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What's new for Monster Race in 2015?

by Paul Hayward
Thursday 29th January 2015
Tags  Monster Race   |   Paul Hayward   |   OCR
 
 

Race preview: Obstacle racing columnist Paul Hayward finds out what will be new for Monster Race in 2015

What's new for Monster Race in 2015?

Photos © The Little Photo Company

Regular readers will remember how the Obstacle Course Race (OCR), known as “the Monster Race”, stole my heart last year with the combination of unbelievable value as well as excitement (HERE & HERE) and even featured in our end of year review as the event to go to for a fun runner wanting to do OCR on a budget (HERE).

We managed to catch up with Simon, the Monster Race’s race director, to discuss how 2014 had gone for him and his plans for 2015.

Simon was, as always, beaming with enthusiasm. “2014 had been a success with 2,400 competitors taking on the Monster. This is fantastic organic growth from the numbers we saw the year before and shows that we are building a really good quality event. In particular the Summer Monster at our new venue, Cornbury Park, went down down really well from the feedback we received. People felt that there had been a good mix of terrain, water and obstacles. The land owners are keen for us to return, which is great, as it is a cracking venue. It offers a lot of potential from a course building perspective for 2015 and further forward. The venue is absolutely huge - there is so much potential there”. 

“The Winter Monster also went really well. The weather was fantastic and the new obstacles we introduced all went down really well. We were also able to use a really nice muddy stream section which was a massive hit. I was quite emotional returning to Charlton Park for year two, I love the place and I cannot wait for the 2015 Winter Monster to come around. “

Asked how he intends to build on this success and Simon explained: “The challenge now for us will be how to make the step up to the next level. For Oxford we will look to add four or five new obstacles to keep it fresh. Overall we are looking at totaling around 30 obstacles out on the course at the venue". 

"For the Winter Monster this will be our third year at Charlton Park. The land owners of Charlton Park are really behind the event and this means that we can look to build permanent obstacles at the venue. This will allow us to build obstacles of a much larger scale, which will give us a real edge and means we can to spend more time on other obstacles and the course in the event set up week. Also we will be setting up much larger water zones and we are looking at incorporating monkey bars or Hang Tough [an obstacle based on gymnastic rings] and balance beams across the lakes. This will really step things up a little bit for competitors at both Oxford and Swindon.”

What's new for Monster Race in 2015?

Photos © The Little Photo Company

I was really pleased to hear that Simon wants to keep the event fresh and push forward to be a bigger and better event, but this does raise the difficult question of how he is going to attempt to balance his core support, the beginners and the fun runners, with trying to attract more OCR competitors with harder challenges. Simon confirmed that he wants the Monster to be bigger and better but it still has to be “do-able” to these people. "The Monster Race is not going to alienate these people and we are already looking at options such as “easier options” of the obstacle for some competitors, like you saw at the Winter Monster with two options open to people with regard to the height of the toilet seat, and build on this, maybe by offering two routes - with one route offering a slightly harder route with a tougher set of obstacles."

Simon was keen to also confirm that the simple, but important things, like accessibility for spectators will get a revamp and will form part of the plan going forward. Simon stated that he was aware that other OCRs offer the chance to “ferry” spectators around between obstacles."This is definitely something that we are looking at for the Winter Monster, where the venue's terrain is suitable for this. We want the spectators to be able to see all of the action. Ato the Summer Monster, we are going to put more obstacles in the top two fields, which should ensure spectators get to see a lot most of the action, and look to have music/effects  in at some sections to crank up the atmosphere at the event."

In addition Simon and his team are looking at changing the layout of the race village so that the bar is more centrally located to the finish line. "The bar was nowhere near the finish line at the last two events and we need to incorporate this into our plans. One thing that did work well was having an obstacle in front of the start line; it meant that people got into the spirit straight away by interacting and getting muddy."

What's new for Monster Race in 2015?

Photos © The Little Photo Company

I was pleased to hear these comments as one of the main issues facing an OCR is the location of the race village and those people with you, who get more out of the day if they are able to watch the race and enjoy it.

I took the opportunity to end the interview by asking Simon what he thought the Monster Race’s unique selling point was. Simon answered that the real selling point for the event was value for money, alongside the fun factor. "There are events which are overpriced and do not offer a good deal to competitors. We try to offer an event that makes people feel that they are not getting ripped off. The feedback we have had, from our previous events, is that our events offer “fun factor” combined with an achievable challenge. We do have four or five showcase obstacles, but there are options, such as different weights. We are not trying to be the toughest and the event is not designed to break you. The aim is for it to be achievable and ensure that competitors leave with a smile on their face at the end”.

Finally Simon confirmed that he had listened to feedback (myself included) and decided to produce race T-shirts for those wanting to buy one to wear on the day (or at the local parkrun). Simon had taken the tough decision to keep the event in the budget set and not provide to free finishers T-shirts in order to keep the entry price competitive. The brand new medal for 2015 is going to be even better than last year and with this in mind the T-shirts could not feature in order to keep the price competitive.

What's new for Monster Race in 2015?

Photos © The Little Photo Company

The Monster Race is one of the best value races and challenges you can do. If 2014 was anything to go by, 2015 is set to be an exciting time for this race and it is must for your diary.

More information and entry to the Summer Monster Race on April 18, 2015 or the Winter Monster Race on October 10, 2015 can be found here: www.monsterrace.co.uk/location/

If you are interested in supporting the event and getting a T-shirt, they can be purchased here: www.monsterrace.co.uk/shop/

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

About The Author

Paul Hayward

I am 33 years old and spend the majority of my life within an office environment. Whilst I played football, I never really took an interest in sport let alone athletics. In 2011 I joined a gym as I was slightly concerned about my weight. However I was, like an awful lot of my colleagues, coasting and I considered spinning three times a week a workout.
 
This changed when I took up a circuits class and found myself entering Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest London in November 2011. I was assured by my friends that this was a good idea and would be a “challenge”.
 
I had never entered any form of competitive event before and training for this run changed me. I listened to my personal trainer, who assured me that if I quit drink I could be dangerous, and sorted out my diet, stopped drinking so much and focussed my training. I completed the race in just over an hour and I was instantly bitten by the racing bug, I loved the challenge the event offered. 
 
Nearly two years on I have completed a half marathon in 1hour 49 minutes, came 6th in the Rat Race Horseplay 5k event and usually come within the top 30% at Obstacle Course races. I am also a part time triathlete and I am lucky to find myself in a running club where we have a great coach and the focus is on members. If I am honest - I came to running through these events and I am not alone.
 
My aim through Run 247 is to promote, discuss and publicise Obstacle Course racing. It is becoming huge and over the coming months we will cover all of the major races and the new competitors entering the scene. 
 
 
 
 
 

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