How to begin ….?
It’s two days later, after the event, as I sit here genuinely lost for words, which for me, is hyper unusual!
I could list off the challenges that the “Seeds” (each participant is called a Seed) had to complete to be able to continue: I could write of tales of the cold waters in the middle of the night, the huge distances covered, a tiredness and exhaustion I have not experienced since I was a soldier back in the Middle Ages ….
…. but what I have decided to say is that the Roots Night Race is quite simply the best race I have taken on. Nothing else has tested my mind, body and soul as much and I know that Matt and his team aimed for just that! Full respect to them!
Every element of this challenge has been thought out to find your “breaking points”, mentally and physically, and to see if you can push through. The Roots Team believe you can; they want you to. This is not about smashing you into little pieces …. this is about pushing you to find more. To find out more about yourself so no matter how far you get through the Night Race, you walk away (hobble in my case!) a better person by knowing more about yourself, learning new skills, testing old skills and finding out what you are truly capable of.
Now, for some, a trophy is the definition of winning, and that’s fine but I believe, and I think the Roots Team feel the same, that success is and can be a little more than that. This weekend I earned the Roots medal, each one cut from the same branch, as did we all, for the efforts we put in. I/we learned a lot about myself/ourselves, our capabilities, our skills, we made some great new friends, saw some beautiful scenery, learned some new skills, pushed ourselves, certainly more than I can remember …. and we had so much fun.
I know many of you want details …. tough shit! If I tell you what we had to do, you will prepare for just those things. What was cool about this race was, that although you knew there would be certain tasks to complete, you did not know when …. I knew I would have to tie a knot or two …. easy yeah!? …. try doing it in a 3.5ft high tunnel at 2 o’clock in the morning, with cramp running through every fibre of your body, your hands shaking, ice cold Dartmoor water rushing through and only a head torch to guide your raw fingers …. knowing that every second of frustration is time you are being caught up …. i’ve never felt so uncoordinated! I can still hear me laughing at myself and shouting at my hands …. “f**king work, you stupid useless pieces of s**t!” …. they had become alien to me by then!
Yet all the time you have the stark beauty of Dartmoor as your back drop. You run into the stunning sunset, the hills and mountains becoming your dark horizons, knowing you could still be running at sunrise ….
What details can I give you? …. well, no phones or electronic GPS devices/watches are allowed so distance wise I really don’t know but I have been informed it was well over 40 miles. I don’t know the elevation either other than I have discovered Dartmoor only goes up somehow! I know that I have carried, on top of my own kit, approx 30 plus extremely awkward kilos for over, I would guess, 10 plus miles. I know that map reading during the day and night is a totally different experience and that you could walk/run/jog/crawl over exactly the same route at night and not recognise a single footstep! I know that lighting a fire, under the pressure of a race, is as frustrating as an itchy ball sack whilst carrying two full hands of shopping that you can’t put down for an hour! I also now know that the word F**K is a noun, adjective and a verb!
So, in summary, arrive the night before and stay in a scout hut with lovely showers and toilet facilities …. take advantage as once you leave in the morning, they are off limits! Your day will start early, with some good ‘ole proper old school PT. Then a quick test to ensure you can actually map read and therefore are safe to start off …. in the right f**king direction at least! From that point onwards just accept whatever comes at you, engage in the moment, over come the challenges and tests; they are all possible despite what you may feel at the time! It will end but don’t wish for it because A. It will not come soon enough and B. It will come too soon!
What I found particularly impressive is that whilst there was a huge range of experience, skill, motivation and fitness within both the solo and team participants, no one I have spoken to, ever felt unsafe, yet all worked well outside of their comfort zones. This is all due to the excellent planning and organisation of the magnificent Roots Team, supported by the Royal Marines.
I have always believed that we operate best when we are just outside of our comfort zone, that we get the most gain in that zone. I am not talking about way way out, but that 10% over …. a calculated risk where we have to engage our minds as well as our bodies. Where we have to think through a problem to save time. Where we have to step into the darkness to find out what is really there ….
The Roots 24 Hour Night Race will do that …. and more.
Get The Details On
Roots Night Race – 24 Hour Adventure Endurance RaceAdventure Review
- Event Website
- When Was The Event?
- 20th October 2018
- Was This A Qualification Race?
- Reviewed By
- Nick TK
- About The Reviewer
- The simple facts are... I am a half-educated grey man, raised in the 70’s with no fashion sense. I understand some of what is happening around me, loosely, and that which I don’t..
- What Age Group Was I In?
- No Age Group
- Type Of Competitor
- Was This My First Time At This Event?
The ROOTS NIGHT event is an entierly different experience. The Marshals take a back seat and offer zero help and support as Seeds take on the ultimate UK survival race. The NIGHT event will always start with a team based workout. This provides all Seeds with an opportunity to warm up and meet the other Seeds they will be competing against. Its only around 40 minutes long and afterwards everyone gets the opportunity to shower and gear up for the race. After the morning workout all Seeds must now pass the navigation test. This test will require Seeds to demonstrate a working knowledge of how to operate an OS map and compass. This is a safety requirement. From here it is a self navigated, unaided check point race with a challenge to complete at every check point. Chopping logs, climbing trees, scaling cliffs, or diving to the bottom of a pool. From here on you are learning things the hard way!
- Value For Money
- The Pros
- A unique event.
- Something for everyone.
- Extremely well planned.
- There is always a safe exit if needed.
- Everyone will be challenged mentally and physically.
- The Cons
- Make sure you have the right head on .... this is tough!
- You will be tested!
- Gutter Tor Car Park, Sheepstor, Yelverton, UK
Booking The Event
- How far In Advance Did I Book?
- 1 month before
- What Discount Did I get?
- No Discount
- How Easy Was It To Book?
The Event Arena / Village
- Rate The Event Arena
No Event Arena%
- Rate The Buzz Around The Event Arena
- Rate The Food And Drink Stalls
The Event Facilities
- Rate The Parking
- Rate The Toilets
- Rate The Showers
- Was There A Bag Drop?
- Was There A Changing Tent?
- Rate The Medal
- Rate The Swag Bag
- Rate The Marshalls
- Rate The Course Marking
No Course Marking%
- Rate The Course Buzz
- Was The Event Timed?
- Was There Water On The Course?
- Did I Need To Be Able To Swim?
- Where There Bouyancy Aids Available?
- What Was The Maximum Depth Of The Water?
- 2 Metres Plus
- Types Of Terrain On The Course?
- Water Crossing
- Natural Obstacles