Doug Spence Co-founder – Interview with Mudstacle


Big wall

So it’s onwards and upwards for Dirty Dozen, going from one event in 2013 to four in 2014 (and maybe more to come). What has driven you to expand?

We received so much great feedback at our first race that we wanted to be able to offer it to as many people as we can. Our primary goal is to offer first class obstacles races at competitive prices so we’ve rolled Dirty Dozen out to the East and West and hopefully we’ll be able to work our way North too.

How and why did you choose your new venues?

We chose venues for the terrain and their willingness to allow us to build the type of obstacles we know our runners want. Anyone can throw some crawl nets on the ground but because we want to build huge and exciting obstacles we have to pick the right venues. Not everyone will allow you to bring in heavy machinery and dig great big holes and fill them with ice cold water but by working closely with venues we can ensure impact is kept to a minimum whilst we deliver the goods to our runners.

What kind of terrain can we expect at each of the venues?

The South West will be remembered for the hills, some of them are comically steep. It has inclines that you could ski down, with or without snow. London East will be remembered for its lake, its just perfect for a diving board and possibly a rope crossing. I haven’t finalised what’s going in there yet but its going to be great for runners and spectators alike.

You’re now splitting all of the events out to 12km on Saturday and 6km on Sunday. Will the 12km be twice around the 6km route?

We don’t believe in laps. We think a race should be out and back and not seeing the same obstacles twice. Don’t forget that the Dirty Dozen has 20 military style obstacles and the Dirty Half Dozen has 15 so you can’t just cut that in half, it just doesn’t add up. Each course will be carefully planned so that each day is its own race.

Being a Mudstacle League event, are you hoping to get some competitive runners along?

We’ve done really well on this front. Because the feedback was so good from our first event, it was easy to sign up the cream of the crop. The list includes Jon Albon, Ross MacDonald, Ross Phelan, Richard Crewe, Sam Cherry, Katie Keeble, Faye Caley and Tim Lovett. I’m super excited to see these guys in action and to see what they make of our massive obstacles (I know Sam is a big fan, he won our first race).

I’m sure there’s still a lot there for the fun runners, right?

For me its great to have the elite guys and girls there but its more important to keep the fun runners happy. Without them, this whole industry would not exist. I’m just as likely to listen to feedback from the guys at the back as I am from the front.

If anyone wants to do more than 12km, would you allow them to do laps?

We do plan to launch a Dirty Dozen and Half – 18k and 25 military style obstacles for those looking for a longer race but that is work in progress for now. What I would say is that if someone has gas in the tank to run round a Dirty Dozen twice, they weren’t trying hard enough the first time round.

You showed some really amazing obstacle building skills at your inaugural event. Will you be bringing any new obstacles to next year’s events?

Thanks Pete, that’s great to hear. We spent a long time designing and building our obstacles so I’m really pleased to hear you say that. Its all about keeping our runners challenged so yes, absolutely, there will be new obstacles in 2014. My note pads are full of drawings and scribbles full of stick men battling their way across the page. I can’t say too much as I like to keep you all guessing but monkey bars over cold water are a reall must this year. They might not be original but they are good. Maybe I could set them on fire? That would be original…

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A little tip for you all when deliberating about training. Just get it done!

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