Monday, 6 April 2015

Dash of the Titan 2015 Review- Bramble Warrior

Jemma Takes on Dash of the Titan 2015 at Thoresby

Dash of the Titan 2015
A tough start- Jemma carrying a heavy tyre
New Month and  a nice local event which we've been keen to test out as last time it clashed with a Spartan race.  This race is so local it took less 15 mins to get to the location which is pretty rare for us and a definite bonus. 

I saw Dash of the Titan advertised as a lapped event of up to 15 miles and thought it would be perfect training ready for the upcoming Dirty Weekend, as I need to get my distance up.  I planned to do two laps at 10 miles and after the Deerstalker event I have been putting in lots of training so wanted to see where I am at.  

Initially it took us a while to find the entrance to the event just after the Thoresby Hall Spa on the left two banners were placed by gate posts but we didn't see any other signs beforehand. (good job I am local ).  After our initial faux pas of overshooting the turning like a number of cars behind us we made our way to the car park along a farmers track. Check in was easy and there seemed no issues for me and everyone pitched in to get everyone checked in and marker penned their number onto faces. 

Watch Jemma's event footage below from Youtube, 

Jemma in the green of Team Muddy Race at the start of Dash of the Titan 2015

This is the first event I had come race ready and chosen my dubbed "race bottoms" (Because they've been sowed up a number of times) on with my black Sondico base layer with my new Rat race buff I received from the Deerstalker race the previous month. And of course I had my customary green Muddy Race Team shirt on. 

I took gels and had my hydration pack with water. I found at the Deerstalker that water stations don't seem to be where you need them to be and aiming to do 10 miles of the circuit I thought I'd need the extra comfort of having water 'on tap' for later on.   

Liam headed off to marshal and was briefed by Muddy Duck on where he was going to be for the day on course. Muddy Duck asked me if I would be having full leg cover as I would need it.  I said that in this weather I'd rather have lower leg uncovered so would dry quicker than have tights on. Oh I wish I had either the full length tights or my calf guards now as my legs have been seriously scratched up. But otherwise I was warm enough for my two laps wearing what I had chosen.

I was in the 1st wave and hoping to see if could get in with a chance of a UK OCR Championship place and had my fingers crossed I'd be able to do it. We started with a brief and was told to grab a tyre. Orange tyres for the girls but there weren't any oranges left when I got to them so subsequently had a blokes tyre. This made my work harder up and down the mini mound hills and then after jumping over a fence was on my way but was with the last lot of people in my group.

Dash of the Titan 2015
Jemma chasing the rest of the group after the tyre carry

1st Obstacle was a slide thing to a marsh pond bud more like a rundown as it wasn't wet. Then after a bit free running I reached the slalom course of up and down brick walls into a dirt covered concrete base. The cargo net to get up one section was a bit tricky as I couldn't get my left foot into net the further up I got. Getting down an even larger drop wasn't my favourite at all as we were pre warned not to just jump as the flooring was hard concrete and not spongy as would appear. The last wall section had ropes to help up but these were thin and I found them not much use. I had helped a couple of people up the wall and was glad they waiting to give we a lift alongside help from Liam who had been marshaling the section though I gave a muddy boot to his head (so sorry) and was told later had the same experience a couple more times throughout the day whilst helping people up. (proper trooper).

After this the course lead into the forest and I had to find a path (any path) though the trees.  I saw at a distance my friend Winnie who was along to support armed with Liam's trusty DSLR camera. Her encouragement gave me a bit of a boost and I quickly reached the Monkey bars. The camera guy helped me up to them as was so high for me at 5 foot 4 I needed a step platform. Bless the guy as he held my waist as such and I managed 4 rungs before losing grip. That's the most ever done which I was really pleased about.  

After this, again we were led into the forest for more free running which was slowed by brambles, brambles and more brambles with quite of few trees and branches in the mix too.  It became a slow job getting through these brambles- consistently getting whipped and cut and I almost fell over a few times as I lost my footing. 
A muddy pause for the camera

Dash of the Titan seriously used what was around the land to best use.

  • Jump into a large brick storage unit which had straw in it which you had to get through.
  • U shaped tunnel to army crawl through.
  • A nice log carry circuit. (I had to take a big log not a tiny one as was using my new action camera to video the event)
  • Army net crawl in a muddy bog though this proved tricky with a camera on my head as the net was sinking in the thick mud so I might be best to use the chest strap for the camera next time.
  • Long trench filled with water which had netting on so had to duck yourself quite low to get through it
  • A mammoth hill between the trees must have been at least 15 times in two sections ( I got lost took a wrong turning along with a few others at that point too)
  • A lovely waist high wade in a large muddy pond. One of the helpers did shout "Water ahead" although I initially assumed they meant a hydration station.
  • Spiders web system, though with a hydration and head cam this proved difficult.
  • A two wall combo. One about 6 foot and another over 8 foot with holes cut out for hands and feet. I had an epic fail on the 6 foot wall as someone gave me a boost to get over, couldn't quite get a grip on the wall and ended up landing flat out on the ground. 
  • Two more pond crossing which were made much harder by the mud and marsh. Whilst nicely wet we were given a sandbag to go through another trench. On lap 2 the sandbags were very wet and heavy.
  • Followed by another long army craw in a trench to finish. 

Passing the beef cows having their mid afternoon food I came to the straw bales which we had seem on the way into the car park and thought "oh fuck" as knew there was quite a few. On the first 4 I used the string that held them together to help me up and over and then tried to see if I could run and jump onto them and that technique worked well. I could see the event village now and knew surly I should be near the end now and after a short free run into the forest over a farm gate and a few man made hills I came to the last obstacle- a trench which had water dips in which had to navigate through while with logs to keep you low. At this point I was asked if I was finishing or going out for a second lap. I showed my event number for my official timing and off I went on the tyre carry 

Plenty of wild running at Dash of the Titan
By this point the brambles had lashed my skin felt like millions of pins in my legs but I knew needed to carry on through again. I don't know if its better to know what your about to face or be total clueless about it. The second lap for me was a case of focusing on getting to the next obstacle and ticking them off a mental list I had.

On lap 2 I saw some of the obstacles where tarpaulin was used and the army nets didn't seem to hold up well on the second lap but I am sure that be resolved in the next event. The event I do believe should have been the called dash of the Titan battle of the brambles edition. The event village didn't have any markings to lead spectators round parts of the course so some parts were quite lonely as the course did such a good job in splitting us all up so random cheers would have been ace and would have helped me along.

As there wasn't many people who decided to opt for the multiple laps it seemed that I was one of the last to finish. Everything was shutting down in the event village but we managed to grab a burger and drink between us and knowing it wouldn't be far to get home was a bonus. I certainly did have the right T-shirt Muddy race on.

Dash of the Titan 2015
Jemma looking rather muddy at the finish and in need of a shower and food
This race has shown that need to get better with upper body and confidence in my footing. I'm getting better at making my way through muddy bogs. I found the free/ wild running elements hard with the ground littered with bramble tree roots branches, trees and pine cones I it found hard to able to navigate round. This cost me time but as with everything I know what I need to work on leading up to the the Dirty Weekend and other future events.

It was a shame not to get a goody bag as at most races we seem to get a energy bar or a drink at the end but I did get a nice T shirt. It's cotton which means it will get little use. Ideally I'd have preferred a tech T-shirt as would wear in the gym as I like to show my race t-shirts off.  But that's my personal preference.  

I am absolutely gutted that the next event from Dash of the Titan is a team race which will be when I am in Wales taking part in the Fan Dance although I will be back as I believe this event will get better and we need to support midlands events or simply wont get them.

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