Race Review

Just some of the Reviews people have taken the time to write about us… More on Facebook

Kirsten Amor

Content Editor and Freelance Travel Writer

Back 2 the Trenches, a punishing obstacle course that combines steep, hilly terrain with over 70 military-related obstacles, advertises itself as a tough, yet achievable. With runners offered the choice of 5km, 10km and 20km routes, the event offers something for almost everyone.

Admittedly this was my first obstacle course race, and as I took my starting place in the trench, I could feel a mixture of anticipation and nervousness pumping through me. The whistle blew, and as I dived under the wire and ran into the woods, I wondered what the course had in store for us all.

When choosing an obstacle race for my first attempt, it tooks hours of scouring the internet before I decided on B2TT. Some were too ‘macho’, others seemed to put barely any effort in the obstacles, and some still were so eye-wateringly expensive I had to click off the screen to stop myself wincing. B2TT on the other hand appeared to offer the right combination of fun-loving and serious obstacles that could appeal to a large variety of entrants.

On arrival to the site, it appeared my assertions were correct. Families, groups and individuals such as myself were all stretching and casually waiting for their wave to be called out. The staff on-site were cheerful and helpful, even lending me safety pins for my race number after I had forgotten. Overall the waiting area had a relaxed, ‘community’ atmosphere as everyone prepared for the race.

The warm-up area was entertaining, with a mixture of cardio exercises and stretches to get all athletes excited and the blood pumping. Admittedly some confusion arose over the mixture of wave times all joining this section, but once everyone lined up for their turn in the trench and disappeared into the woods, it returned to smooth sailing.  

Almost immediately you are faced with the first obstacle – hills. Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph, those hills. As I struggled around the steep, slippy bend of another vertical wall, I now understood why the folks at B2TT said their hilly routes were infamous. Ropes were helpfully placed around hills that particularly induced calf-shaking fatigue, and downhill sections at times became makeshift slides.

Having slipped, slided and somewhat ran the first couple of kilometres, the route descended into a mud bath, literally. Brown water came up to my chest in some ditches, and it was struggle to heave myself over the banks to the rest of the course – if you are short, you will struggle at this obstacle. Soon after that, you are faced with various military-themed obstacles, including carrying sandbags around a course, clutching for dear life to mud-crusted monkey bars, tiptoeing through tyres and crawling through gravel and mud under metal poles.

After a brief interlude of more wooded trail runs, the majority of the obstacles wait for you on the last few kilometres of the course. Pulling and pushing tyres up and down multiple hills is rewarded with a slide into a mud bath, and immediately followed by more tyre antics, including carrying a tyre over two hills and clambering over a tyre heap. In addition to this are many instances of crawling through pipes, under metal sheets or live electric wiring that made several entrants slow their storming pace to a steady crawl.

The obstacles tested your endurance, strength and flexibility, and I found the course overall exciting and more energising with each obstacle completed. Of the 70 total obstacles however, some stand out as particularly exemplary. The fire-jumping was a welcome change in the course from crawling and heavy lifting (not to mention a good photo opp!). My abs were screaming by the end of the slackline shimmy, but it gave my arms and calves a brief respite at least from their exertions on the rest of the course. The various walls entrants had to climb or jump over was also an inviting change from the numerous crawling and lifting obstacles on the course. The small lake entrants had to swim through to reach the end of the obstacle race was also a surprising and welcome change, particularly from the heat of the day.

More obstacles that tested your flexibility and balance would have added more variety to the obstacles, but since B2TT change the route with each new event, it is possible these were featured more prominently in previous obstacle routes.

Upon reaching the finish line you are immediately rewarded with a quirky medal and some coconut water. A cool-down area with someone running exercises to help manage the come-down from the race would have been helpful, but the queue to the communal showers became a makeshift stretching session.

Overall, the course was managed very well and the marshalls were very enthusiastic, cheering everyone on and handing out sweets. I was particularly pleased with the water stations at regular intervals, and litter around these areas was well-contained. For spectators, it would have been nice for them to see more of the course than the last few obstacles, as waiting an hour or more before everyone emerged from the woods with little distractions made the wait a tad tedious.

Back 2 The Trenches might not boast the high-scale obstacles of other OCR routes, but that is reflected in the modest price B2TT charges for entry, and the obstacles they create are ones that anyone of any build can complete and enjoy (with lots of training of course!). The atmosphere in particular was friendly and inviting, with all entries helping each other out and cheering each other on at the end and offering congratulations. For anyone looking for a challenge and an enjoyable day out, then B2TT is a top choice.   

 

Beverley

What an exhilarating day … in my 50s and NO runner BUT had just the best time.

