running talking place as the starter shouted to word ‘go’. First a beer needed to be drank. I went with Carling and managed to get it down fairly quickly. Not a fast as some though who had already gained a good 20 meters on me.

I used my running speed to good affect and managed to take the lead by the half way point of the first lap. Burping every few steps I made it back to the ‘fuel station’ first. After only a few gulps of my second drink others arrived but I got away still in the lead.

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I realised that drinking while out of breath I significantly harder than normal so my tactic on this lap was to push hard then easy off at the final turn with around 100 meters to go. It was a strategy that extended my lead but didn’t make the drinking any easier. In fact this third lager was going down considerably slower. I still set off on the penultimate lap with a lead but it had been cut somewhat.

My legs were going well but my stomach was now acting like a washing machine in full flow. As I arrived to tackle the final beverage I knew I wasn’t going to be a pleasant one. I was half way through when I was joined by the next runner. His company was only brief however as he drown his beer in one and flew off in the lead. I forced the last few sips down and gave chase.

At around the same place I’d taken the lead on the first lap I’d cut the deficit to a meter. This time though my tummy was wondering why on earth I was running rather than laying down and not throwing up was now a genuine concern.

Neither of us fancied a sprint finish and we were almost certain it would result in an unpleasant mess so we agreed to run through the line together. As we did so the larger than expected crowd cheered us in and we stopped the clock at a surprisingly faster than expected 7 minutes 35 seconds. We were rewarded with an awesome (joint) winners medal and a really original race memento in the form of a pint glass with the event’s logo on. Every runner and volunteer got one of these.

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We applauded in all the other finishers who like us ran through the line with a mixture of happiness of finishing such a fun race and uneasiness of holding down the drink.

The woman’s race went right down to the wire with two ladies, Liz and our Judgement Day- The Unknown reviewer Natasha (https://quirkyraces.com/2016/09/16/judgement-day-the-unknown-2016/) who has been teetotal for the last 15 years. They were both at the final drinks stop together with Nat heading out first. Liz, the faster runner of the two, was really struggling to get her final beer down and by the time she had Nat had build up what looked like an uncatchable lead. This didn’t turn out to be the case though as Liz just edged ahead on the final straight winning by the shortest of margins.

Everyone seemed to have a really enjoyable time and the best news of the night was still to come at the presentation when it was announced that there would be a Christmas version of the Beer Mile taking place on the afternoon of Sunday 4th December at the same venue. Quirky Races might just have a bit more to do with that event so keep an eye out on our website and Facebook page (https://m.facebook.com/Quirkyraces/) for that one.

Here’s a video of the action unfolding.

The Big BRO Race

Review by Rob Corless.

You never know quite what to expect when turning up to a new race on its opening event. Especially when a completely new concept is involved but the this one didn’t disappoint!

The Big BRO race (BRO standing for Bike, Run, Obstacle) was billed as ‘a triathlon with a difference’ and involved a 22km cycle on road the start with, followed by a 4km trail run and a 1km course packed with 25 obstacles to finish. 100% of the £45 entry fee was donated to Breast Cancer Now, the UK’s leading Beast Cancer charity.

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Nervously arriving in Barrow, I was greeted by a small but adequate setup with bike racks and plenty of obstacles. The registration tent was well organised with everything I needed in the race pack and a friendly good morning from the team.

Other people were beginning to arrive and it was clear the range of the 100 participants was vast.

It would be 3 waves setting off 10 minutes apart from one another. I was in wave 2. My bike was ready and I was all kitted up and rearing to go as I watched a very serious looking wave 1 set off from the road. We were then called up by megaphone for a friendly race briefing before heading out to the start line.

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A short wait later and we were off into a fairly hilly first few miles of the course. I was worried about finding my way round without getting lost but that was soon put to rest when on every turning there was a sign and a marshal cheering and directing us in the right way.

Legs burning I pushed hard on the peddles and before I knew it I had a cycling partner for the duration which made things go easier, no coasting rules in place here luckily! After the first half of the course it seemed to level out and I settled in to finish a well set out route in which all abilities could complete as fast or slow as they wanted.

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Coming back to the changeover point I dismounted my bike and was greeted by yet more marshals and supports giving everyone great encouragement. Racking the bike and heading back out over the timing mat for the run, I was about to find out this was to be the hardest bit.

