After genuinely thinking we couldn’t afford it, my Fiance and I managed to scrape together the funds to attend the second ever Rat Race and Runners World Runstock, and I’m really glad we did!
Runstock is a family friendly festival style running event, with camping and entertainment in the evening. Held on the grounds of Boughton House near Kettering the event course is a 5k trail circuit featuring classic fun Rat Race obstacles. The course was open from 10am until 6pm, with the aim to do as many laps of the circuit as you could (or wanted), collecting rubber wristbands for each lap.
There was also the option to go for the Ultra 50k challenge which got you a special medal as well as the normal finishers medal, and a distinctive vest to let everyone know how crazy you were. Every entrant got an official Runstock race tee at registration and a very substantial medal on finishing, along with the usual goodies like Buff, food and water and the latest issue of Runners World (which we already bought, boo).
What I absolutely loved about this event was how inclusive it was. As I mentioned, it was family friendly, and by this I mean the whole family. There were tonnes of kids activities in the event village, including space hoppers (which most kids ended up using to fight each other with!) and swing ball. For the grown ups there was beer and good food. I saw participants across all age, size, shape and skill level having an amazing time.
There was so much to this festival that I feel I could write an essay about it, but no one wants to read that so instead I’ll split it into the good’s and the bad’s (in my opinion).
- Inclusive for everyone. The youngest to complete the 50k ultra was only 11!
- Plenty to keep the kids occupied
- Relaxed festival vibe, everything felt very friendly and safe
- Plenty of camping space. Toilets were relatively clean for the amount of people.
- Camping showers! One of the highlights for sure. Clean, hot and good water pressure. Your own cubical too so complete privacy.
- Beautiful course. The grounds of Boughton House are stunning. But be warned, they’re also hilly and muddy. Trail shoes were a must.
- The catering was brilliant. As always with these things there was a distinct lack of vegetables however all the food was delicious. Prices were reasonable too, each main meal costing around £5.
- Karen from R and R physio’s sports massage was amazing. Painful, but so good. Convinced without her my legs would have just fallen off.
- Creative obstacles from the traditional water slide and water crossings to crawling through a pen full of yoga balls and a ‘laundret’ full of foam.
- Rat Race stands (shop, bar and food & coffee) accepted card payment.
- Easy access valuables storage (easy access for you, not everyone else of course!)
BAD (or, not quite as good)
- Considering the amount of Ultra runners there wasn’t any sports nutrition available. On the website running up to the event Rat Race advertised that Cliff were going to be there, so we only brought a couple of fueling bits intending on stocking up from Cliff. They weren’t there though, and the only nutrition available was Rat Race’s own brand of protein flapjack which was lovely but not something for mid race.
- Not much choice of alcohol. Magners Cider, Stella, a cask pale ale, wine and a prosecco van. No spirits. You were allowed to take your own alcohol into the event village, but this wasn’t actually advertised so we presumed we wouldn’t be able to. Saw lots of people with cans of gin and tonic from Tesco and was very jealous!
- I’m quite scared of obstacles (fear of both heights and drowning) and was disappointed to find some of them without an ‘easier’ option. The way up to the water slide was built using scaffolding with far apart bars which I found really difficult to climb and bashed my knees on so only went on once. There was no easier water crossing even though a ‘wading’ option advertised so I had to skip that. Way up to the stunt jump was also not a traditional ladder and quite busy so had to give that a miss too. Children were fearless on them though, maybe I need to man up. Would just have been nice to have a real ladder! Photo below featuring prosecco and poor bashed knee.
Really, the negative points are me just being a picky bugger and clearly are not anything at all substantial. Will I be going to Runstock next year? 100%. We’re getting our tickets as soon as they go on sale. Only think we will be doing differently is bringing more gels, booze and snacks!
Well done Rat Race and Runners World. We had an awesome time.