Following some big announcements and with less than ten weeks to go until their second event we met up with Urban Attack race director Rob Edmond to discuss big obstacles, fresh challenges and getting snowy in Summer 2016.
Firstly tell us about your event?
It’s an indoor obstacle race based on an indoor BMX track in Manchester. Next year we’re adding a snow version on an indoor ski slope. Watch the video below!
So with just ten weeks out to your Manchester event, how are the revised format & new obstacles looking?
It’s all coming together nicely, we have secured Active rather than the usual passive chip timing which gives 100% accuracy and instant results for our live leader board. We are busy getting ready and building out the new obstacles some of which are going to really test people.
What changes can we expect from 2014? Will there be a headline obstacle to really test people?
Yes, we recognised last year we needed a signature obstacle. This is the first announcement about it – it called Tsunami as it looks like a big black wave on the horizon, it has been designed to play with your mind as much as your body.
On the last straight before the finish ramp you will be hit with a big black 20ft+ high ultra-steep incline wall with an overhang to climb up and over and a 20ft poll to slide down at the back.
It’s that steep it will look to some to be unclimbable, you have to put all your pressure on your toes to get traction and this really takes it out of you. It will definitely scare some and a few won’t be able to do it but that’s fine it seems people want to be challenged and this is going to do it.
Some of Team Muddy Race Smash The Monkey Bars at Urban Attack 2014
There has been a lot of talk about obstacle completion in elite waves of other events, a short course makes this even more critical. With big cash prizes on the line, have you got a plan to ensure it is fair?
Yes it is and we have been really working on this. On all our obstacles will be marshals, on the key obstacles which some will find very difficult such as the monkey bars, the Ninja Wall and Tsunami we are introducing physical penalties so if you can’t do them the intended way you will be penalised.
There are no side routes or escape routes to bypass this and will take a lot longer than doing the obstacle. The way we are doing it will mean that everyone is on a level playing field and if you don’t do an obstacle you won’t be able to overtake someone completing it, so we keep it fair.
For those that can’t make it on the day to spectate – how are the plans for internet broadcasting coming along?
We have the space on the website already so come the day they can watch the fun from home, they will also be able to see the live leader board with the results as they happen.
You’ve also made a big announcement this week… Sub Zero. Where did that idea come from?
I had the idea few years back and had to keep it secret for a year or two before I could do anything about it – that was really hard as I just wanted to get on with it and tell the world. It came from my mind and I don’t know how it got there maybe after a few drinks. I love extreme environments and especially training people using the snow, so it’s good to be doing this at last as it is going to be a real experience for people.
Xscape Milton Keynes, The Second Sub Zero Venue
Will you be able to get obstacles out on to the snow, or is this going to be a summer snow hill run indoors?
Yes! We have it all sorted technically so as you run up and down the steep hill you will be faced with numerous obstacles, the flat areas will have the big obstacles on and the slopes will have fast paced obstacles to push you. We are even putting trees in which you slalom through to give you the proper snow mountain feel. It is so hard doing the route without the obstacles so whether you’re climbing, crawling or jumping around it’s going to be a challenge.
It sounds amazing and unique, undoubtedly you will attract a lot of interest… Why limit it to 500 people?
We want everyone to have absolutely the very best experience, something that blows them away and so we are going for quality over quantity, this is in line with our knockout format and importantly the number allows for a morning start and a late afternoon finish with enough time to hit the bar afterwards.
With your courses being shorter than most OCR’s, how do you provide value for money vs a typical 10km race?
We take racers to places which are really out of this world for OCR and give them a very special experience which not everyone gets to do. For example the feel and atmosphere when you walk into the Manchester event with the roaring crowd, the gladiatorial style arena, is something very special for a racer.
For the course, with ours you do short races but you do multiple ones, so rather than getting all your action in one go by racing A to B and finishing, you race and get time to mix with friends and other racers, sort your strategy / recover and then go again and then again.
You still get a full day of racing but at really high quality action. The course this year is very obstacle dense, we don’t do queueing so all your time on the track is geared towards a quality experience.
We aim to compliment the other great races and the general OCR scene in our own unique way. I think we probably have the fastest and hardest OCR minutes of your life available which is an experience in itself to see how you can take it and join a special club of those which have done it. It takes a lot of bottle to get back up to the start line and go again but the feedback we had was it was insane.
2015 Urban Attack Medals
This year you get a medal which reflects how far you get in the competition
Bronze for getting round the course, Silver for making semi-finals and Gold for finalists. We are also doing the World’s First OCR Relay Race at Manchester which is going to be an experience in its self. Teams will get to do something that has never been done before.
Thanks for bringing us up to speed Rob.
Sub Zero is initially available to competitors already signed up to Urban Attack, however there are combination packs available and will go on general sale soon.
Find out more about signing up at http://www.urbanattack.co.uk/