On Sunday 17 October Bruce Raeside, a Scottish international middle distance runner from Nottingham, won the Edinburgh Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest, a 10km assault course through the city centre, in a lightning speed time of 00:37:59. This completed his hat trick of wins at the three Survival of the Fittest races in Cardiff, Nottingham and Edinburgh, brought to the cities by Rat Race Events, the team behind the hugely popular annual Edinburgh Rat Race urban adventure race.
Racing as solo competitors from a series of dramatic massed starts on the Royal Mile, over 1700 seasoned runners and rookie racers completed the tough 10km run up, over, down and through the Old Town, over Calton Hill and through Holyrood Park and the Grassmarket, with more than ten unforgiving but engaging obstacle zones and challenging features en route.
A win in the Scottish Capital was particularly sweet for Raeside, not only because he had narrowly missed out on competing for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi due to an injury, but he also because he had a lot of support from family from Scottish family members. Raeside said: ‘With my Scottish roots and Scottish family support today, it feels like a real home win. It is a big relief to finally complete all three Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest events in one piece. As for winning all three, well, when I first signed up for the tri-nations series I hadn’t a clue what I was letting myself in for as adventure running was something I’d never even done before! It was a fantastic experience and winning was a real bonus.
‘Since taking part and winning I have had a lot of elite runners asking me about Survival of the Fittest and wanting to know all about this obstacle course on a grand scale so I think the word is starting to spread. Hopefully next year more elite athletes will give it a go.’
Nicola Duncan was the first female to complete the 10km course in 00:46:41.
Participants faced some staple ‘Survival’ classics such as the colossal hay bale wall (less than 100 metres from the start), the Army Assault Course and the Urban Jungle on Calton Hill. They also had to cope with the muscle burning Jacob’s Ladder Climb, a gruelling and energy-sapping stair climb from Calton Road to Calton Hill, as well as a fun waterslide and a giant inflatable assault course. Also standing between entrants and the success of crossing the finish line was the final obstacle, the infamous Men’s Health ‘Wall of Fame’ – a sheer eight-foot high construction, which competitors had to scale before they are able to officially call themselves a true Survivor!
Mark Cooper from Edinburgh, who earlier this year completed 50 marathons across Europe in 56 days, gave the Edinburgh event a go. He survived the course in 00:46:21. After the race Mark said: ‘What an original and fun event. I wondered how it would work but the entire race was very well organised, definitely something I want to do again next year. I was also very chuffed with my time.’
The Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest events, which were part of a tri-nations series – Cardiff (3/10/10), Nottingham 9/10/10) and Edinburgh (17/10/10), have been staged by the world’s best-selling men’s lifestyle magazine, Men’s Health, in conjunction with Rat Race Events and sponsored by Land Rover. Other event partners include Under Armour, For Goodness Shakes and Iceni Water.
The inventive format was successfully staged in Edinburgh for the first time last year to a sell-out field of 1500 runners.
Further information can be found on the event website.