Pukka Up: World War Run 10 mile

World War Run, designed to commemorate WWI was put on at the NUTS venue by the cheeky little company Pukka Races. My interactions with the Pukka team lead me to think that they’re a really sound bunch, and they put on both serious, timed events such as this, and also the hilariously punny ‘Only Fools Ride Horses’.

I expected grit, I expected mud, and I expected a banging atmosphere. With a strong RAW team presence and a cosy event village, this is exactly what I got. The only downside to the event start was the portaloo shortage – all well and good when you’re a boy that needs a pee, but since the vast majority of OCRacers are nervous poopers, this was a serious problem.

Everything from registration to the start was very simple, and the weather made it a pretty decent spectator event too. Our support team bedded down on Dryrobes and watched us trot off into the distance, and so begins my first gripe with the race – I don’t like distance for distance’s sake. Running a lap around a field just makes me sad. This view is probably not shared by many, but I feel it, and this is my blog, so there.

The Course

A lot of the course dipped in and out of the NUTS training venue, and thus was familiar to me, which really helped with technique and getting past previous ‘nemesis’ obstacles like the fireman’s pole, hang tough, monkey bars, etc. The nutcracker even featured, which made me very happy. The first part of the run was VERY obstacle heavy, meaning some bottlenecks for the later waves, but as I was running the elite (dahhhling) wave I wasn’t affected by this in the first lap. Obstacle failure led to a very reasonable log carry. Then off into the woods for some twists turns, hills, jumps, mangles, mud pits, giant puddles and other such fun. Nothing that I couldn’t handle, and thankfully not many things I hadn’t seen before…

Until I got handed a paintball mask and hidden assassins in the woods started shooting at me with paintball guns. Throwing myself through the forest, I flinched every time I heard the rat-tat-tat of the paintball guns. This section seemed to last forever. After a ball to the head, thigh and most painfully, HAND, I was finally free of it. It was at this point that I realised what pure fear can do for your race pace – I could hear my heart pounding in my throat, and my breath sounded like I was the camera operator in the Blair Witch Project, but my watch told me that I’d loped through it pretty quickly. It was such a cool dimension to add to an otherwise highly spirited race.

The rest of the race consisted of a jaunt through the ‘hilly bit’ of the surrounding forest (otherwise known as the bit that I hate), punctuated by a sandbag carry before we broke out into the fields and made our way through the gauntlet of muddy trenches and water jump en route to the finish/halfway point. Happy to see a friendly faced marshall, I thought that the second lap would be a breeze, but the wind was knocked out of my sails by a daunting inverted wall before I could begin the circuit again. Nevertheless, I cracked on, and ignoring my deep yearning for the embrace of my Dryrobe, I trudged back onto the track to complete my second lap of the excellent course.

Really kindly, people in later waves made way for anyone ‘racing’ as part of the first wave. As much as I feel like a total spanner for asking to pass through, I am still astonished by how kind and supportive people are when you are trying to aim for a position in the race. Everyone was obliging, and there was only really one utterly mortifying moment when a deep crowd queuing for the nutcracker meant a marshal actively cleared people for my approach. This forethought is really appreciated, but I did feel like a complete DICK bypassing people, mainly because I have imposter syndrome and don’t really think I *deserve * my results. This is something I’m going to have to get over, because I really am my own worst enemy.

The rest of the course passed by without a great deal of drama apart from faceplanting on a slope in the woods, but nobody saw that, so I think I got away with it. It felt really great to nail down a ten mile race, so I was happy to see the finish line, until the unthinkable happened – a bloody row of switchbacks in FULL VIEW of the spectators. I was heartbroken, betrayed, devastated, all of the sad things. Look at my face:

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WHYYYYYYY?

But all jokes aside, it was a fantastic day. I felt good, I used a SIS gel properly and got my nutrition and hydration sorted. That’s all I can ask from an event organiser and myself.

The Kit

  • UnderArmour heatgear leggings (holes in the knees, because NUTS)
  • Tech vest (A VEST !)
  • Salomon Fellraisers
  • Nike Anti-Blister socks (again, legendary)
  • Mudstacle wrag

Everything performed really well. No complaints, and the Fellraisers stood up well to the notorious mud.

The Goods

Very unusual and unique medal, cotton tee shirt, some battleoats and some much appreciated water, general feeling of happiness, etc.

The Verdict

A well organised and varied course. Could have been altered slightly to prevent bottlenecking in the obstacle-heavy first few miles, but an enjoyable slog through the woods with an added combat element. Great value for money for such a long course too!

Oh, btw, I totally got a good place and qualified for the UK OCR Champs! Hooray!

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