Several years ago I attended an amazing event in Manchester called Urban Attack, A whole new format to OCR, a short course indoors on an undulating BMX track.
Rob Edmond the founder / innovator of this event pulled out all the stops and produced not only an amazing concept but an amazing event.
I have since followed Urban attack attending their training day on on indoor Ski slope, supporting Airfield Anarchy and more recently Mud 7
So when I heard they had rebranded to Urban revolution and was putting an outside event on in Manchester, there was no way I was going to miss it, especially as they had brought one of UKOCR’s top slide - TAKE OFF
Thats how I found myself on a cold November morning crossing the pennines from the home of the white rose to the home of the red for the first ever Urban Revolution event
Turning up early so I could get a sneak preview of the course I was surprised the venue was in a public park, Haigh country park offered a proper car park, a nice indoor cafe, and a beautiful courtyard that housed the registration tent
Finding rob and the Urban revolution team to have a chat too was a whole different matter though, they had been on site from the crack of dawn but not doing the usual race director jobs of logistics but actually out on the course repairing it and remarking the whole course - This is happening all too often to events that are held on public land, I personally do not get the reasoning behind these mindless acts of vandalism, But Rob and his team being the safety minded individuals they are spent over 4 hours remarking the course and checking ever nut and bolt on as many obstacles as they could, however this effected the course , not everything could be checked and the whole remarked so the tough decision was made to shorten the course to 5k instead of the 10 and this meant taking out several of the challenges that where further afield
But the urban revolution team didn’t dwell on this or make any excuses, in fact if I hadn’t asked even I I wouldn’t have known
Registration was a simple affair, held in a beautiful courtyard in Haigh park, No queues, just hand in your waiver, get your runners wrist band, , no hassle nice and simple
The race brief was simple and the warm up was just about right the right length and soon we were off running
The course meandered through beautiful woodland and at this time of year the leaves covered the ground and made it just that little more squelchy, the course was marked with red and white tape and although this wasn't 100% marked a little look up and you could see the tape through the trees.
As usual we ran at the back of the first wave and enjoyed the run rather than the race and mingling with a lot of the non OCR Faces means we get to chat and promote OCR to the newbies
After around 500 meters we hit what was the first of many walls and also our first bottle neck, we had to wait about 5 mins for us to get to the wall and over we went, at the next wall the queue was down to 2 mins and then that was it for queues for us, not bad on a short course I thought with over 100 in our wave, although the walls created queues at the start they also broke the field up too creating little pockets of runners
The course had you meandering between trees and up and down the undulating terrain whilst negotiating the many walls of differentiating height and design, muddy crawls, a log carry, monkey bars and flying monkeys too, but Urban revolution left the best to the last 1/2 km, it started with a deep boggy wade, then “TAKE OFF” ranked in the top 5 slides in a recent UKOCR Poll, this was followed by the 2 finishing obstacles back in the event village, the tough Urban ramp to rope grab and the almost impossible ninja wall, before grabbing an amazing medal and a hot shower
Urban revolution for me and my mini Duck was a great little event, especially as they offered the 5k option for the younger runners and less fit runners.
For the many boot campers and gym buddies is a great introduction into OCR,
For the experienced runners you may feel it was a little tame, but trust me if it wasn’t for the vandalism and the full single loop 10K with the extra obstacles you would have come away almost broken
Urban revolution will go from strength to strength and deliver an amazing event for newcomers to the elites going forward
Watch out for them in 2018 as they bring on the “NEW REVOLUTION” in OCR
Muddy Duck and Mini Duck
Check out our video here
Heres what others from UKOCR Facebook group thought of the weekend
Ian Kay Positives
- great venue, easy parking (on concrete) and real toilets.
- Reasonable price
- Registration a doddle
- Lots of branding all over
- Obstacles well built
- The terrain was fantastic, technical running but relatively easy.
- Good bling
- Chip timed
- Attracted a lot of the local runners and was well attended with lots of newbies.
- Free photos via AWOL
- Looked like a lot of medical cover (although no obvious water safety)
- No drinking water. By that I mean no water stops at all and no water at the finish.
- Obstacles were repetitive and possibly not newbie friendly. Almost every obstacle was a wall or wall variant. With the others being a water crossing, two cargos (one horizontal and one vertical), a twig carry, monkey bars and take off (see below)
- Lack of marshals on course. I saw 5 marshals. I also know one had only made the decision to help the night before. There were lots of unmanned obstacles.
- Bottle necks. We set off quick so had a first lap that was relatively empty. However on our second lap it was queue city. We even caught up with people who had started at the back of our wave and perhaps gone a mile in around 45 mins due to queues.
- Take off closed. Early injury shut it. We waded through the Take Off trench and it didn't seem nearly deep enough. Unsure if this was down to council but you'd sold tickets off the back of take off the least you could do was ensure it lasted more than 2 waves.
- It was shorter than advertised. I clocked the 10k at less than 8k.
- Warm up. The area felt way too cramped and the microphone was for a speaker 200 yards away.
Overall an ok first offering. Spending money on ultimately pointless chip timing (due to bottle necks) but failing to provide water is an odd decision. Lack of marshals is also concerning.
