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Cold weather creates an extra challenge at Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest London

by Editor
Wednesday 25th November 2015

Race report: On the coldest day of the month so far, David Cartwright went along to the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest London

Returning for the third year, ‘Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest’ descended upon London bringing another gruelling 10k obstacle course race (OCR) to the iconic Wembley stadium on Saturday 21st November.

The morning before any race is daunting for everyone. Preparation is key, but nothing could have prepared the day’s competitors for the early morning snow flurry that battered the course and the elite runners, on what would be the coldest day of the month so far.

Upon arrival the smell of deep heat was unmistakable, the sound of rain and wind battering the monolithic obstacles was undoubtedly making everyone question if they had really done enough training.

Before the race began, race favourite, and ex-marine, Adam Cracknell, said, “Running around Wembley is pretty special, hopefully I can get around the course and back inside as quickly as possible.  The rain makes everything harder.”

The first race was a tightly fought event. Top competitors Adam Cracknell, Conor Hancock and Ross Brackley were neck and neck over the first few obstacles. However, once onto the open road, charging around the stadium and through the bone-chilling kilometre in the river Brent, Hancock’s prowess was apparent. On returning to the final sector of obstacles he had opened up a thirty second lead over second place Ross Brackley.

What followed seemed a foregone conclusion. Scaling the obstacles with ease, Hancock seemed to have no problems with the new features of the race and spurred on by the cold, Hancock finished in a blistering time of 00:39:43, followed by Brackley who finished almost two minutes behind.

After the race I spoke to Conor about his win, “I’m buzzing, it was a really fast course, plenty of good obstacles. I just can’t really move my mouth or feel my fingers. To be fair I wasn’t sure I was going to cope; this is quite a quick one. Normally they’re a bit longer and a bit more muddy but it was brilliant.”

One spectator Nick Sharp, 28 from Manchester said, “These boys are bloody mental, I found it hard getting out of bed this morning and I am only watching. You couldn’t pay me enough money to get in water that cold, but fair play to them.”

As the day continued, the mood only seemed to get better. The rain had stopped and seemingly continuous waves of people were swarming over every obstacle. Although still technically a race, all over the course people were helping each other out. Providing that cramp preventing stretch or that mountain conquering out stretched hand. Having fun was the first thing on everyone’s mind.

Shivering, but with a smile on his face, Abdul Nasir, 26 from London said, “The thing I have enjoyed the most was that at the top of the Men’s Health box, you know that everyone who has got there has been through the whole race, so trying to help people up feels really good”. Friend and fellow competitor Kevin Ekanem, 27 when finally catching up added, “This is easy. I have just been helping people and taking a load of videos. It’s not about getting the greatest time its about having fun”

Dean Macey, Commonwealth champion, who was there reporting and racing said, “This is the first time I have run London, and I have always wanted to, because it looks like such an awesome course. Unfortunately that coincided with a 15 degree drop in temperature, sleet, snow, rain and wind so yeah its going to be interesting. But look, I have interviewed so many people coming over the finish line and no matter how hard it is, they all turn round and go, ‘physically it was challenging, mentally it was challenging, but they all loved it and most of them come back, so I can’t wait”

For more information on up and coming events or to find out your time, go to www.mhsurvival.co.uk


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