This is third year that Oakfire Adventures are running their ‘Hard as OAK’ challenge with approximately 2,000 competitors expected to take part on The Oaks Demesne, five minutes from Derry City just off the A6.
This Saturday (June 23) the in demand 10k is said to be the hardest obstacle course in Ireland and this year is partnered with Foyle, Search and Rescue.
It is expected to push entrants to the limit with 60+ man-made and natural tests along the picturesque route. Obstacles include the cliff jump, slip’n’slide, gorge climb, swamp, tunnels, tyre walls, cargo netting, monkey ladders, walled gardens, marsh, lanes, gullies, paths, streams, rivers, trenches, swings, stone stairways and open fields...plus much, much more.
It must be noted that this event is not timed and all obstacles are optional so it is simply fun and games for all abilities.
Richard Allen, course director, says the course is a real challenge for those taking part.
He continued: “As this is our third year we are always evolving and consistently adding to the course to make it even more challenging than last year.
“We want people to cross the finish line thinking ‘that was awesome’, we are so lucky to have such great terrain and beautiful woodlands for participants to enjoy.”
He continued: “Our motto is ‘bigger, better, harder and are really happy with the way our course is shaping up.
“We need to offer something new each year and keep people challenged through innovative obstacles designed around the topography of the land.”
Mud Runs are the fastest growing mass participation sport in the UK.
As many as 250,000 people take part in more than 150 events each year, according to the Obstacle Course Racing Association (OCRA).
One of last year’s competitors Paula Campbell explained: “I absolutely loved this course, credit to the staff and everyone involved in making this possible.
“There is a great atmosphere with everyone helping each other from all over.
“I am really really looking forward to the next one and trust me we will be coming with bus loads of friends and family to take part.”
At this year’s event there will be two new challenges for the under 18’s.
Meawhile this Sunday (June 24) Hard as OAK will also be running ‘teen and mini OAK’.
‘Teen OAK’ is a 5km course for 11-17year olds and ‘mini OAK’ is a 2km course for 6-10 year olds.
Richard continued: “Due to the feedback from last years’ event it became apparent that there are many younger folk who wanted to get in on the action.
“We felt obliged to make a nice muddy course to get as many outside as possible.
“We are all about enjoying the environment and getting people active, with so many kids these days stuck in front of screens we thought let’s make them something they cannot miss, something they have to experience.”
Foyle, Search and Rescue’s Eamon Eannetta added: “Partnering with The Hard as OAK team is a great opportunity for thousands of people to take part in a truly epic challenge.
“We will be providing water safety for the event again this year and are looking forward to seeing participants having another fun day out.”
There is space for supporters to come and watch their loved ones get muddy, wet and put through the ringer. So why not come along, support your mates and enjoy the craic...
If interested, remember there are only a few places left, registration has been open since December..however you can register online at www.hardasoak.com or if you have a team send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for group discount.