Maverick what? Maverick Race are all about celebrating the beauty of the British countryside. That’s why they chosen some of the most iconic areas that Blighty has to offer for their trail running series. They’re not elitist though which is why they’ve made them accessible to runners of all levels. With multiple route lengths to choose from in every location, you decide on the challenge. I stole that paragraph from the website. James didn’t say I couldn’t do that. Living my best thug life. However what they have said is true…
I picked up the famous James from some random country train station called Moreton-in-Marsh. Side note, why not just call it Moreton? Where the fuck is Marsh anyways and why is Moreton in there? Before he could begin telling me for the 1000th time that he did MDS, we shared our excitement for the race. I say ‘race’ however it was more of a bro date. Yes, bro’s do date, we did today. In a world of social media and instant gratification, it’s important to have these face to face encounters with those we care about. Our choice of date was of course Maverick Cotswolds. 24km of hills, trails and making memories.
After arriving and realising we both had balders of a child, we finally got our bib numbers. It’s a super easy system of giving your surname, they also give you the option of lowering your distance as well. I like this option as something people aren’t feeling their best or are up for a long run. No shame in cutting it short, we did later on. In the race village you are surrounded by rather cheerful runners. Lots of smiles, laughter and coffee floating around. If you arranged it, you can even run in the new Adidas Terrax shoes which is a pretty awesome thing to office the runners. After knocking back a double espresso, we bumped into a friend of mine on IG, Andy. He competed the Threshold Series last year and is one of the fastest ultra runners I know. Today was just a training run for him, plus a good excuse to get a medal.
During the race briefing they explain various details about signs on course. Very simple. Follow the blue signs, the course splits off for the three distances, so just follow your distance. When it came to the warnings about the course and the levels of mud, we were told rather simply that it was bad. It is a trail event in England after all! As the starters buzzer went off o told Andy that if we saw him again that I’d be worried as he would be in trouble (due to him crazy super faster than us). So off we went! And yes, it was muddy within 100 metres of starting. We came to the first gate and a major runner jam. It was here that we caught Andy again and we realised we’d be a while. It wasn’t a race for us and trails aren’t about PB’s, so it was all good. After we got through the gate, Andy stuck with us and would do for the whole race. I loved this as it added so much value to our day getting to know each other. It helped escape silly taking on the many fucking hills. These weren’t just normal hills either. The rain had ruined the ground to the point where it was just a mud bath. We could barely lift out feet through the mud while also sliding around like Bambi. It made for a good laugh at each other’s expense. Surprisingly neither of us fell. How? Fuck knows hows though.
After the first major never ending climb, it shocked me by actually ending ever so briefly. I thoroughly enjoyed the down hill elements and certainly felt in my element. We joked about how we needed those new Hoka clown shoes that are made for down hills and circus shows. Hoka won’t confirm the circus show part though. The down hills lead us through various fields and by farm houses. As per usual it made me feel so lucky that the farmers allowed us to do this race on their property. It’s very kind of them and very typical for trail events. I’m grateful for their kindness and can only hope we have them a good laugh! Though on route we did come across a group doing a fox hunt thing. Being an Aussie, this was new to me and rather exciting seeing people all dressed up. Since that moment I’ve learnt the controversy of fox hunting. I won’t comment further however I did appreciate the riders encouraging us on our run.
At around the 10km mark we came into the first aid station. Maverick Race aid stations aren’t the typical mass section that Threshold put on. They have water, electrolyte drinks, sweets, fruit and coke. While it was a small aid station, it did have everything we needed. Plus I’m the volunteers were lovely as well. That’s what these races are about! The smiles and being kind to one another. As we left I offered the suggestion of cutting the race short to the middle option of 16km. The long option that we originally signed up for was 24km, however the route was simply too muddy. Everyone was supportive of this which helped my guilt of cutting Andy and James’ race short.
The next 6km was beyond muddy. It went past out ankles in many places and we simply couldn’t avoid it.so we accepted it and have fun with it! Sometimes we get so caught up in our training programs, race pressures and PB’s that we forget to have fun! Running is fun if you make it that way and today we certainly did. On the final home stretch we picked up a new companion. She had hurt her ankle so we hobbled with her across the finish line with smiles on our faces. Smiling because the medal is huge plus you get a free beer and iced coffee at the end!
If you decide to do a Maverick Event, here are some tips for you:
- Don’t be a dick. These events are super friendly and egos are not welcome
- If you want to ‘race’, get to the very front. If not, enjoy an epic day out!
- Prepare to get muddy. These are trail events after all, so of course if it has been raining you if will be a mud soaked course.
- You may take longer than you initially expected… and that is ok!
- There is no shame in dropping down distances if you change your mind. Just tell them at the finish 🙂
- Bring a towel, change of warm clothes and a bag to put all of your muddy kit in
- Have fun!
The race didn’t go to the plan I had in mind. 24km turned to 16km. And a trail run turned into a mud run. However I did it all with two epic men who made it an incredible new plan. We laughed, shared many race stories, our 2020 goals and most of all had time as friends away from our phones. Trail running is an incredible way to get back to basics and to run without any pressures. Life was on pause during those 16km’s while we were making memories. I hope to you at one of their races in the future! My name is Andy and I hope you have a good race.
My next event is Maverick Buckinghamshire on Saturday 21st March. If you use the code YANKS15, you will get 15% off your entry. A friend of mine is an Ambassador for them so feel free to use her discount code.
Also here is my favourite photos of James from the event. He stole one of my gloves, payback sunshine hahaha