This year was the third year that I have taken part in Commando Series. It has always been my season ender for OCR and I always feel like I end on a high as I genuinely love this event. And this year I took part with my son so it made it extra special. He has taken part in two obstacle runs before but it is not often so this was a lovely treat for me. However, he was not happy with me as he had asked if he would get wet and muddy and I had said not really – this was a little white lie and he found that out pretty quickly and was not overly impressed though we did laugh about it. I mean its a muddy obstacle run – I thought he was joking when he asked hence my answer.
Commando is set in the gorgeous Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, and gardens and its just stunning there and this run uses the grounds and streams and is something I love rather than an urban event. I have done a previous write up you can read here.
This year there were some new obstacles and the route was slightly different so it was exciting to see the changes that had been implemented. In previous years, following the warm up, we made our way to the start line and the run began. This year instead we made our way to the end of the lake and all boarded a a landing craft that then took us across the end of the lake where the run began. This was one of the new obstacles called ‘D-Day Landings,’ and is explained as follows:
‘a landing craft experience, based on ‘Operation Neptune’ from World War II – otherwise known as ‘D-Day’. Royal Marine Commandos were transferred ashore on similar vessels from much larger ships during the D-Day landings, whilst having to encounter many obstacles. Recruits will experience the combined thrill and terror of the ramp lowering under fire, having to take cover using hedgehogs, and finally neutralising the enemy. Keep your nerve as you step into the shoes of our WWII Commandos. ‘
Another one of the new obstacles required balance – I am always terrible at these sort of obstacles and as most people get over quickly I am usually teeny tiny steps whilst pleading with the person behind not to get on and wobble it – in this case my son. I feel like I could be the first person to fall off! It was called ‘The Mole’ and is explained as follows:
‘Testing Commandos’ speed, balance, team work and accuracy, recruits must balance on a ship’s gangway before launching onto the cargo net and climbing to the top of the mole. All done whilst carrying ‘grenades’, ‘The Mole’ is inspired by the daring 1918 Zeebrugge Raid, encouraging high level performance under pressure. Aiming to neutralise the enemy using ‘grenades’ upon their descent. Recruits must keep their nerve, show dexterity, and maintain a low profile.’
I was pleased to get to the slide – I remember this from the media event for this run and its surprising how much speed you can get on this. I went first and could see my sons face as he zoomed down the wet tarpaulin, which was quite funny. Not quite as funny as when he came out of the ‘leap of faith’ obstacle, which is a steep windy tube slide and he flew out of the end of it!
It wasn’t long before we had reached Peter’s Pool and I knew this was where we were about to get cold! This is effectively a lake crossing and again I remembered from the media event a tree trunk about half way across to climb over. The water was as cold as I thought it might be and it really takes your breathe away. This probably wasn’t the best time to stop and get a photo together before we got out ha ha!
Sheep dip came around quicker than I thought and I knew that my son would be sitting this one out as he had recently had a tattoo and was trying not to fully submerge the top part of his arm in the muddy water along the course. I was wearing my usual Mudd Queen kit, which is recognised by many who take part in these events and as he was wearing his Spartan top the marshal decided it would be fun for him to complete air squats as I did the obstacle and so I took my time (it was funny at the time I promise).
We finished with the 12 foot wall and as we crossed the finish line for the 1 lap course the first finisher for the 2 lap course finished – that was a tad embarrassing but kudos to him!
It was good to see more people at the event this year. I feel like this event is not as known as the more mainstream OCR events but it really should be and those that have taken part would know why I say that. I’ve noted in my previous post that you can decide the difficulty or your entry from just getting round (which was what we did) or to be treated as a commando so you see many doing additional exercises and carrying bergens and wooden rifles to mimic how a Commando would complete training like this.
It was nice to see the positive posts on social media that this event deserves and I hope to see it get bigger and bigger as years go on. Even nicer that as you finish you run past the castle itself and the poppies down the front of the building are gorgeous and with the event falling on remembrance weekend was a fitting tribute.
But don’t just take my word for it here is some feedback from a couple of others who took part in Commando Series at the weekend:
Claire Rosser from Team Elements
‘A great Sunday taking newbies around Commando Series – fab course and a good reminder of what OCR is all about – FUN!’
Vince James founder of OCR Wrongens
‘Blown away at just how much year on year this event gets better and better. Great work Commando Series this is a gem of a race. The team loved it.’
If you want to get involved next year then tickets are available here!
My race entry was complimentary, but all opinions are my own.