Rough Runner obstacle race

I’m a genuine Roughian’, with a wristband and a medal to prove it.

This weekend, a few of the Wonder Woman Crew took on ‘Rough Runner’, a 10km obstacle course race on Clapham Common based on the likes of ‘The Crystal Maze’, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Total Wipeout’. Originally five of us were meant to run, but after an accident and a trip to A&E the night before, Kirsty was relegated to support crew and picture-taker (on crutches). So Nicky, Steve Suz and myself set off after a brief warm up, enjoying the gorgeous weather that morning.

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On most of the obstacle course races that I’ve tacked in the past, the organisers ease you into it; with logs to jump over/under and tyres to slip through. However, with Rough Runner, each of the obstacles were linked to a separate TV show and had to be tackled with not just brute determination, but with a certain amount of skill and tactics. The first obstacle involved holding onto a rope and zip-lining across a pool, trying to avoid dangling barrels. The first few obstacles came quickly within the first kilometre, jumping from podium to podium avoiding a spinning foam bar and just trying to keep out of the water, before they petered out as the 5km loop took a more direct route from obstacle to obstacle, whilst the 10km meandered its way around the Common.

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My favourite obstacle came early on in the race. Nicknamed ‘Punch Bags’ Revenge’ it involved walking along a wobbly balance beam above water, holding onto a punch-bag for balance. I, foolishly, didn’t look at the difference between the two beams (one for the taller and one for the shorter) and ended up on the one for those who must be giants. At one point, I almost lost my balance and grabbed on to the punch-bag for dear life, wrapping my legs around it like a monkey until it swung back round to the beam and could regain my footing. Then, Steve, who had already braved and mastered the obstacle, helped me over the last bit as the rope was too high up for me to hold on to!

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Nicky absolutely shined in an obstacle involving pulling yourself up onto a wooden plank, hanging by your arms then swinging your legs up to hold on to it (using some incredible core strength) before shimmying across. Steve was the only one of us to get across the balls (very like Total Wipeout but these, once again, were suspended)… even if it involved some monkey-bars worthy of a DQ! Suz showed her evil genius side on two different obstacles, first on the Punch wall by easily traversing along and pushing the punching gloves through to the other side to get the other person (me) to make their climb even more difficult. Then, by running up the steep quarter-pipe, pulling herself up by a rope and offering a helpful hand to the next runner (me again), only to whip the rope away at the last moment, watching as I slid mournfully back down to the bottom again. Join me in raising your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimised by Suzanne Lubuska (and points if you get the reference).

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All too quickly, the kilometres ticked away and before we knew it, we were having pigeons rugby tackle us as we passed the 9km mark and zoomed towards the infamous ‘Travelator’ which is essentially a treadmill on an incline, going the opposite way to where you want to go. The challenge is not to lean forward too much when you hit the belt, something that took Steve, Suz and myself a couple of tries – whilst Nikki flew up like the gazelle that she is.

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Then it was back down the net and over the finish line! It was a race that was great fun with some really different obstacles; plus, with the 5km option, it’s something that I’d recommend to people who are new to OCRs and want to try them out.

Here’s to the next one!!

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