This month’s race was the Rat Race Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest. Based around Wembley, UK, the 10k obstacle course was 100% man-made and 100% tough. Rat Race is known in the UK for their incredible atmosphere, base areas, and impressive obstacles… and that’s exactly what we got.
The first thing you saw as you approached the start zone was a tower of shipping containers, three stories high with people climbing up and down them. There were also some enormous obstacles around the finish line, but we’ll get to that later. The registration process was simple and there were no queues. The bag drop was secure, as well as having a separate valuables drop-off point which was free of charge and could only be accessed using your password.
Now for the fun stuff.
Men’s Health really stepped their game up again this year. I’ve done the past 3 years in a row and every time the obstacles have somehow managed to beat the previous year.
Once in the starting area, there was a warm-up video before setting off around London. Obstacles began quickly, with hay bales and hurdles before being soaked by a fireman’s hose, which was much appreciated in 29c heat, as we went on to tackle the stairs of Wembley Way repeatedly while carrying cones and sandbags.
The route back down Wembley way was a lot faster, as we slid down a water slide. Obstacle after obstacle, there were new challenges as we climbed scaffolding, did tightrope walks and leapt in and out of water before the real fun began.
The course took us down into a knee-depth river where we found a tunnel. The tunnel was enormous and seemed to go on for a good few minutes, but participants eventually made it to the end and found the light again after stumbling around in the pitch black for a while.
The next area was called the ‘playground zone’ and it was exactly as you’d imagine. It began with a space-hopper race, which may have seemed easy as a child but it turns out they are exhausting when you are of adult size. We leaped over pommel horses, went head-first over spinning barrels and made our way through a giant net full of exercise balls.
With obstacles to test upper body as well as core strength, this 10k was a proper workout, and left you feeling it afterwards, but had small foam mats at the bottom of some obstacles. I can’t imagine they would have helped much if you did fall, but they made it feel a lot safer at the time. Having run through shipping containers filled with dry ice, and crawled through tunnels made from scaffolding, the course was almost over as we approached the main obstacle zone.
Leaping from a platform onto a stunt mattress, we set off up the three-storey shipping container pile, crossing a cargo net and making our way back down again, before arriving at the final obstacle.
It was, of course, the travellator. Being the second travellator I’ve encountered in UK OCR’s, this was definitely at a faster speed than the previous one, but it was one last push to the top of the obstacle and a leap down to the finish. After collecting your medal, there was a free photo with your finishing time above your head, and a load of merchandise to look at, as well as being given a free rubber bracelet, headband and t-shirt.
The only negative aspects of the race were the fact that photos had to be bought (unless you were happy with the watermarked ones) and the water stations were a little too far apart for the temperature. But if those are the only two faults, you’re not doing too badly.
For a race with innovative, fun obstacles and the perfect mixture of challenges and achievable obstacles, I’d recommend Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest to anybody, from first-time runners to the experience.
Go get yourself signed up!
I might be only 5'3" but I'm determined to get out there and compete in the most difficult of races.. No matter how high the obstacles may be!
My favourite OCRs to date are Nuclear Rush and Rat Race Dirty weekend, but I'm always trying new races and looking for a bigger challenge!
Latest posts by Holly Worthington (see all)
- Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest – Wembley, London - August 5, 2016
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- Nuclear Rush, 12k, Brentwood, UK - May 21, 2016