Wet weather is par for the course with winter OCR – heavy rain, plenty of mud and slippery obstacles mean no one gets to stay warm and dry. But, as any OCR diehard will tell you, that’s all part of the experience! While some sun is always welcome, it’s wise to be prepared for every eventuality – and that definitely includes it bucketing down with rain. Here’s our head-to-toe guide on how to choose the right wet weather gear for a race.
Wrags and Beanies
A woollen beanie might be fashionable, but it won’t do you much good in a rainy OCR. If you’ve seen photos of other obstacle races, it’s likely you’ve seen people wearing a wrag – in fact, you can see one in the photo at the top of this post. It’s a versatile piece of kit that can be worn in a number of different ways, giving your head some protection from the wind and rain. If you’re doing a lot of training on cold winter mornings – or racing on really cold days – a close-fitting polyester beanie is a smart investment, which will keep your ears nice and toasty.
Tops and Tees
The basic rule when choosing a top for OCR is to avoid cotton at all costs. While it might be breathable, cotton is simply too absorbent for a wet and muddy race. Choose a running shirt or vest that’s made from a synthetic fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin. Having a couple of different options with you on the day will allow you to stay flexible: it’s unlikely that you’ll want to run in an insulating merino base layer if it turns out to be balmy for autumn.
On the flipside of this, we know some do like to run bare chested – but we can’t in good conscience recommend it, particularly in late October!
Shorts, Socks and Tights
Unless you’re planning to run in your pants (again, not a choice we can recommend!), you’ll need something to cover your legs. You probably already own a few pairs of running shorts, but if you’re planning to use these you’ll want to augment them with some extra gear. We recommend compression socks and calf guards as two key pieces of equipment to enhance your experience wearing normal shorts – a good pair of compression socks will help to increase circulation and prevent the build-up of lactic acid. Importantly for OCR, they also won’t retain much water if you get them wet.
Calf guards will work in tandem with your compression socks – again helping to prevent lactic acid build-up, and providing rigidity and support to muscles that helps to reduce injury and fatigue both during and after the race.
Alternatively, try a tight for for an all-in-one solution (separate versions are available for both men and women). Depending on whether you already own any equipment, this may work out better financially.
Gloves and Sleeves
Opinion is generally divided on gloves for OCR – some like to run with them, some don’t. We think they’re definitely worth considering. They’ll help keep your hands warm, obviously, but also afford some much needed extra grip for when you’re tackling obstacles that require you to climb or carry.
We recommend short finger gloves, as these will ensure that you’re not fumbling with sandbags or buckets on the carrying challenges – and you’ll want something that isn’t going to absorb and retain lots of water. Woolly gloves are NOT a good idea! Something like these should provide you the protection and grip you need, without breaking the bank.
Depending on how cold it is, you might want to try arm guards too – something that’s worth bringing along if you’ve got them, just in case it’s a particularly chilly day.
– Bring a dry, warm change of clothes. Try to keep them within easy reach of the finish line, as your core temperature is likely to drop quickly after you cross the finish line.
– We don’t have showers on-site – but you might want to bring a towel to dry yourself off post-race.
– Bring some bin bags or a laundry basket – these will be necessary for putting your wet and muddy clothes into when you finish!