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20th Oct2013

The Grim Blackout Review – 19th October 2013

by Simon Chapple

The Grim Blackout Review – 19th October 2013

The Grim Blackout Review

I decided to enter the Grim Blackout less than a week before the event, my wife and friend had entered months earlier and I didn’t fancy all the mud and gunge so I decided to spectate for once, but as it got nearer I couldn’t resist joining in and booked my place.

The event takes place only a couple of miles from where I live , in Aldershot on the army tank training tracks, which consists mainly of mud, clay and huge puddles.

It was getting dark when we arrived, but the event is well sign posted and there is ample on-site parking right next to the start line, in terms of other amenities there were also loads of toilets, the event advertises a changing area, but I couldn’t see this and there was very little in the way of refreshments, so my advice is to take a towel, a clean set of clothes and something to eat and drink for after.

The race consists of around 7.5 miles through some seriously wet, muddy, hilly and generally horrible terrain, in the pitch black.

There were around 3-400 runners at the start line, a good mix of club runners, fun runners and enthusiastic amateurs.

The start of the race lures runners into a false sense of security, the first half mile is on concrete, flat and easy to run, it is after you turn off the path, into the pitch black woods that the fun begins!

It is a two lap race and the course seemed to get progressively worse as I got further into the lap, I was met with waist high deep puddles (some more than 50 feet in length), boggy, thick, clay-like mud, piles of logs and other obstacles that did their best to sap the energy from my legs.

A head torch is a must in the Grim Blackout, there were points in the second lap where I was running on my own and visibility was awful, a good strategy is to find a small group running at the same pace and stick with them, this way you can share each others light.

There are a couple of treacherous points, one very steep downhill in particular with loose rocks, there were a number of casualties on here, so watch your step.

By the second lap I my energy levels weren’t so high, making the deep puddles and mud harder to navigate, on several occasions I lost my balance with one full on face plant into the muddy water!

I finished the Grim Blackout in a pretty good time and I have to say it was the most fun I have had running in quite a while, I am pretty sure I will be on the start line for the Grim Blackout 2014.

The event was really well organised, there were loads of marshalls and the atmosphere was brilliant, if you are thinking about taking part, give it a go, you won’t regret it – the official website is here: www.grimchallenge.co.uk/blackout/ - there was a nice T-Shirt at the finish and a half decent goody bag, but a real let down was not receiving a medal, I think this could put some people off entering.

The Grim Blackout 2013 Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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