Gladiators Ready! Slightly later than in previous years, the Gauntlet Games returns to Cardiff on Saturday. The Gauntlet Games is an obstacle course race promising gladiators, fun and hilarity. The Cardiff event takes place at the Coedarhydyglyn estate, which may be of interest to fans of Doctor Who and Sherlock. But what can be expected for spectators and racers on Saturday?
The Gauntlet Games comes in 5K and 10K versions. I took part in the 10K version back in 2015 and it is this version that I will be doing again on Saturday. Back in 2015 the 10K version consisted of a 5K trail run through the estate before joining the 5K route over an obstacle course. Since then the 10K version has been changed into 2 laps of the 5K obstacle course. I have mixed feelings about this as, although the whole point of an obstacle race is obstacles, I quite enjoyed the trail run section. In addition the novelty of the obstacles is somewhat lessened if you have to do them twice. On the other hand this does mean a second chance at obstacles that defeated you the first time round.
Despite the absence of a trail run section, the Coedarhydyglyn estate terrain will provide plenty of challenges. Expect hills. Mud is also likely, particularly if the weather forecast for the next few days is correct. It is worth bearing in mind that there is a short walk from the car park to the event site and this does include a large slope (inevitably). The event ‘festival’ does include food vendors, activity zones and things to keep kids entertained. Spectators also have the opportunity to fire water pistols and throw coloured powders at competitors as they head to the finish.
The Cardiff route map indicates 19 obstacles over the 5K route, with an additional Tipping See Saws obstacle on the link to the second lap for 10K runners. Some obstacles will see you take on ‘Gladiators’, who are encouraged to tailor their level of resistance to the ability of the competitor they are facing. Other obstacles will see you clamber, crawl, dive and slide your way with no opposition other than the obstacle. The Gauntlet Games website hails the highlight of the Cardiff Venue as the slide. I’m pretty sure that they mean the Belly Slide but there is also a Flume of Doom – I don’t know what the difference is but I’m looking forward to finding out!
The Gauntlet Games does not take itself too seriously and seeks to entertain as much as challenge. The Gladiator elements work well, with the gladiators providing the challenge on some obstacles but also helping competitors where needed on others. There is a fancy dress theme and this year the theme is superheroes. Expect to see these superheroes taking on lots of inflatables, foam, mud and so forth. They may fall into water and they will definitely get muddy. You can find out more about the various obstacles they will face here.
The Gauntlet Games describes itself as an obstacle race but this is not a timed event, or at least it hasn’t been in the past. This is a great introduction to obstacle racing and is really good fun. Although there is rain forecast at the moment, this is an event that I am really looking forward to. I won’t be dressing up myself, but if you’re there and looking out for me I’ll be wearing my customised Run Big Year Save the Children running top. A race report will follow in due course.