Tuesday, 29 January 2013


Iceman is the third in a series of five off road events organised by Human Race. The others include WildMan, MudMan, TuffMan and TrailMan. Each event has the option of at least one run distance and a duathlon or relay duathlon plus canicross (running with your dog) option for runners which makes it one of the most varied events I’ve ever entered.

With this range of races organisation is key and this really was one of the most smoothly organised races I’d taken part in. Email communication in the run up to the day was very comprehensive (although it was unclear in the emails whether certain points applied across the board or just to duathletes) and race packs easily collected on the day. The site was well signposted from the road and there didn’t seem to be any trouble with parking capacity although I think some of us were a little worried that we might not get out of the mud afterwards. Runners were parked separately from duathletes so that we could exit earlier and not risk being blocked in.

The start area was well marked, there was an excellent coffee truck selling amazing looking flapjacks (I’m sure they did well at the finish) plus the standard bacon butty truck. All entrants received an event-specific technical t-shirt (Grim… take note) when collecting their race pack. The idea is to collect the set over the series but I think I’d have preferred to have received it at the end… the thought did cross my mind that I could just leave, not having run the race but with the t-shirt claiming I had.

There was a staggered start with the duathletes setting off first, followed by the 11km runners, the 16km runners and finally the canicross runners. The announcer on the start line did an excellent job of corralling the right group at the right time and I didn’t notice anyone panicking and missing their start. As part of the 16km group I ran one lap of the 6k bike course which was mostly flat, followed by 2 laps of the 5km run course which was brutally hilly. The weather on the day was clear and dry and a little warmer than previous days which made for a very enjoyable running experience. The course was mostly free from ice and wasn’t excessively muddy. It was well marked with signs, tape and very cheery, friendly marshalls, never felt too crowded and had a well-placed water station near the start/lap crossover which I got to pass twice. There were absolutely no distance markers though, which sort of makes sense given the variety of races taking place, but it was unexpected.

With hindsight I enjoyed the course, it was varied enough and scenic through the forest but I found the hills completely horrid. I walked them just so I stood a chance of finishing in relative comfort. The finish area was well managed, mostly clear by the time I finished, with someone to cut off your timing chip. No medal or goody bag as such but every participant got a vitacoco drink, bottle of water and cereal bar.

If all the other events are as well organised I would certainly recommend them, especially if you’re not quite ready for a Grim or a Brutal. I’d say in some respects these are easier, or rather have different challenges. There’s a friendly atmosphere and I enjoyed my race being part of something bigger. Although I won’t be running another in the series this year I’d be tempted to run another, or maybe try for the whole series, another time.

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