McTough Guy Race Review

Check out the McTough Guy 2016 Race Review from guest writer & RAW Athlete Liam Hayman


There was a good amount of hype surrounding McTough Guy and rightly so, with Alex Potter the man charged with bringing the purest OCR in the world, to bonnie Scotland. The date was set as 3/1/16, the registrations were rising and the excitement was building. It was going to be epic. This was also an international race with representatives from countries such as Germany and Belgium.

Unfortunately, my plan at arrival did not play out very well due to issues with registration and bad time keeping, so I actually got to the start line without a warm up, something that I have never done before and ever intend to do again. On the plus side, it was nice to see lots of familiar faces around before and after the race, even though I didn’t get a chance to chat. A handful of my RAW Obstacle Race Teammates had travelled up from England for the race and one down from Inverness, so there was plenty of banter and chest puffing at the start line. It was a very long time at the start line too, long enough for a team photograph.

The wait was worth it however when smoke began to bellow ahead of us only to be dispersed and what felt like an army of pipers played and marched towards us through the smoke, stopping only where the start line kept us apart. I can say with absolute certainty that I have never been so pumped up at a start line as I was then and although it simply can not replicate the effect that it had on us, Click here for link to face off with the pipers video,

The race began and we headed off along the Knockhill track (a great motor racing track as it happens) until we hit the first of many cargo nets and clambered over the tyre walls that followed. Next we hit OCR Scotland’s obstacle, an A frame with two options for making our way up, one side had footholds as an easier option and the other had a small rope at the top run up and grab a hold of, pulling yourself up the remainder of the way. 

A short burst later we hit a wall of tyres to climb over, which included consistent apologies for standing on people’s hands. We dropped down and vaulted a couple of sets of planks suspended between trees and made our way through some seriously boggy ground to the first water obstacle which was a refreshing cage like crawl through the water. 

The slaloms were fantastic, up and down approximately six times over slick ground, although to tell you the truth I opted to slide down parts of it. Once the slaloms were conquered we headed along some muddy mounds with intervening ground which was, make sure that you’re sat down for this, boggy! 

Before we knew it we had passed through a field and were grabbing sandbags for the hill carry, but not before we squeezed ourselves under a row of tyres (I’m still not sure how we managed to do that), pushed through a caber carry (without accidentally knocking anybody out with said caber) and washed our nice running shoes as we ran and waded along the river.

The hill climb didn’t go quite as well as I hoped and I ended up hiking the latter half of the climb, but the view was fantastic and the breeze refreshing. We ditched our sandbags with some relief and made our way down the other side of the hill and through another water crawl until we hit the bog, which we waded through for what felt like half of a kilometre, but may have been far less. 

The bog brought us out at the track again, which we crossed until we hit the rope traverse. The traverse was simple and I wasn’t worried that I would end up in the freezing water, but had I done so it would likely have been game over as I was already shivering from just a short stop queuing for the traverse. I was told afterwards that the rope traverse was eventually shut which is a shame. 

The remainder of the race took us up a final and short ascent back onto the other side of the race track, into the pit area and onto the final set of obstacles which included hurdles, sliding over car bonnets (that was a new one for me!) and Nessie (click for photo), a combination of angled wall climbs.

RAW captain Rick had only just recovered from Lyme’s disease and it was my first race for six months so we didn’t even race it in the end, we just went round as mates and enjoyed the course. I had been longing for a finish line again for some time, so I felt quite emotional crossing the finish line. Unfortunately, I’ve now broken my left big toe and can’t run for a minimum of two weeks, so it wasn’t consequence free, but I haven’t felt a single bit of regret.