On the 24th June I apparently lost my sanity and took part in the Total Warrior Obstacle Course Race in Leeds. Not usually my sort of thing, given that I’m scared of both heights and drowning, and Total Warrior boasts both walls and water, but this year partners were invited to join my Fiance’s work team, and with the company paying some of the entry fee I decided it was now or never!
For obvious reasons I didn’t have my phone on me, so I don’t have many/any photos of the course but I can tell you it was excellent. A challenging 12k but still doable for a complete novice like myself. Somewhere between the team based Tough Mudder which everyone and their dog seems to take part in now, and the more serious races like Spartan.
Highlights include a LOT of mud (some of which I genuinely got stuck in and some guy had to dig my leg out for me, cheers for that one!), killer hills, giant slip n slide, 8ft inverted walls, fire jump, a skip full of ice water and stunt jump to finish. With names such as ‘Worm Muncher’, ‘Human BBQ’ and ‘Hangover’ you really get a feel for the style of obstacles that await.
There were a few disappointments on the course. My Fiance completed Total Warrior in 2016, and found that he preferred the previous years layout. At times the course was extremely busy, in fact we found ourselves having to skip a couple of the main obstacles because the lines meant it would have taken up to 15 minutes to get a turn at the obstacle. On an overcast, windy day, already soaked and muddy a 15 minute stand around would be uncomfortable to say the least. The very last obstacle, the stunt jump, had very long queues due to one of the airbags being out of action and at times they even pulled the ropes up so no more people could make their way to the top as it was getting too busy.
We were also disappointed with this years ‘sprint king’, a section of the course which is chipped timed separately, who’s aim of course is to sprint the section as fast as you can. Last year this was laid out as a straight downhill sprint, but this year however the section included two 8ft walls. This made it impossible to sprint as there were queues for the walls, so no point in the separate chip timing. I was also personally upset that they omitted the ‘Hang Tough’ obstacle (basically monkey bars over water) as I was looking forward to give that a go.
That being said, everything else was very well done. Well marshalled in the parts that needed it, but at the same time enough course where you’re completely on your own (or with your team of course!). I’m a complete wimp and had a fantastic time getting incredibly muddy and bruised. Best of all, you get a free beer at the end! (And a finisher’s Tshirt which was black this year, yay!).
Two very important things I learned after Total Warrior –
1. I always have a double/triple chin in action shots. Always.
2. Don’t use gels on these races. The packets get dirty. Your hands get dirty. You can’t clean the gel enough and you end up getting poorly so you can’t even eat a slice of cucumber two days after. Andy found a dead fish in one of the lake crossings. That’s not healthy.
Overall, a really fun day. My main tip would be to try and get into an earlier start wave. We started at 12 and found the course a little too busy. Some of the obstacles had also suffered from their ropes becoming too loose through use. The fresher the better.
Oh and, good luck trying to find out more on their website (Here) . It’s glitchy as hell.