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FIT WEEKENDS Are Obstacle Races the most fun you can have getting fit?

We like to believe we can take any obstacle that life throws at us which is why we’re sure you’ll love the latest sporting trend – obstacle racing.

You may have heard of  Tough Mudder and Rock Solid Race.  Now, the latest mud-filled, adrenalin-soaked challenges on the block are Dirty Dozen Races,  new military style obstacle races happening across the country.


With ever evolving obstacles to tackle on the way, the routes are strategically combined with challenging terrain to test agility, strength and endurance.

Have we scared you yet?

Because the team behind this event are determined ‘obstacle racing is not just for boys.’

Doug Spence, co-founder of Dirty Dozen Races, is looking forward to the first Dirty Dozen event at Hop Farm, Kent, in October.

With an early career in rugby Doug lived in New Zealand, but on returning to the UK and working in the city he wanted a sport to get him back outdoors.

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‘A friend told me about the Tough Guy challenge and it sounded appealing,’ he said: ‘I loved everything about it, the endurance, the physicality and the wet and cold, but also the team work of being in these situations.’

But after competing in several different brand’s challenges Doug wanted to see how far obstacle racing could be taken and he hopes the camaraderie is something the new event, Dirty Dozen Races, will promote heavily.

He said: ‘Our goal is to bring new and exciting obstacles to the masses, ones that people will remember.’

Thanks to two women, Samantha Baxter, 39, and Karen Ticehurst, 33, who attended the Dirty Dozen photoshoot for the company, we’ve got exactly what to expect.

They said they’re addicted to the stamina toiling challenge calling it ‘fun and energizing’.


What kind of exercise do you normally do?

‘I do bootcamp 3-4 times a week and run 20k a week atleast.’

Samantha Baxter

Have you tried obstacle racing before?

‘I’ve competed in Dirty Rat Race Weekend, gauntlet 12k, Xtreme running 10k and the National Lottery Anniversary Run which was 5 miles. I’m also doing a half marathon in September as well as Nuts Challenge, and Lactic. I’ll definitely be here for the Dirty Dozen Obstacle Race in October!’

‘Why does obstacle racing appeal to you?

‘The personal challenge of course, but the fun, the banter and the team work with complete strangers who become friends.’

What did you find the hardest on the course? (warning spoilers)

‘Getting over the wall!’

And what did you enjoy the most?

‘Getting over the wall!’

What surprised you the most?

‘How much fun it was! I’ll be doing the 12k Dirty Dozen Race which has 20 obstacles and I’m really looking forward to it.’

What would you say to convince someone else to try obstacle racing?

‘What have you got to lose? Try everything at least one, you can do it if you try. My belly seriously ached afterwards – but from laughing so much!’

‘I think more and more girls are entering these challenges, they are no longer just for boys! At my boot camp the girls outnumber the boys. We can do whatever the boys can and we’re not afraid to get muddy! Why should the boys have all the fun?’


What kind of exercise do you normally do?

‘I’d say I’m fairly fit. I was running a lot but I got ‘runner’s knee’ so I began circuit training. Anything from boot camps, women’s boxing, swimming and cycling.’


Have you tried obstacle racing before?

‘Yes, I did my first in June this year, and I’ve signed up for the Dirty Dozen race in October.’

‘Why does obstacle racing appeal to you?

‘At first I did it to prove my husband wrong, he thought I couldn’t… I thought it would be a one-off but now I’m hooked and looking for new challenges.’

What did you find the hardest on the course?

‘Because it was a photoshoot, we had to the same obstacles over and over which resulted in some interesting bruising!’


And what did you enjoy the most?

‘The camaraderie between strangers awas amazing! I made lots of new friend within a couple of hours.’

What surprised you the most?

‘That I loved getting muddy!’

What would you say to convince someone else to try obstacle racing?

‘It’s amazing fun and you will love it! I’d tell them my story, the sense of achievement is worth every second of pain (yes, she admits it is painful!), and effort. It’s definitely something to aim towards while getting fit!

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The Dirty Dozen team are keeping their obstacles tightly under wrap until the event on October 19th, but Doug promises us big, big obstacles.

‘We have a 15 ton digger booked for a week to excavate muddy water holes over which we will place the military style obstacles. There’s a real incentive to get them right or else you’re in for a wet surprise!’

So how can you train for this sort of challenge?

Doug recommends balancing recovery with training.

‘Obstacle racing is an all body workout so don’t just focus on running, being able to recover on the move is key,’ he says: ‘If you have just done the monkey bars, the lactic acid in your arms can flush out whilst you run to the next obstacle so you training needs to reflect this.’

On October 19th at Hop Farm in Kent there’s a choice of 6k, 12k and 18k races, each with their own number of unique obstacles.

You can sign up for the challenge here.

And in the mean time here’s our top tips in preparing for the Dirty Dozen Race:

  • Get a pair of quality grip running trainers.
  • Don’t get to attached to your Dirty Dozen tee and shorts combo.
  • Do a couple of runs each week.
  • Followed by two circuit training sessions a week.
  • Check out the Dirty Dozen’s Fitness Exchange for homemade equipment ideas.
  • And finally purchase a facial mud mask and get used to wearing it!

Don’t forget to choose your favourite charity to spur you on and check out the Dirty Dozen blog for insider info!

Dirty Dozen

Find other obstacle races in the UK at muddy


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