The rise of the mud run & obstacle race events is a story of extreme success. Over the last three years we are seeing increasingly more race events springing up all over the country with some of the leading race organisers reporting a 2,400% increase in entrants within this short time.
Reports state that approximately 5 million people took part in the obstacle race phenomenon last year and that number is only going to grow with the success of the events but at what cost to the environment?
In order to create the ultimate mud run and obstacle course you need the ideal location and in most cases that means using the natural terrain of the countryside as this provides the perfect ground on which to stage your muddy race. Xrunner have now completed their fifth year in this business and successfully staged fourteen race events so over this period, have learned a lot about the environment they are using and the potential implications involved.
“It is as important to try and encourage a positive effect on the environment as well as to preserve the area that you are using. For example, at an Xrunner location we used three years ago for the first time, we created an obstacle in what was effectively nothing more than a muddy area with swamp potential. After putting 15,000 Xrunners through this obstacle location we have now contributed to creating a natural lake where the great British Brown Trout now reside so happily they are now breeding successfully there. Having a positive effect such as this on our countryside means that we are accepted and supported by our local community. Many of our industry contempories don't think about what happens to the land and environment when they leave but re-instatement and preservation is important to us at Xrunner as we want to continue to enjoy the benefits of our British countryside and maintain good relationships within the community we live in.”
“At Xrunner's latest location, we used the local environmental agents to survey the area well in advance of the forthcoming Wild Run event, and found a colony of rare British White Claw Crayfish residing in one of the lakes that we were intending to use as part of the course. As these Crayfish are officially a protected species and high on the endangered list with possible extinction in less than twenty years, we have taken every precaution to get the best advice from the relevant authorities. As the biggest risk to these Crayfish is cross contamination from other waters that carry their killer disease the Crayfish Plague, Xrunner will be making an obstacle of the sheep dip design for dunking their runners into before entering any waters where the mini lobsters are residing – do not worry, any disinfectants used during the creation of the Xrunner event will not result in any human tragedies, simply a soaking of muddy running shoes!”
Cross contamination is a huge factor in the spread of diseases such as E.coli and Foot-and-mouth disease to name just a couple that affect our wildlife, farm animals and human friends that enjoy the countryside. Xrunner will be asking all entrants to ensure that they take minimal but necessary steps to help reduce this risk by simply washing all running gear and shoes that have been previously worn in any other outdoor areas before attending any Xrunner event.
Xrunner has a policy of ‘maximum effect for minimal impact” and the post event re-instatement of the event area is as important as the mammoth task of event creation, and are working with the environment to preserve nature as obstacle racing takes over the UK's countryside.