Wednesday 8 June 2016

Ultm8 Warrior (Vigo) 2016

On 5 June 2016 we headed over to the village of Vigo in Kent where my daughter, Matilda, was booked in to take part in her first Ultm8 Warrior obstacle race with her friend Aiden. There were a few different waves on offer, but we had booked her into the 4-6 year old wave at 10.30 using the online registration system at a cost of £10. I understand that on-the-day entries were possible at a cost of £15 per entrant.

We arrived at the venue, Vigo Rugby Club, in good time and parked up in the onsite car park. Incidentally this wasn't the first time we had been here. I ran the very low-key Valentine 10ish Mile Challenge back in 2014 and it was one of the best races I have ever taken part in.

ultm8 warrior [photod: dani]

The rugby club has a clubhouse which contains toilets, a bar and kitchen serving food. They also had a barbeque on the go, but sadly there were no vegetarian options that I could see. The weather was great and there were loads of families hanging out in the sunshine.

While we waited for our race to start, we watched one of the other age categories race and this helped the kids to get some top tips for completing some of the obstacles. We also found someone applying war paint to the children's faces, so we naturally got in the action. By 10.15, the 4-6 year olds had started to form on the start line.

obstacles [photos: dani]

Thor Odinson had travelled to Vigo all the way from Asgard especially for the event and he took the kids through a short warm up before he lead the young obstacle course racers around the course. The first section of the race involved a few hundred metres of running and I imagine this was designed purposefully in order to spread out the field before reaching the obstacles.

The first bunch of obstacles consisted of a cargo net crawl, stepping stones, tyres, various obstacles to climb over and duck under. After these the course took the young athletes into the woods which consisted of a little trail run and some more obstacles.

obstacles and into the forest [photos: dani / 7t]

With the trail section done, the course came back out onto the main open grass sports fields where there were balance beams, a seesaw, and a tunnel to crawl through. Another short run and it was time for the grand finale of larger obstacles.

There were some monkey bars, but I understand that these were only for the older children's races. Next up was the spider web, and this was followed by a shield carry where spectators could throw wet sponges at the racers.

more obstacles [photos: dani / 7t]

The very last section involved the most challenging obstacle which was the cargo net climb. Matilda had studied the older kids' techniques before her wave had started so she understood the best way to negotiate it. Once back on firm ground it was time to come face-to-face with Mjölnir which was of course wielded by Thor himself.

A leap through a hole in the final obstacle lead straight into the finish area where all finishers collected their medals. The course worked out to be around a kilometre in length and runners in older age categories would continue for another lap or two before finishing.

face to face with thor and mjolnir [photos: 7t]

There was a lovely atmosphere throughout the event and we had a great time. However, there were a few minor negatives that are worth noting. Firstly, parents standing on the course and blocking the children who were taking part - I don't get it. I know parents want to make sure their kids are safe but getting in Thor's way as he was trying to interact with other kids at the end of the course is just rude.

Secondly, it looked like Thor could've done with a little more assistance with running things. We're used to junior parkrun and there are certain fundamental things that must be in place before these events can take place. Marshals - I saw a few people from the rugby club that looked like they were marshaling, but it wouldn't have hurt to have had a few more around the course. Lastly, I didn't see a tail runner, but it would be a good idea to have one to ensure the kids at the back were progressing safely and to deal with any issues that could pop up along the way.

medals and post-race fun [photos: dani / 7t]

My lasting memory of the event was the huge smile plastered across Matilda's face as she collected her medal. She had a great time and when asked which obstacle she liked best, she replied with 'all of them!'. Based on that I suspect we'll be looking for some more obstacle races in the future.

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