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The 4k run, which was again very well marshalled, felt twice the distance with jelly legs from the ride. A downhill on road lead us to a farm track for 1k before a long hill to finish back at the transition zone where this time we were straight through and onto the 1km obstacles course.

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Everything from a hay bale pyramid to incline/ decline monkey bars, Cargo nets to water ditches, A rope climb and walls of 4, 8 and 10 feet. The rules stated that a adequate attempt must be made on obstacles or a 1 minute time penalty was given, to be served immediately on coarse. This was a gruelling last kilometre to finish but also good fun.

Awaiting me before the finish line was the ninja wall with two different heights. Picking the bigger of the two I was applauded as I reached the top on the second attempt and crossed the finish. I was rewarded with a well stocked goody bag including food, water a medal and cake!

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The chip timing could be viewed on a screen immediately and massages were also available.

This event gave out a really good vibe and atmosphere and I had a brilliant day all round. I will certainly be back next year after a very well organised, friendly good fun race and to top it off over £4000 was raised for the charity.

*Photos by Martin Grayling who is also donating all profit to the charity. http://www.martingrayling.com/

Dogstacle South

One Man and his Dogstacle

Review by Andrew Ibbott

The day had finally arrived where two of my passions collide. Canicross (running with your dog) and obstacle course racing- DOGSTACLE (can you see what they did there?)

Although pre race communication from the host ‘Zeus races’ had stated that the obstacles will not be man made but natural it would still be a great challenge and I was still very excited.

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The day didn’t start brilliantly as the venue wasn’t signed greatly and although I managed to catch a glimpse of the only sign to show that you at the right location many were not so luckily and drove straight past.

On entering the grounds parking was simple but many were surprised by the £4 compulsory charge to park, they did state this was going to charity but, not everyone likes surprises and luckily I was carrying some change.

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Registration was quick and easy which is always appreciate and the Dogfit stall (this was the event sponsor) was very useful offering plenty of kit advise.

As time past it went from a very empty field to a lively gathering of dog lovers, with hounds and humans of all shapes and sizes. The dogs certainly adding to the atmosphere making it feel much bigger than the quite low key race it was.

The day was split into two races, a 5km and 10km, with the 10km being 2 laps of the 5km course. After a briefing we were called to the start line and those that wanted to race were invited to the front. As the dogs and their owners gathered there was an overwhelming noise of barking that seems to raise the atmosphere. Dogs are certainly the most excitable racers that I have ever seen (or heard!) As the starting siren went the runners shot off, many humans being dragged by four legged friends.

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The course promised a mix of terrains and natural obstacles and it delivered. It started out in a field of long grass which unfortunately was hiding some large holes below providing not just a obstacle but hazard for most. We then darted into the woods and the course got exciting as in no time we were jumping gullies, climbing fallen trees and ascending short, steep banks.

A couple of big loops of the same grassy field wasn’t as enjoyable but we soon entered back into the woods for some more fun. As well as tight technical terrain the woodland also provided some much needed shade on such a warm day, and for those that needed it, a few natural water stops for the dogs.

Another section in the field followed which wasn’t pleasant with the sun beaming down but we were soon back in the woods for the final section. More technical tracks followed before some mud pits. This was made to look easy by most of the dogs with their humans companions struggling a bit more. But a nice addition which pushed the level of the challenge up a few notches. One last long field section lead to the finish line or end of the first lap for us 10k runners.

At the finish line the dogs were treated well with bowls of water and baths and there was a dog themed goodie bag. These were nice touches that showed a caring for the dogs which was a theme that ran throughout the day. Not to mention that both dog and human received their own medal to wear with pride.

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This race wasn’t the most challenging obstacle course but nor was it meant to be. It was a fun event which still provided a good challenge for most and an opportunity to get out and enjoy doing the things I love doing in anew experience of having my dog along side me for company.

At the end of the day, did the dogs love it? Yes. Did my shoes get muddy? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Will I sign up again? At the price it was this year most definitely. With a few tweaks this will be a great event. Well done team Dogstacle.

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The next Dogstacle event- Dogstacle North, is on October 29th in Ashby-de-la-Zouch during a full day of Zeus Races events including a regular humans only OCR and a Halloween zombie run. This time there will be actual man made obstacles for dogs and the owners to negotiate adding a whole new challenge.