Thinking of doing the Yorkshire Warrior next year? Here’s a local Harrogate resident’s take on what it’s actually like!

Yorkshire Warrior is a 5 and 10-mile obstacle course that starts and finishes at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate. The course takes competitors over 30 unrelenting obstacles across the Rudding Park estate and the Crimple Valley and promised to test even the strongest, most seasoned of athlete. So, how would an under-trained, injured and middle-aged man like me fair as a competing warrior? Well, read on and I’ll bare all.

Firstly, an introduction. I’m Gary, I’m 34 years old (yes I class that as middle-aged) and this is my first ever Yorkshire Warrior. By day I work as a freelance web designer in Harrogate and by night, over the last few months, I’ve been training for the Yorkshire Warrior.

I’m no runner, this is fair to say. The only other long distance event I’ve done is The Great North Run and that didn’t go too well I must say. I finished in a time of just under 3 hours and tore my ankle ligament at the start. Hopping over 13 miles was painful but it also showed me that I had grit and determination. So when Yorkshire Warrior was mentioned to me earlier this year, I thought for myself “Well if I can run the GNR on one leg, this should be a doddle”.

So I entered.

How did my training go? Well over the course of about 4 months I trained, slowly building up the distance. I was useless at the start, running about 100 metres and then stopping to catch my breath. 3 months on and I was running 8-9km with comfort. I found that I had to space my runs 2-3 days apart as my lower leg muscles and tendons were starting to suffer. A week before the event, I didn’t run at all, opting instead for long walks and rest. This turned out to be a great decision and I was fit enough on the day to start. Not 100% fit but good to go.

The big day arrived. I monstered 3 Weetabix, a protein shake, 2 glasses of water and a banana when I woke. I had another banana just before the race and I felt good.

The wave I was in was due to start at 9:20am and I arrived just before that, so not much time to prepare. The competitors were put through 5 minutes of warm-up exercises by the lead warrior and before we knew it, the klaxon had sounded and the wave carried me away.

Now if you’re contemplating entering in next year’s Yorkshire Warrior, I won’t spoil it for you now by describing every obstacle. The best part for me was the not knowing and I think the same would appeal to you.

Let’s just say the first 2 miles and last 2 miles were the hardest in terms of terrain and obstacles. As the 5-mile route followed the same route as the 10 miler, those choosing to run just the 5 miler still had to tackle the hardest parts of the course.

If you’re a runner or enjoy running then I recommend the full 10 mile course. The extra 5 miles you run is a lot flatter and takes you through fields and much easier obstacles. Dare I say it, you can even catch your breath and recuperate in parts. You just need good fitness, good stamina and a dollop of grit and determination.

Highlights of the course, if I can call them that, were the countless stagnant ponds of waist deep festering water you had to wade through, fire to jump over, a 700m long abandoned railway tunnel and an amazing water mat you had to slide down towards the end.

I finished in a rough time of 1 hour 53 minutes and escaped without injury, much to my amazement. On paper the distance should have been too much for me as I was only running half that distance in training, but I handled it fine.

The saving grace for me personally was the regular water points throughout the course and the water dunking and this kept my body from overheating which is something I struggle with. I was also grateful for the delays and rest points while waiting for obstacles to clear, which certainly helped me recover and lower my heart rate.

All in all, I absolutely loved it and 4 days on, as I write this review, I’m still buzzing from the experience, albeit still tired, stiff and achey.

Yorkshire Warrior 2017. Sign up and train for it. It’ll be one of the best experiences of your life, I promise.