Hopefully they can iron out these teething problems, add some variety and build from here because there is definitely a market for more races in the area. Unsure if I will run the next one but I may pop across to see how it goes
Stu Nevin Great to see a few friendly faces at Urban Revolution..Nice little route and great use of the natural terrain. Not climbed over so many walls since my garden hopping days in Miles platting when I was a little terror.
Did alright too and kept the leaders in my sight the whole race and think I rocked in Sixth in competitive 10 k wave with my ankles still in tact. Just waiting for official race timing results and position but my Strava has me at 46 mins for full route!
Massive thanks to Rick Rose-Coulthard for getting me here and well done on the top 3 also well done to my Euros teamie little Evie Warring on the 2nd female .
Big thanks also to Brian Caro Laithwaite and Andy Reid for looking after me and my kit on site and Rob Edmond Andy and the gang for putting on a great event .
Absolutely loved it guys !
Jack Cornwell Great event great courses and the bling was so good and great obstacles, staff and Marshall were great and there was no bad things about this race
Jane Campbell Really loved the location - can't beat running through woods and all the better that it was in the North West rather than the usual 1.5 hour+ drive for most races. I thought it was a great first event for the team. There was a good buzz around the central area, even when the last runners were coming in. Although there was a queue at the second last wall it was brilliant to see everyone helping each other, especially in the teenage wave. As a family with teenagers we really appreciate races like this, that let 12+ year olds do a full event, rather than just a mini circuit. It was a big hit with our kids because there were lots of walls! The bruises on my arm suggest there may have been a wall or two too many but for me the varying height and gradient did meant it didn't feel repetitive. I understand what people are saying about a lack of marshals but I can't think of any point on the course when you were particularly far from a marshal and I liked the fact that all the competitors were mucking in and helping each other. As someone who often runs alone, I would chose to have fewer marshals and a better team spirit on the course, where everyone is looking out for each other rather than seeing it as someone else's responsibility. All in all I think it was a great first race and I hope the team get a good few North West races established, including a January/February one so we don't have to wait so long in between
Colin Campbell I have great memories from Urban Attack’s indoor OCR events from a couple of years ago and was looking forward to what the team would deliver at the Urban Revolution Series. In the 2 years since the last Urban Attack I've been lucky enough to do 60+ races but living in Liverpool only 2 of these races have been under an hour from my front door. I got a message on Thursday (via UKOCR) that they were looking for some marshals so happily volunteered to help out either side of my race. What I didn't realise at the time was that only 1 of 40 promised volunteer marshals were actually available (a serious let down for the organisers to work round). Some other people have commented on the lack of marshals, which is fair enough, but what I would say was those that turned up were ACE, and the effort that went in by the team to compensate was incredible to make sure the impact was as minimal as possible. I arrived at 8.30 and helped with registration which despite large numbers was pretty smooth for most people. The venue at Haigh Woodland Park was brilliant. Several small cafes and farm shops, proper toilets, kids play park right next to start/finish line with loads of general passers-by (wondering what on earth was going on) - it all lead to a really friendly vibe.
The venue gave some decent terrain for running. Majority of the race was through woodland with plenty of branches and brambles to negotiate. Autumn leaves were soft underfoot but added to the slippiness of the course. The majority of the course was well marked out with tape - from memory there were two locations where I had a quick check over my shoulder to make sure I had taken the right route. Personally I quite like when you have to keep aware of the route and the course isn't overly marked out. Considering the lack of marshals and public cutting through some of the route, it was more than adequate. Going out in the first wave I didn't encounter any queues and clocked in around 45mins. Distance was down on the advertised 10k (again due to some necessary last minute changes). If this had bothered me, I could have easily gone round for a third loop but tbh although not the hardest course, keeping up with the front lads was taking its toll on my legs!
There were definitely NOT enough walls. Next race we need MORE WALLS.
I understand the frustrations with "Takeoff" being closed, especially as such a big attraction but an unfortunate injury meant closing it early, which has got to be the right call. I got to go down it on my 2nd lap and loved it - it will be a massive hit on future races. I spent about 3 hours marshalling the monkey bars after my race and was blown away by the attitude and determination of soooo many people trying to cling on for one more rung or a few more seconds. For the majority of runners this was their first OCR event and the feedback was definitely that they want more.
Its easy to focus on a few minor things that could (and im sure will) be improved but for a new race this basically ticked all the right boxes for me.
So for between £26 (cheapest ticket with kids at £10) and £38 (pay on day price with kids at £14) you get a GREAT race, definitely one of the better medals out there, family friendly atmosphere, chip timing from racetimingsolutions, pictures from AWOLadventures, hot showers, lots of walls and cafes and stalls with cakes, drinks and BEER . You dont get; free parking (you had to pay £3 to park - Haigh Park Standard fee), t-shirt (Ive got too many!), water stops (not essential unless boiling hot day).
GREAT first event and a fantastic platform on which to build a solid race series in the North West. Can't wait till next one.
Thank you to the members of our group who took time to leave what I believe will be invaluable feedback for the race directors, as its feedback like this that makes races get better -
Thanks to Rob and his Team at Urban revolution for inviting the Duck and his little duck one over for the event