“5 minutes straight before I get over the fucking wall”
Soy Bestial – or as we say; I am a beast!
That’s the motto of the biggest race organizer in Spain, the Bestial Race. And after finishing the demanding 12k course I sure felt like a beast for beating the course. Read along to hear more about both the Ninja Track and the traditional race.
The Ninja Race
With more and more Ninja races popping up in the OCR scene I was stoked to see and try the Spanish version. It consisted of 6 obstacles spread out over 100m; Flying Monkey, Low Rig, Ramp/Wall, Top Hold grips, Gibbons and a funky Monkey bar. About 50 guys and 9 women had signed up, including Katja Christensen from Denmark, Jakub who won the Polish Ninja Warrior, Rafal from Poland, fellow Team Reborn athlete Renaldas Bugys, super ninja Aries from Spain and more. With a solid competition it was all about the details – and about the forearm pump!
The race would start at 7 PM on the Friday, 3 guys would go head-to-head and the best 2 would continue to the next round. My first round was fast as I was racing Aries and Renaldas. Unfortunately, I made a bunch of mistakes at the Gibbons which were slightly different to the Force 5 models and I build up a big pump in the forearms already. Most people struggled here and almost everyone had to chicken-wing their way through the obstacle!
The pump was real
I was through to the 2nd round were I was battling some strong Spanish athletes and luckily coming out on top again. I had improved my technique on a few of the obstacles and felt faster this time, which gave me a good feeling for my 3rd round, the semi-finals. I would go head-to-head with Jakub, who was there only for the ninja race. I know how strong and fast this guy is, so honestly I was nervous to battle him! So nervous that I made a small mistake on the flying monkey which had Jakub take an early lead. I make up the time on the low rig but take the left side of the ramp, which was slower than the right. We’re synchronized through the Top Holds obstacle and arrive at the gibbons together. Jakub is faster at clearing the hanging pegboards in the beginning of the obstacle and has a lead on the gibbons – but falls down! This gives me just enough time to overtake, maintain my lead and lock in a spot in the final race.
My forearms are done now… The pump is real and with only a 10-minute break after the semi-finals I’m supposed to do this crazy track again!? Tres-dos-uno and we’re off, this time with a clean start and I take the lead early on. I feel strong and get out of the low rig first, over the wall too and out of the Top Hold obstacle too. But here comes the trouble… I can’t seem to get a proper grip on the hanging pegs and they keep falling out. I get nervous and miss over and over again, spending too much time getting through the gibbons. When I finally clear gibbons I see my competitor finish the Monkey Bar and run away with victory. I settle for 2nd and I’m happy to have had this experience. One thing is for sure, I need to push my limit a bit more in training this spring, if I hope to stay competitive in the super-short Ninja based courses too.
The 12k Bestial Course
I was lucky enough to run the full 12k course 2 days before the race, so I knew what was coming terrain-wise and also had a few insights into the obstacles. The only two elements I dreaded on the mountain was the 3k carry (yes, how about that!) and the distance between the obstacles. I know what I’m good at and what I’m not so good at, and this would challenge my not-so-good capacities for sure! Luckily the last 400m would contain a bunch of obstacles, including most of the Ninja Track from the night before!
Bestial Race was an experience for the entire island. TV wagons and cameras, news hosts and good music, lots of audience and great weather. The first heat cramped up in the starting area after a warm-up and looking around, I recognized a bunch of guys and heard about new ones. The 2018 Spanish Champion Damian Leva was there, the favourite Azman Estupinan stood tall next to me and Manuel Benites too. Tres-dos-uno and we’re OFF!
I stick to my plan and push a little hard the first 100m, straight into 6 deep muddy trenches. I had noticed the holes weren’t as deep on one side and I needed space, so I went for it and came out slightly exhausted, but in first place. 6-8 unders followed by 6-8 overs and then a high wall. Y’all know I’m vertically challenged most days, but this day was specially tough for my hobbit legs. I jumped and jumped and jumped in the mud for 5 minutes straight before I got over the fucking wall. The rest of the competition had left me in the mud and there I was, 11k in the mountains to go before I would meet any technical obstacles which could sort this out. God damn it…
And so the race began. I ran up the first hill, slightly angry and ready to push hard – but decided to stick with a comfortably hard pace. I did so through the rest of the climbs, the 3k carry, under the nets and over the walls and logs. Coming down from the mountain and into the festival area I had overtaken so many people (including Damian!) I was now in 5th, very close to the guys in front of me. I was content with my performance on the mountain and would be happy finishing here, but with 10 obstacles to-go including a tipping slackline and other additions to the ninja track – I actually had time to make up a few more positions! So I went full pac-man and ate my way through Renaldas, Azman and another guy, finishing 2nd and ready for my post-race CLIF Bar and a nap!
Congratulations to Katja for winning the womens race with an astounding 10-15 minute lead!!…
A big thanks to Bestial Race and their chief-of-was Alfredo …, who set up an amazing course. A couple of thousand people got together on the beautiful island for the 6th annual event on Gran Canaria and with 4 events in 2020, I hope to come back and do a Bestial event. These guys are a huge part of developing the sport of OCR in Spain, also on a federated level which I highly endorse.
1st Manuel Benitez
2nd Leon Kofoed
3rd Azman Estupinan
1st Katja Christensen
2nd Paula Tamos
3rd Adna Tahirovic
Thanks for the cheering, guys – see you around at All In or next year!