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Obstacle races offer hell and sea water

After the wettest winter (and spring!) on record, the weather is finally improving. Which means it’s time to get out and get fit for the summer. Okay, that last bit is optional. But should you be one of the hearty few who relish a quick jog up the mountains, then this is your season. And, with Cyprus’ two main obstacle races on the horizon, you’ve plenty to look forward to.

First up is Legion Run. Taking place this Saturday, April 13, just outside Pano Polemidia, the annual obstacle race is a favourite of muscled-up gym goers. However, in that it’s a team event, you’ll also find the odd group of pasty people plodding their way round the 5-kilometre course (companies island-wide seem to think it’s a good team-building event for those who spend the rest of the year bent over a screen!). The point being (and this must be said in capitals), It Is Not A Race, but rather “the ultimate opportunity for you to push past your physical and mental limits, and share some epic moments with friends, co-workers or family.”

“The Legion Run is not a race,” organisers reiterate. “We don’t even time you. No prizes, no medals, no certificates. It’s a personal challenge which, in turn, requires some pretty good teamwork. All you get at the finish line is a beer, a t-shirt and the genuine pride that you’ve made it through this thrilling five-kilometre run with its obstacles of mud, fire, ice and barbed wire.”

For those of us who planned to spend the weekend mainlining Netflix, it all sounds a bit hearty. But there are, quite seriously, any number of people who savour a Saturday slogging past fiendish obstacles such as the Aqueduct (“crawl through yucky, muddy water and then go under a wall”), the barbarian (“wriggle under a net which is wet, dirty, and slimy and gets tighter as you go through”), the Censura (“jump grab, swing or spin yourself over a series of timbers”), and the Colosseum (“who doesn’t want to climb over, jump on and try to crush row after row of cars?”). And we mustn’t forget the Colossus, which is usually the grand finale… Just when you think you’re going to make it over that finish line, you get a massive half-pipe run: “7.5 by 12 meters of pure intimidation”!

Of course you don’t have to compete. Organisers are quite happy for spectators to roll up with the deckchairs, break out the coolbox, and spend the day watching their co-workers descend into the seven circles of hell. And it’s the same at the Dorians Coastal Challenge, where onlookers are welcomed with open (if muddy) arms…

Taking place on May 4 at Molos, Limassol, this event sees much of the same, with the added benefit of a beachy backdrop and a few marine elements. Billed as “a non-competitive five-kilometre course with more than 20 obstacles”, the Dorians Coastal Challenge is run along “the sandy beach and in shallow and safe sea waters.

“Each course,” say organisers, “is designed to challenge the strength, endurance, perseverance, mental toughness and team spirit of participants. And whether you’re an individual or a team, a physically inactive person or a fitness fanatic, a corporate team who wants to escape the ordinary or a group of outdoor activities mates, you’ll get a real sense of achievement at the end.”

This time round, participants might find themselves carrying logs through the mud (Hercules Trail), utilising a pulling pendulums up a framework of girders (Atlas Hoist), climbing a rope to ring a bell (Promitheus), or balancing on an inflatable tube over the water (Arc). There’s also an upside down scrabble across a hanging net (Arachni), and a series of muddy hills and pits filled with ice cubes (Hades), as well as the self-explanatory Bucket Carry, Sandbag Carry, and Sled Drag – the organisers having clearly run out of pithy Greek names.

All in all, we’ve got a pretty active month ahead, and if your daily drive to work doesn’t already present enough of a daily obstacle, and you laugh at the thought of negotiating the pitfalls of Jumbo on a Saturday, then sign yourself up; the rest of us (those who enjoy exercising nothing more than a little decorum) will be cheering you on. From a deckchair. On the sidelines.

 

Legion Run

In Pano Polemidia on April 13. For more information visit http://www.legionrun.com

Dorians Coastal Challenge

Molos, Limassol, on May 4. For more information visit https://dorianschallenge.com


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