I find every element of endurance based challenges interesting, but the way an athlete chooses to approach their task, to me, is fascinating.
By definition, long events quite simply allow for more time for things to go wrong.
How an athlete plans ahead for and tackles those bumps in the road can and often does, change everything. I regularly find longer events more exciting because it leaves any competition wide open - tables can turn at any minute and the favourite to win is suddenly half way down the field.
One of my goals when designing or organising an event is to ensure the athlete needs to think - brains and brawn.
In designing Top Squad, I wanted a team event that requires each athlete to push their limits in one discipline, but also make it hard enough for everything to blow up if they don’t plan, focus or pace themselves properly. It might sound mean, but there are plenty of blinkers-on + go events to do if this isn’t your thing. We wanted something different. Challenging. Thought provoking. And a little painful.
Introducing the birth of Top Squad…
Instead of a perfectly flat, well marked race, what happens if you tell an athlete to run across the island, with no fixed route? So we decided we would try blowing a whistle and inform our cardio fanatics that we’d meet them at the other end of the country. Which route will each runner choose? The shortest on Google? Less major road crossings? Flatter but longer? Will one wrong turn cost them their position? Will they follow a person in front of them and risk getting lost, too?
Anything can happen in our first event, and there’s every chance it will.
More often than not, the strongest deadlifter will pick the most weight up off the floor. But what if instead of testing their 1 rep max, we ask them to keep lifting until they’ve accumulated 10 tons of pulling, and give them 1 hour to do it?
10,000 kg is… a lot. But anything can be achieved if you break it down far enough. One simple mid-range breakdown is a 100kg lift in 10 sets, at 10 reps a piece.
Will our lifters go super heavy or drop the weight and go nuts on the reps? Will a tree-trunk thigh-ed powerlifter prevail, or will the stamina of a crossfitter plough through the competition?
A challenge for both glutes and the calculator.
A little research on the indoor rowing world quickly reveals that short distance workouts are by far the most common. Athletes who do attempt longer challenges tend to automatically increase in visually pleasing numbers - 5km, 10km to half marathon distances.
So what we wanted to do was design a row that was both long, and a distance that no one has probably ever specifically trained for, or would know precisely how to pace. 18km felt just right.
Our rowers will need to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to not burn out too early, or leave too much in the tank.
Technique is everything on the rope. OCR athletes rarely get round a course without facing at least one rope climb. Crossfitters and military personnel are often given multiple reps in their training.
What happens when you blow a whistle and see which climber can achieve the most vertical gain in 1 hour? This is one event where inefficient technique and too much enthusiasm could destroy an athlete’s grip within minutes and cost them the competition. How will they pace themselves to squeeze maximum reps out over the 60 minute cut off?
The Secret Event.
One final test. An element of the unknown adds excitement to any event and we promise just that on our 5th and final challenge. The announcement will take place 1 hour before the bell.
Two people from each team - one female and one male, will team up to tackle this one. Who will each team choose on the make or break event? Will it be based on fatigue from previous events? Skill? Strength? Stamina?
Strategy, strategy, strategy. We can’t wait to watch it all unfold.
Sign your team up now.