About 900 people entered the Loaded Tough Guy and Gal Challenge (TGG) Palmerston North on June 6th 2015 held on the Linton Military Camp. Because of this location, the course made use of the camp’s military-grade assault course.
For an obstacle course race to be able to include an actual military assault course, rather than boasting that their homemade obstacles are actually “designed by ex military members” as many races do, is an amazing opportunity and a draw-card for those looking for a really tough race. However the TGG course did not live up to the potential this opportunity held. It’s a shame that the majority of the military assault course was fenced off and not included in the TGG course. Only about one-third was usable. Any obstacles that involved height or upper-body (which was about two-thirds of them) were removed and we instead had to run right past. To be fair, putting “civilians” on high obstacles would have been a big safety hazard and the TGG is for mass participation where “all obstacles are designed for all to be achieved” and upper-body obstacles probably don’t fall within that category. But it was disappointing to run an obstacle race on a military camp and not get to use the full range of military obstacles.
Nether-the-less, the TGG Palmerston North was great fun!
So here’s my follow-post of the race – covering mostly my experience but also some photos and videos for you to check out below.
The TGG series supports Cure Kids as their official charity. Cure Kids works to find cures for serious illnesses that affect many of our children. As part of their support, I ran as a “golden runner” who was given free entry for raising funds for Cure Kids.
You can visit my campaign page here.
Or read the progress reports posted on this blog (click the images for links):
So I want to say a big thank you to Cure Kids and Event Promotions (the company behind the TGG) for putting out this opportunity to run the race in this way.
My goal for this race was to finish in the top 3. This was a long-stretch, but I was aiming for it. And I put in my training.
I made may way to near the front of the starting line, and took off. For about half of the first 6km lap I kept up with the leading pack, trailing slightly behind and during a long straight counted only five people ahead of me. Unless there were others already far ahead around the next corner (which I have a feeling there might have actually been), I was doing pretty good. But then we hit a steep bank climb which leveled out at the top into a road section before entering a long stretch cross-crossing across a river, and my lungs were burning. I had to slow down. A few people took the opportunity and passed me. I couldn’t maintain a fast pace, and completed the rest of the first lap actively catching my breath. Coming in to the second lap a few more people passed, but I reevaluated and decided I had recovered enough to speed up again. The second lap I ran at a moderate pace, but still slightly slower than the initial pace opening out of the starting line.
At the end, some of the leaders must have dropped out or in the chaos of the mud I must have passed some people who passed me earlier, as I finished 9th in my division.
Overall, I’m pleased with my performance in terms of pushing myself to near my limit. I don’t think there were many instances on the course in which I have regrets about wishing I pushed harder. It’s good to “leave it all on the field”. I’m also pleased with my speed through the obstacles – as this is where I can use my background of parkour in order to maintain a running speed despite transitioning into and out of crawling or wall climbing or so on. Coming through the obstacle-dense assault course I managed to pass a couple of people ahead of me, but then was overtaken again as we came back to flat ground.
While I didn’t meet my goal of coming in top 3, I did manage to come in the top 10. The race taught me a lot about racing experience – as I’m only getting into racing over the past year and half or so. I don’t have a running background, and this is the area I need to most improve on.
- My cardio endurance is not where it needs to be.
- I have three months until my next race to improve my cardio. Having a background in parkour and not in running (well, parkour involves running… but it’s usually sprinting as opposed to any form of distance running), my ability to just cover flat ground is what I’m going to improve on. I ran close to my limit, but the next step is to push where that limit is.
I snapped photos during prize giving. Presented here are the winners. I apologise to the people who aren’t pictured – the winners came up one-by-one to the stage and sometimes didn’t stick around so there sometimes wasn’t a moment to catch everyone in one photo.
The race grades and divisions included the Smiths Sports Shoes Mizuno 12km including Open Men, Open Women, Older Brutes, Older Beauties; and the Radio Hauraki 6km including Open Men, Open Women, Older Brutes, Older Beauties, and a Corporate Challenge.
Podium winners from the 12kms received a complimentary entry to the New Zealand Tough Guy and Gal Championship which will be held in Rotorua on August 22nd.
12km Open (under 40)
12km Older Brutes & Beauties (over 40)
6km Open (under 40)
6km Older Brutes & Beauties (over 40)
As well as the elite runners, there are of course tons of people who get stuck in and prove to themselves they can complete the challenge of a mud run. This video shows some of the fun:
And thank you to Obstacle Racers New Zealand – all things obstacle course racing, mud running, and adventure sports in New Zealand!
Check them out for more on upcoming races around the country.
This post originally appeared on Movement Unleashed in August 2013. However, as Movement Unleashed matures, I’ll be moving some posts I wrote for that site over to this blog which is a better fit for their tone or subject.
As this post was originally published in 2013 some facts may be out-of-date.
We arrived late to find people jumping off everything in sight – one corner of the Manic Room is built with various sized walls, bars line one wall, and a giant foam pit lines the other. Channeling the street environment where parkour originated, street art and graffiti cover many of the walls. Best of all we were allowed to grab chalk and write on the walls – a collection of signatures and self-indulgent team logos ensued. Looking around, the word “Parkour” covered a nicely slanted wall and “Freerunning” ran along the base of the foam pit – we had arrived at the first New Zealand parkour facility.