Great fun, a great challenge and met incredibly supportive and encouraging people along the way. Frozen to the bone and exhausted but that is what it is all about!
Thanks Back2theTrenches!!
b xx

Luke

Great mix of obstacles ,spread across awesome natural terrain. Hills were a killer, but that’s the idea right? Loved the fire, loved the tight tunnels and the surprise swim just topped it off. Very well organised, registration was easy, loads of marshalls who were all very friendly and a great bunch of runners helping each other out when needed. Still buzzing from it now. Cheers

Fay

Today was my first time running bt2t so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I had so much fun & loved the course! My favourite part has to be the water slides I could have gone back & gone down them over & over! I think everyone will agree that the biggest challenge was the freezing cold lake swim at the end, and the only thing I can fault is the great big frog I encountered during my mud crawl under the barbed wire! Haha. Very encouraging and friendly marshals, the course was well marked our, great event village and overall amazing atmosphere. Will definitely be returning in the summer!

Susan 

Loved it did my first 12k mud run and had such a brilliant time!

Helen

We had a great run on Sunday 21st June at Back To The Trenches in Redhill, so much fun, so much mud, so well organised, my first “mud run” and can’t wait to do it again thank you!

By beautyandthebeastfitnessblog

Fitness tips and trends from Beauty and the Beast!

Training run & review: Back 2 The Trenches

Good day all,
A few weeks back, on Sunday (20th March), we took part in the Back 2 The Trenches ‘Over the top’ event. We entered into the 20k event and let me just say, it was tough. This was our first attempt at a 20k (approx 12.5 miles) obstacle course race, having previously mostly done either 10k races, or Tough Mudder (which is typically around 10 to 10.5 miles). The course was located in Redhill, Surrey, in some lovely hilly countryside. Back 2 The Trenches, as the name might imply, is of a military design, as such a lot of the obstacles had a slight military theme to them. The link to the website is below, should you wish to have a look.

Back 2 The Trenches homepage.

So how did we find it? It was tough, and very hilly. For the most part we enjoyed the course, the obstacles were not too bunched up together (which can be very common at the start and/or finish of some races). The course was entirely off-road, along narrow dirt tracks up and down the beautiful Surrey hills. Hills make for some good training, and some good calf killers.
The main reason we found it tough was a fault of our own. Poor hydration management. We both suffered from dehydration during this race, which in itself is a real big problem. The problem with OCRs is that you will expend much more water due to being more active than a straight run. As such, it is much easier to keep yourself hydrated doing a 12 mile training run without circuits or obstacles. We had an idea in our heads prior to the start of the race as to how often we would take a sip of our drinks and which water stops we’d visit. We hadn’t predicted how much of an effective the obstacles (and hills) would have on keeping ourselves hydrated. So pro tip, stop at the water stops even if you don’t feel thirsty or dehydrated. Once you are dehydrated it is too late, you will find it incredibly difficult to take on enough fluid to properly sustain yourself during a race.
So that is my mini rant over, let’s review the race. Please bear in mind this review extends from my fairly limited experience (4 races at this point in time) and is partially based on my opinion. If you have differing opinions or thoughts, please let us know in the comments section.
Pros:
Obstacles were very ‘achievable’, there were none that I couldn’t take on and none of them felt unsafe or overly challenging (though this is a con for the more experienced and elite runners out there).
 A good number of drinks stops.
Lots of chances to get mucky.
The fun ‘dynamic’ warm-up (it certainly has a twist to your typical OCR warm-up).
Very friendly and helpful marshals (way to go guys)!
Pretty well organised, we were even able to have a chat with one of the event managers at the finish line.
Sign posted event with directional arrows (you’d be surprised how many events overlook this).
Cons:
Laps! We are not fans of laps. The 20k course (and the 24k course for the summer events) are two near identical laps of the 10k/12k circuit.
Repetition. We encountered many of the same obstacles across the course, which isn’t always so exciting (and no we aren’t just doubling up because of the two laps).
Very narrow off-road tracks, the first half of the course felt squashed at times, and it would be very easy to get stuck behind slower groups without having space to safely pass.
The event is much smaller than say Tough Mudder or Spartan Races, however this is not necessarily a bad thing.
And what review would be complete without the important stuff, the obstacles themselves. Below were my top 5 for Back 2 the Trenches.
Top 5 obstacles of note:
Not one but two extra slippery and mucky water slides.
The tyre pit – traversing a wide pit by crawling over, under and through a huge pile of tyres.
The cargo-net climb (we had a lot of comedic fun with this one).
The ‘up and over’ start (you start the race in a trench).
The hills! You’d be surprised how much running through tyres up a hill can hurt.
A few examples of some obstacles that we came across.