I finally got back into it! Here is a review of the Dirty Dozen Dash. After many months of hiatus and a mud drought I was able to get back into some kind of OCR action. Granted this wasn’t as muddy as I hoped I was grateful that I could get into action and blast out some cobwebs so to speak. I was fortunate enough to speak to Doug Spence on the first podcast on mudtap and found Doug to be the most friendly and interesting obstacle course do-founder and OCR designer and builder you could meet.
How well a registration and village is laid out gives you an indication in the care and attention that goes into the event and course itself. Getting to the site was quickly and easy. I had no trouble finding the site and parking was well managed and clear. It is a nice difference not to pay for parking and have a spacious dry good parking area.
Getting to registration was easy as it was on the other side of the cars. I was processed quickly and received my race number, a voucher with a £10 discount for the next event in September. In my pouch I also had a bag tag, a wrist band for the race and last but not least a paper timing chip for those concerned about results.
The white bag tag was easy to stick on and the bag drop areas was spacious and had more than enough space to cope with the demand of the day. I would suggest that number areas get dedicated as this makes bag retrieval and management a lot easier.
The September event is also a qualifying event for the OCR world championship with Dirty Dozen Races being one of the few in the UK which has this status. This attests to the quality of the event and I expect high hopes for those participating in it. The numbers for participating in the OCR championship is limited so if you want to challenge yourself book early. You can challenge yourself on each distance depending on your fitness and distance preference.
The village areas was relatively simple in layout but this is didn’t reflect the quality of what was on offer. The food stand had good quality pulled boar sandwiches and other food on offer and the bar was of a good size and a decent selection of drinks. The medical area was spacious enough and toilets were nicely situated but also fenced off slightly.
The only thing that I would say is that a changing area would be welcome especially if you need to towel off or to change your clothing post event. Doing it in a portaloo is not easy and with heavy traffic not something you would want to experience. Luckily these were clean and dry which was welcome.
There was a small selection of commercial partners on site and this included Obstacle Kit Ltd with founder Tim Lovett on site. He was there to participate and to support his team in their efforts to take part in the race. OCR Kit team is amongst a number of growing teams who are producing fast and exciting athletes to compete in the growing OCR circuit.
It was nice to see a first aid tent to deal with any on site injuries and to then if need be hand over for professional treatment. It’s not something you see often and this is a nice consideration that DD has done overall. The bar was opposite the first aid tent, just in case you needed something to steady the nerves. This was a nice large area with a good selection of drinks.
The first batch of participants started gathering from about 9:30 and warm up started for the more enthusiastic or elite runners. The warm up was led by Emma Watts of Bootcamp Revolution. The first 1km or so was straight forward running over fields and then into a river. Over the rest of the course you ended up traversing the river a number of times. The obstacles included a spider wall which I made a mistake in rushing to get on and slipped off which necessitated burpees.
There were barbed belly’s, a sheep dip, bladder ladder, log carry but with a nice uneven what would have been a mini mud track if it was wet. All of the sheep dips had undulating surfaces and if muddy would have been real fun. The bitch ditch was mice and deep and big but dry as a bone. A net climb was also added into the big obstacles and in various ins and outs of the water course there was some ropes to use to get out as well.
There was a nice swim thrown into the mix which was a 400m swim and half way through you had to duck under some water pontoons or barrels. This worked in my favour as I am a decent swimmer I was able to overtake a number of people.
The final stretch as you came out of the water course was the last 800m or so which finished off with the last 3 obstacles which were as follows, the Hang ’em high, Irish table and last but not least the big walls.
The finish was as sprint to the end and i finished in a respectable 59 minutes. Doug was there at the finish to greet every finisher and to be there for a photo op with each person or team finishing. You don’t get that personal service very easily and it s a nice finish to a good event. The obligatory beer and t-shirt is always welcome post race. I also like the t-shirt unlike the Spartan and Tough Mudder ones it doesn’t feel a plasticky and was of a nice size as large normally ends up being a bit tight and I am not a big guy.
Overall I enjoyed the event, the course in itself had some nice twists to them. I liked the walls and the Irish Table was a nice wall obstacle. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make the Dozen and look forward to doing more of the DD events. I liked the quality of the obstacles, they were well built and no rough edges on the wooden walls. Everything was built to a high standard which attests to Doug’s obsessive approach in building quality obstacles.
His personalised approach and involvement in the event is fantastic. Greeting all finishers is a mammoth task as he is there for the full duration of the event right up to the last finisher and that is extraordinary in itself.
- Good obstacles
- Well thought out course
- First aid tent
- Well planned village
- Nice T-Shirts and a bobble hat beanie at finish
- Race tags and bag tags with a nice bag drop off area.
- Personalised greeting and finish by “The Beard”
- Good parking
- Clean toilets
- No changing or shower area – I could be wrong on this as the last tent next to the first aid could have been it just might have missed it!
- Not enough people
- Not enough mud
Why do I say that not enough people is a con? End of the day a awesome course needs more participants to stay viable. DD is a awesome fun filled friendly event that a wide range of people can do regardless of physical capability. Not having a changing room is a bit of a hassle especially post race. With winter season approaching any rainy weather makes changing in the open a hassle.
The lack of mud is not something that is in Doug’s control and I listed it as a con as it makes an event loads of fun, getting dirty is what its all about. Compared to last years Spartan sprint which was quite hilly this was a flat course but the technical differences make up for the lack of hills. The friendly and personalised attention is what makes this course special. A must have in your event list.