Are you traveling to OCRWC in the UK?

We’re gearing up for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships 2019, and it’s looking to be our biggest, and best event yet. It’s our 6th year, and 3rd location, for those of you who were with us last year, you have an idea of what to expect, and for anyone joining us in the UK for the first time, there are certainly questions galore to be answered.

OCR World Championships in the U.K.

Whilst everything will be set up for the athletes and their families and supporters to have an amazing time, it’s understandable that there’s a little trepidation amongst those traveling to this unknown event. In order to make your time a little more comfortable, and your research a little easier, I’ve put together a few top tips for your ultimate OCRWC 2019 trip.

Even for those who joined us here in Brentwood, UK in 2018 there’s still more to learn!

The best way to think of the location is as your own town. It’s not a purpose built tourist venue like Blue Mountains, it is a regular town, and the event will be taking place in the surrounding countryside. Think of how you would advise someone visiting you (Unless you live somewhere like central NYC and then it’s totally not like that…)

Getting Around

Starting line of an obstacle course race.

The venue address is Secret Nuclear Bunker, Kelvedon Hatch, CM15 0LA. Yes, that is the GPS address. 

Cars

Without a doubt your easiest option is to rent a car. As someone who was terrified of driving abroad, I did it alone for the first time ever for the OCRWC 2016 in Canada with no issues (OK, so I had no idea how to drive an automatic and bunny hopped out of the lot, but I made it there safe).

Make sure you request an automatic, and get a sat-nav (GPS), and don’t forget, cars in the UK tend to be a lot smaller than in the US & Canada.

To get to the site or a local town from either Heathrow or Gatwick by car you won’t be going through London, so don’t worry about driving in the city, (or the congestion charge). You’ll take the circular road the M25, often full of traffic and pretty slow, but it gets you there.

Depending on which route you take you could pass the Dartford Crossing, which incurs a toll between 6am and 10pm. People have been known to miss the signs, so check your route before you travel. You’ll need to pay the fee of £2.50 by the midnight of the day after you cross.

A rule of thumb is that the speed limit is 70mph on the motorways

If you ever see a sign with a slower speed posted, either on the side of the road or electronically above, adhere to it, as there will be cameras.

Here’s an interesting one for our friends from the US & Canada. Don’t turn left on a red light. Don’t turn right on a red light. Do nothing at a red light but sit and wait.

Roundabouts are something that cause a bit of worry amongst drivers from the States, so just remember, give way to the right, and indicate clearly when you want to get off (and check out YouTube for handy videos if you’re really worried!)

Parking at the OCRWC site will be more than plentiful, this is a site used to hosting thousands of visitors over several race weekends a year. A small fee will apply to parking on site Friday-Sunday, so bring cash.

Anyone staying in Brentwood will describe the horrors of Sandpit Lane, try your best to avois this narrow, winding road if you can!

Public transport

To get from the airport to your hotel, you’ll probably be able to use the trains and a taxi, but for traveling from your hotel to the race site, I just wouldn’t risk it. Buses run very irregularly, and whilst a few run close to the site, it’s not something you want to be relying on. Check out www.gatwickexpress.com for your train options from gatwick and www.heathrowexpress.com for Heathrow. However, after a long journey you may want to pre-book a taxi to take you straight to your door if funds allow.

Taxis and Uber exist in Brentwood town, but I would not rely on getting one of these out of the site. Make friends on the the OCR World Championships Athletes page and look for car shares if you don’t have your own mode of transport.

If taxi is your only option then I recommend pre-booking with a  local company, not using Uber. Here are some numbers:

Allied Taxis Chelmsford +44 1245 44 32 32

Treble Twenty Cars +44 1277 20 20 20

A B C +44 1277 21 60 60

The Rome2Rio app is a great tool for displaying travel options in any city or town in the world, if you think you’ll need to use transport at any time, download it before you go to make sure you’re covered. If you wanted to visit London whist you are over then public transport is your best option, and the above app or the Tube Map app will be your friends.

Keeping in touch

Obstacle course racers climbing up wall.

Unless your provider allows the use of data abroad, you’ll be left racking up huge bills if you use your phone in the UK. To avoid this, when traveling to a country not covered by my plan I always hire a wifi hotspot. I particularly like the sky roam hotspot from TEP Wireless.

You can either order this to your door before you leave or collect and drop off at Heathrow Terminals 2, 3, 4, & 5. A week’s hire in October including drop off is around £60, and the beauty is it can be used by more than one person at a time -so long as you’re all in range- so it’s great to share the cost between friends. Don’t forget to google coupon codes for hire as there are always some floating around. Whatever you choose to do, expect coverage on the day to be slow due to the amount of traffic.

It could be cold in October, and those with smartphones know this drains your battery. Keeping an external battery in your kit bag is always a good idea, you can pick a good quality one up on amazon, my brand of choice is Anker.

Bare Necessities

Prepare for the worst: Last year we saw incredibly unseasonal warm and dry weather. your biggest mistake would be to expect this again. Whilst it could happen, I wouldn’t rely on it! Pack your Dryrobe and some good quality boots to stomp through all that mud. Wellies, whilst not glamorous are useful, otherwise waterproof walking or military boots will never let you down. Pack your kit accordingly too, and call it on the day. Don’t forget to bring plenty of neoprene just in case.

Food

On site there will be a multitude of food options, so you needn’t worry about going hungry. If you want to eat out at night then on the weekend (Thursday-Sunday) I advise booking a table whichever town you’re in: they’ll be busy on a regular weekend, let alone a World Championship Race weekend.

If you’re in an apartment with a kitchen you will be able to easily stock up at one of the local supermarkets, look out for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Morrisons. Most supermarkets are open 24 hours a day Monday-Friday, until 10pm Saturday, and then 10am-4pm Sunday. Some smaller “Local stores” have longer hours.

And just in case…

Don’t forget your travel adapters as we have different plugs over here, one top tip is to bring one adapter and a four way extension so you you can use a few items of the one plug.

Pre buy any cash before you leave as this will be your cheapest option, especially over buying at the airport or using your card.

Most hotels offer a laundry service, to avoid you carrying ridiculously muddy kit home, and most apartments will have washing machines, however, you will find several laundrettes in Brentwood such as Washeteria, but expect all services to be busy. Alternatively, rinse it in the bath, wring it out, and carry it home in a dry bag and deal with it when you get back.

Keep your eyes on the athletes page for car shares, team members needed, room sharing, and anything else you could need.

Above all, don’t worry! You will have an incredible time, surrounded by amazing people. You’re near one of the most famous cities in the world, attending an amazing event. Relax, and enjoy.

-Francesca Chiorando

Francesca is an avid obstacle course racer, TV host, and blogger at Mud Is My Makeup. Follow her Instagram at @MudIsMyMakeUp and @FranChiorando.