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Judgement Day Bordon delivers a unique experience

by Paul Hayward
Thursday 3rd March 2016
 
 
When you say the words ‘innovation’ or ‘an experience’ when discussing Obstacle Course Racing (OCR), one of the names you have to consider is Judgement Day. We were lucky enough to take part in their inaugural race a year and a half ago (here) and it still remains in my view one of the ‘game changing’ races there has been. In light of the decision by OCRA UK to ask the team behind Judgement Day to help build the UK OCR Championship course this year - we had to go back and see just how far they have come. 
 
On 27 February 2016 1,250 competitors took on a 12k or 6k race through a military training camp in Bordon. Steeped within Judgement Day etiquette, the races began and ended within a military bunker and involved a skirmish across varied terrain involving forest trails, mud dunes and large sections of sand. A number of OCRs often claim to have the best terrain or the most challenging terrain, in Judgement Day’s case they seemed to have found the perfect balance with sections of the race being picturesque forest trails to sections of sand that had you cursing as your momentum was challenged and broken with each step. 
 

Judgement Day 1

The 12k race started with large sections of terrain that was submerged in freezing water, broken only by a few hurdles or the occasional wall, and as your feet and legs became colder and colder you had to ask when the feeling of numb legs would end. This was, however, a warm up for the ‘trademark’ Judgement Day obstacle - the sandbag carry. 
 
Whilst some OCR providers have sought to move away from ‘the carries’, the obstacles that require you to run with a weight for a period and in the process distort your rhythm, Judgement Day have specialised in it. Bordon was, by some mile, the hardest carry I have ever seen and had the pleasure of taking on. Competitors were asked (or challenged) to cross a river, on several occasions, with a sandbag on their shoulders. 
 
As you waded out into the river, the ground disappeared below your feet and at points the water was up to your neck if not your ears. There were lines and lines of competitors frowning, screaming and some laughing. I was to learn later that this obstacle took a number of victims and I have to agree it was truly horrible - but on reflection now I would describe it as ‘fantastic’. I do not think I have been so scared and so pushed in some time, but for some it may have been too much. 
 

Judgement Day 2

I had one moment, with the water threatening to come into my ears, whereby I could have quit and I noted I was miles away from either side and dry land. I was literally at the mercy of the river, I was sinking and I was helpless. 
 
On surviving the carry, negating more sand and walls it was through to the military survival course. The beauty with Judgement Day is that it offers something really unique with regard to obstacles - a real insight as to what our armed forces train on and test themselves on. This included a traverse across water, numerous log jumps and walls to scale, well structured cargo nets (for once) and floating beams to clamber over. All of these obstacles, and the quick succession in which they came round, ensured that you were pushed and challenged to the last moment. 
 
On making it to ‘Deano’s rig’, a play to the current trend of platinum rigs from the OCR World Championships and a rectangular structure requiring competitors to cross from one end to the other, you had to question if you had the strength or the determination to make it to the end. The rig was by no means easy, featuring olympic rings, nunchucks and monkey bars all requiring strength and agility to make it to the end, and it sadly beat a lot of competitors. However what was fantastic was the pure amount of competitors that took their time, got back up and dusted themselves off, did not give up despite the toughness of the obstacle and ran to the finish line head held high after beating it. 
 

Judgement Day 3

In an ever-changing and competitive market, with a number of OCRs being held week in week out, Judgement Day manages to do the unthinkable by providing a unique experience and challenge within an OCR. It was not an easy race by any means but this is softened through Bordon having it all - fantastic terrain, which cannot be underestimated, and both physically and mentally challenging obstacles through OCR favourites, military obstacles and a play on ‘traditional thinking’. 
 
Mark Buller, Judgement Day’s race director, commented that they hoped to use “Bordon as their base camp as Bordon has special terrain, it has everything in water and sand. You cannot find a better all round venue”.  On this evidence I would have to agree and I came away hugely impressed by the diversity of not only the obstacles but also the terrain. 
 
Judgement Day has grown considerably in stature and is able, somehow, to still provide an experience that is hard to rival. Pippingford Park marks the next big event for the team, with two days of races, and at the home of OCR (due to some big names having been there) there will be a real test as to whether they can better the current format, however on this evidence you have to have it in your diary. 
 
More information on Judgement Day and their forthcoming events can be found at: http://www.judgement-day.co.uk/ 
 
All photos by My Bib Number Ltd
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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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