It’s located in an industrial section of Mt Maunganui where warehouses are aplenty. For gyms such as this old warehouses with high ceilings make for perfect spaces. The warehouse it’s built in merges with an equal sized warehouse next door. A passageway separates the neighboring business The Rock House, an indoor climbing facility owned by the same owners. While we were there it was closed for the parkour jam, so we didn’t get to see it operating like normal, but we did get to spend hours and hours and hours jumping on all the equipment.
The facility has equipment for the common parkour movements – there’s walls for precisions, vaults, wall runs and arm jumps; and enough room and mats for flips. There’s a foam pit, a trampoline, a tumbling track, a bar structure, a wall area, and flat area with movable obstacles such as vault boxes and a picnic table. Parkour equipment needs to be able to take some abuse, and the walls seemed to stand up to big jumps and impacts. The bars, bolted into one wall, were getting a little bit loose during the event from the precisions and laches, but hopefully this can easily be fixed up with some re-tightening of screws.
The only pieces of equipment for parkour missing are, as someone pointed out to me, a vaultable rail and a rail that’s low to the ground for beginner’s to learn rail precisions and balance. The bar structure has these, but they’re higher than beginner level. Nearby to the bar structure are slanted walls sprayed with words “parkour and tricking centre”. I don’t know how usable the place would be for the tricking, as there’s no sprung floor. However if we’re referring to the movements, such as flipping techniques, as opposed to the activity of ‘martial arts tricking’, then there’s definitely good equipment in the Manic Room for throwing flips and tricks.
Best of all, shoes are allowed. While gymnastics gyms can provide much of the same equipment such as foam pits, trampolines, vault boxes and etc, every gymnastics gym I’ve been to has insisted on taking shoes off before stepping foot on any of their equipment. Why exactly, I’m not sure. Something to do with damaging the mats or something. But in terms of parkour, the sensation of training in barefeet and the sensation of training in shoes are vastly different. And as parkour is predominantly trained outside in the street with shoes on, a gym that allows you to practice as you play is of great benefit.
To speak of gymnastics gyms, they can provide many of the same opportunities for movement – they have much of the same equipment for flips as the Manic Room. But the carry-over of skill learnt between what a gymnastics gym allows for and what actual parkour involves doesn’t quite match up. For example most gymnastics gyms have trampolines positioned next to their foam pit for learning movements. The added height from the trampoline assisted jump allows for extra time to rotate and the very soft landing from the foam is a life saver if you under or over rotate. However, nowhere in actual parkour do you find a surface that will give you jumping assistance, such as a trampoline. Parkour is off of hard surfaces. Manic Room has a higher level built next to their foam pit which allows for a drop into the pit from standing or running, and is thus a much closer match to parkour-specific situations. While it’s good to alter the landing from concrete to foam for learning flips, it’s a lot better for transferring the skills to the street if you can keep the take-off surface solid and/or raised. The gymnastic gyms I’ve been to are vary hesitant about height – they don’t like us stacking any equipment on top of each other. The Manic Room, in comparison, has some purposefully built-in places about one-story high for jumping off of. It’s good to have a space primarily for parkour, as opposed to primarily for gymnastics.
If you walk outside of Manic Room, directly across the street is another warehouse housing an indoor skate park, indoor sports courts, and a children’s trampoline park. Across the street on the other side of Manic Room is what looked like a surfing shop. The area in Mt Maunganui is becoming somewhat of a hub for ‘extreme sports’.
While it is the only indoor parkour facility at this point, it’s definitely a must train at facility. I can’t wait for more like this to open.
Based on this blog and the lessons learnt through Movement Unleashed, an ebook is in progress…
‘Obstacle Fitness’ is about a new paradigm of fitness. It’s about how to get fit by turning obstacles in your environment into opportunities for movement.
The point of these progress reports is to keep you updated on the writing of Obstacle Fitness. Secondly, they’re to keep me accountable to actually writing! As being alone in an office, facing a blank screen, with a hundred other things which could be done – it’s hard to stick to actually writing! So by releasing regular progress reports I’m holding myself accountable to making progress between each report.
Progress report 1:
- Bullet-point notes for each chapter have been completed.
- Rough drafts of each chapter have been started.
- Some photos have been taken.
- Concept art for the cover has been done (see the photo above).
- The sales platform has been organised.
To do for progress report 2:
- Continue drafts of each chapter.
- Research ebook formats and technical specifications.
Where the idea came from?
The impetus came from The Walk – a crazy mission of Movement Unleashed Instructors Rowan and Jack to walk the entire length of New Zealand for charity. We promised a free ebook for the people who generously donated money for the chosen charity of Youth Line, but with one problem… we didn’t have an ebook at that point! So, much scrambling later, the idea for Obstacle Fitness came about. It’s still not finished yet, but it’s in the works. We also promised free tshirts, and after much research and sketching of ideas got them to you.
Leave any comments and feedback. The more I hear from you, the more pressure you put on me to deliver – so make it happen; it’s a good thing.