Despite this being my first year of OCR, I have managed to attend a LOT of races. One of the biggest feathers missing from my cap, however, was Judgement Day. This had left a big hole in my OCR calendar, and I’m really not sure why I hadn’t signed up to JD Bordon. Perhaps I had anticipated being dead after worlds. Either way, I found myself on the cusp of a depressive episode, late on a Friday night, suffering preemptive FOMO as I saw people getting ready for Judgement Day. Then, like a gift from the muddy gods, a ticket fell into my lap, and then I really didn’t have any excuse not to tear apart my room looking for race kit.
I arrived at Bordon in just enough time to hop onto the 9.30 wave. Registration was effortless thanks to great communication from the JD team and volunteers. Every staff member or marshal I met was super helpful and well informed. The car park was about 750m away from the start line, but I’d been made aware of that beforehand, so I was prepared for a little trek. The small, well signposted registration paddock had enough food to go around and a kit stall, as well as ample toilets for the modest but dedicated turnout.
The start itself was MC’d by a great guy, who I’m pretty sure didn’t stop for breath for the whole day. After a rather half arsed warm-up on my part (because I was half listening, half greeting people I hadn’t seen in a while), we were off. Mercifully, Bordon (which is a very interesting venue that I wouldn’t ordinarily get to explore), is flatter than an X Factor group performance, so the main terrain-based challenge came from its texture: sand. There was sand EVERYWHERE, which makes for an interesting slog underfoot, particularly if you are carrying extra weight (thanks, American food), and also sandbags.
Obstacles came in the form of several innovative rigs – one purely for monkey bars of varied height, one comprising hang tough high and low rings, and one absolute bastard of a thing with bars, hanging balls, chains, and other stuff I didn’t even bother looking at after I fell off it. My arms had NOT recovered from America and unbeknownst to me, I had a beast of a chest infection brewing, so it’s no wonder I felt weedy on the rigs. Each rig came with an apt penalty run in the event of failure.
Along the course, there were various walls, small, high, inverted and this horrible hurdle that was like a pointy Irish table, that I had to admit defeat on and ask for a boost over from a passing gentleman. I teamed up with fellow Mudd Queen, Delyth a couple of KM in, and she became my sanity saving run buddy and casual stepping stone when it came to the big walls. As for the inverted walls, whilst I was absolutely capable of doing them myself, I definitely noticed a reduction in my own strength and ability, through lack of training, lack of recovery and also chronic laziness.
The carries were tough – do-able, but certainly taking you past what would normally be considered comfortable. I think I could have run with my tyre for ages, but I saw a lady struggling with a considerably heavier one, and swapped hers for mine, which made me a little more enthusiastic to get it over with. The sandbag carry sapped a lot of strength as it took me through long puddles, but by the end of the bucket carry, I was talking to myself, out loud, reassuring myself and everyone around me that it was nearly over.
The only bottleneck I encountered on what was a very well-paced and thought out course, was when queuing for the warped wall run. Some bright spark had decided to queue practically underneath the thing, affording very little run up, and as a result, a lot of people failed the first attempt. After some more sensible marshaling, the wall was deemed a one-attempt obstacle to allow better traffic flow, and this left me all the more determined to get up and over first time, and unaided. I did it. It wasn’t graceful, and it felt like it took about seven minutes, but I did it. Sadly it was cordoned off to the 12k runners by the time it came for me to do it again. It was a great obstacle, and a real spectacle for finishers and supporters alike.
I also really enjoyed the trident drag, despite an unnecessary comment from another participant, claiming that my stone was lighter than hers (it wasn’t). The irony is that just before she said it, I was actually on my way to help her with hers, as she was really struggling. Bitch got left.
It was great to see familiar faces marshaling, and to meet some people that I had only previously spoken to online.
Basically, I had a bloody great time, and both the course and organisers are fabulous. I had the pleasure of meeting one of the RDs on the finish line, and he was an absolute babe. Quick cuppa and a bacon sandwich later, and I was back on the road, dirty, tired, but happy.
- Virus staywarm tights and X-form top – unfortunately, I’m not a fan. Virus undoubtedly keeps you warm when you’re dry, but unfortunately the clothes got wet and stayed wet after any dip into water. As a result, I got cold waiting for the warped wall, and found it hard to get my legs going again. Virus have been very gracious about my concerns over this kit, as it didn’t perform at worlds either. I think it will be fantastic for recovery after cold races, but I’m not sure I’ll be racing wet courses in it.
- Asics Fuji Runnegade trainers – YAAAAS. These shoes can do no wrong. I would have had a lot more sand in my socks were it not for the built in gaiters.
- Nike Anti-Blister socks – did the job, as always
- Tech top and wrag
- Xracewear shorts that I RIPPED on a crate that wasn’t even a bloody obstacle. Devastated.
- Madgrip gloves with the fingers cut off – reserving judgement on these for now.
An absolutely awesome medal, a unique and wearable long sleeved cotton shirt, Chia Charge bars and water. Lots of free sand. And some sand.
If you hadn’t already guessed from my somewhat morose musings on the World Champs, I was feeling a bit flat, incapable even. Judgement Day came at just the right time to remind me that I am indeed perfectly capable of completing races without having self-deprecating thoughts and existential crises. Big thanks to the team for such a lovely, last minute race. I cannot WAIT to do more JD events; I’m absolutely raring to go for the JD goes NUTS challenge this December, and judging from race photos from their other events, my JD experiences are only going to get better. I’m ready for Judgement Day, any day.