The Bravest Race is Xplor’s slightly less extreme version of Tough Mudder or Spartan Race, only this time you find yourself in the midst of the jungle, hurling yourself into a pristine river or trying to avoid the electrical shocks as you crawl through a naturally formed cave.
The question is, do you like to get your hands (and most likely your face) dirty?
We had heard some stories about the very first Bravest Race which had taken place the year before, and being the outdoor types we are, this time we were determined to sign up before all the places were taken, along with a number of other like-minded, up-for-anything-for-a-laugh friends. Decision made, no looking back, and there was some training to be done (to be honest we didn’t train that much, but it’s fair to say you’ll enjoy it more, the fitter you are).
First impressions on the day of the Bravest Race? Extremely well organised, and extremely noisy! As we followed the crowd towards the starting line we caught sight of a number of people craning their necks to see in the mirrors provided as they applied war paint (more like stage make-up), which was also provided. Not to be outdone, we made our best attempts, perhaps ending up more clown-like than savage but entering into the spirit of things nonetheless.
Our wave was the very first one, at 830am, and the number of competitors crowded around the start line was overwhelming. When we arrived on the scene, the perhaps overly enthusiastic MC was giving it his all by leading the crowd in a fairly amusing warm up, which seemed to be going down very well. Looking around, it was particularly easy to spot the cross fitters of the group, geared up and ready to shoot off ahead, and once the horn sounded we literally didn’t see them for dust.
“5km is nothing”, we had sneered. On a normal jog that may be the case, however, 5 km complete with a number of obstacles is a bit more than nothing! Among other experiences with obstacles, we found ourselves thrusting our body weight over a number of rustic army-style hurdles of varying height, alongside an endless stream of competitors; trying to “run” over a huge higgledy-piggledy pile of tyres, half-wading half-swimming in an underground river and then trying to work out how to untangle ourselves from the strategically placed cat’s-cradle-style string formation, in order to make our way to the entrance of the cave; an obstacle which requires patience and a lot of thought.
However, hands-down the biggest challenge, and our Achilles heel, was the dreaded ramp. Allow us to set the scene. You crawl through troughs of muddy water all the while fighting with the overhead net; you find your feet, stand up and jog round the final corner, only to be faced with a skateboard-type ramp, a number of meters high. What’s more, opposite the ramp is the public seating area for spectators, so of course, there were a huge number of eye witnesses to our failed attempts to scale the ramp and consequent sliding about in the mud. Those with a strong core powered up the wall, those of us without took that little bit longer, and grabbed onto the rope provided, for dear life. All in all, we have to be thankful that it only took us three attempts before we could haul ourselves up over the top ledge of the ramp to victory…
Our tip: The Bravest Race is hearty fun, a little nerve-wracking at times, but not excessively extreme. However, some degree of strength training and running beforehand is recommended if you don’t want to suffer.
Essential tip: the use of old trainers is even more recommended, as there is likely to be an abundance of mud and water, even though there are adaptations in the course every year.
Our concierge will be only too happy to give you information on Xplor and the Bravest Race, which will be held on September 18th 2016.
For more informations please visit: xplorbravestrace.com