I’m writing this race report while the pain is still fresh in my memory (and my legs!) and just in case I make the same mistake next year as I did this year and decide to enter this race again!
Just kidding Human Race Events people, we love you, really….maybe not at this precise moment, or even over the next few days, but all will be forgiven in time for the next race 😉
First things first though, I am unofficially renaming this event ‘MountainMan’. There was barely any mud (which is no bad thing) but plenty of hills…and double the quantity if you did the 15km which comprised of two laps (the 10km consisted of a 2.5km lap followed by one of the 7.5km laps).
I lost count of how many hills there were and they were unforgiving…for about a 3 mile section there was one hill after the other until I admit, on lap two, I did cry out in agony. My legs were not happy I can tell you! And I certainly had a sense of humour failure when I saw the witty signposts with ‘Climb Harder’ and ‘Climb Even Harder’ written on them 😉
I’m sure if we added all the hills up we could have landed our first canicrosser on the moon!
If I haven’t put anyone off from doing it next year 😉 then here’s the full low down on the race…
Set in the grounds of the MOD in Camberley, MudMan is the third in the Human Race Off-Road series. As with IceMan last month, I can’t fault the organisation, atmosphere and marshalling of this event. Most importantly, canicrossers were made to feel very welcome as always – the dogs even got a treat from one of the lovely ladies at the finish. Red and Sid say thank you!
Sidney (aka Super Sid) was my trusted running partner and together we took on the 15km distance. This consisted of wide, compacted and stony paths (which could be a bit tricky underfoot), narrow forest trails and gullies – a challenging course as I mentioned, but certainly not boring!
There was one small section (c40 metres) where we had to run through water. This was hard/concreted underfoot and the water only came up to shin level. But apart from that, and the occasional puddle, the terrain was dry and firm. Therefore, you do not need the grippiest of trainers (do not be misled by the event name) and are probably better off running in a pair of trail trainers. You may also prefer a bit of cushioning given the hard ground.
There was a great turn out of both canicrossers and dogless runners across the two distances but I did find this one much more conducive for overtaking compared to IceMan.
I wasn’t constantly having to shout out to warn runners that I was coming past them (which is good etiquette when you have a dog attached to you). I’m presuming this was mainly due to the predominance of wide paths and the fact that the volume and steepness of the hills would have helped thin out the runners fairly quickly. To be honest, I was grateful for this as I needed all my energy for the hills! ;
The signposting on the course was easy to follow – there were arrows every few metres and ‘no go’ areas were taped off to avoid any confusion.
The race was chip timed (you are given a chip to attach to one of your trainers) with results texted to your mobile within seconds of crossing the line – a nice little feature!
We also received a free Craft technical t-shirt which is so much better than the cotton ones they gave out last year.
Parking and registration was very straightforward but make sure you allow 5-10 minutes to get to the start area.
All in all, this is a fabulous course for anyone who’s looking for a challenging off road race with a bit of a bite to it. It’s tough but hugely satisfying when you cross that finish line. And if anyone is in any doubt as to how much the dogs enjoy canicross, just come to one of these races or check out the photos and you’ll see how much fun they have. Sidney absolutely loves it. He just wants to run and when we finish he always gives me a great big sloppy kiss!
Thanks Human Race Events for putting on a great event and for welcoming canicrossers. See, I’m already starting to like you again 🙂
And a special thank you to the talented Tanja Russell for the wonderful photos.
I’ll end this write up with one of my favourite pictures from the race, the lovely Olivia & her boy Rubin…