Welcome to our Seashell blog posts where we dive into the stories of the Seashell people.
We hope to use this space and platform to inspire others and to start important conversations.
Today we are going to be talking about my experience of taking part in the 2023 Beast race.
Obstacle course races have gained immense popularity over the years, pushing participants to their limits both physically and mentally. The Beast Race is one such event which is known for its challenging obstacles and demanding course. Even though I had just finished a course of antibiotics for tonsillitis and had not been doing any specific training for this kind of event for a few years (certainly not running training), I decided to take on this formidable challenge as part of Seashell to prove that anyone can do it. This blog will detail my experience at the Beast Race 2023, showcasing the highs, lows, and everything in between.
Preparation: Mental and Physical Toughness.
Preparing for an obstacle course race isn't just about physical training; it's also a test of mental toughness. The Beast Race was no exception. To prepare mentally, I had to remind myself repeatedly that I was capable of conquering the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that awaited me. I had been very unwell the week leading up to the event and wasn’t sure my body would be able to cope. I have done the Beast Race a couple of times before when I was training for triathlons and obstacle course races so visualization techniques, positive affirmations, and setting realistic goals played a crucial role in building my mental fortitude.
On the physical front, my training hasn’t been specific to this at all. I am now a cyclist (a sprinter to be specific) who does a few CrossFit classes to help with strength here and there but I certainly wouldn’t class myself as a runner anymore. I was excited to see how I would fare in this race with all the running.
The Big Day Arrives.
The Beast Race was held on a bright and sunny morning at Knockburn Sporting Loch, in the North East of Scotland. As I approached the race venue, the anticipation and excitement in the air was palpable. Fellow participants, some experienced and others first-timers, gathered around, sharing stories of past races and offering words of encouragement. My heat was the first of the day and as we made our way to the starting banner, we were welcomed by two friendly faces and voices who ran a warm-up/dance session a few minutes before we set off. This certainly calmed the nerves before they started the 5,4,3,2,1,GO.
The Beast Unleashed
It was a mad dash through the banner before meeting the first obstacle. The well-known hay bales. We all clambered, leapt and bounded over them before hitting the reality of the Knockburn hill. Sheltered by the hillside, it was a hot and gruelling test of mental and physical endurance to keep moving to the top. I never thought I would ever welcome the sight of a big mud pit. We all found ourselves completely submersed BUT it was extremely refreshing and genuinely inviting.
The first half of the race had a lot more running than obstacles but that soon changed in the second half.
The course had a huge range of obstacles like mud pits, barbed wire crawls, cargo nets, sandbag carries and some amazing water obstacles which included a big water slide and pads where you had to essentially run over water. Each obstacle presented a unique challenge and could all be done as an individual but I am sure it would have been a lot easier and such great fun doing it as a team. Many were in big teams and would help others get through it. It was a testament to the camaraderie that exists in the OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) community.
However, the Beast Race wasn't all smooth sailing. There were moments of doubt and fatigue, especially during the gruelling hill section that seemed to go on forever. Even though I have done this race a couple of times before (with a slightly different course), it felt brutally hard at times. This probably isn’t helped by the fact I had been unwell and not been doing any running training. However, knowing that there were lots of fun water obstacles coming up and knowing that the younger generation was out in force supporting and watching, I managed to stay motivated to finish what I started.
Triumph and the Finish Line.
As I approached the final stretch of the Beast Race, I could hear the cheers and applause of the crowd. Even though there had been a couple of big water obstacles which I presume were put towards the end so it would help wash off the mud that had accumulated over the course, the very last obstacle was another water shoot. Did it clear the mud off? Absolutely not! If you enjoy mud then this race is for you. I had such a great time but was also very happy to cross that finish line so I could then cool down. It was so lovely seeing other people cross the line. There were so many people taking part in teams for charities and many were in fancy dress which made it so much fun. If you have ever wanted to do a fun event for a charity then this is your race.
Reflection and Lessons Learned.
Taking on the Beast Race 2023 was a remarkable experience that taught me valuable lessons about perseverance, staying calm, and pushing my limits. It emphasized the importance of mental preparation and reminded me that sometimes, the biggest obstacles we face are the ones within ourselves. It also taught me that maybe doing some running training before may have helped but actually, even if you haven’t done any physical training, you can complete it. Even if you walk it, you will get around.
If you're considering participating in an obstacle course race like the Beast Race, my advice is to prepare both physically and mentally, embrace the challenges as opportunities for growth, and savor the feeling of triumph as you cross the finish line whether that be in training or on race day.
The Beast Race 2023 was an unforgettable adventure filled with moments of triumph and adversity. It's an event that will forever be etched in my memory as a testament to the power of determination and the thrill of conquering the unknown. Taking on this beast of a race was a challenge I'll cherish, and it serves as a reminder that with the right mindset, we can overcome any obstacle that comes our way. So, what's your next adventure going to be?
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