I’m a little late writing this review (the event was on the 21st May) due to having a lot going on lately, but here it finally is! This review will have a different layout to my race reviews as it was more of a fun day out than a running event. As such, there will also be no star review.
The Inflatable 5k is an inflatable obstacle course, consisting of 9 obstacles which runners must overcome before reaching the ultimate final obstacle where runners can choose between two finishes: the Leap of Faith or the Plummet. The Plummet is a really high slide, and the Leap of Faith is a 10ft free jump. You can only attempt both obstacles if you pay to upgrade to a two lap pass, which was an additional £7.50 at the time of booking, and you then get a 10k medal instead of 5k.
Me and my fiancé were in the 1:15pm start wave, but arrived early to ensure that we had time to park and join in with the warm up. We were quite surprised by how many people were there, despite most of the waves being earlier in the morning, there was still a lot of spectators sitting on the steps, as well as people warming up before their wave times. After warming up we headed over to the start pen, where people were let out in small groups so that it wasn’t crowded on the obstacles.
After a few minutes wait, it was our turn to head out and off we started running.
The first obstacle wasn’t too far – the Start Mountain. This was basically an inflatable hill which you had to run up, with a slide on the other side. It was quite a simple obstacle, but I did get friction burn when going down the slide as I was a bit eager!
The run to the next obstacle was a little longer, but nothing strenuous. This obstacle was the Holes (Under and Over); you had to reach the other side whilst finding a hole to put your foot in and then crawling under a barrier… a strange one to explain, and it was definitely a hard obstacle for speed. I found this harder than my fiancé due to having smaller legs.
The third obstacle is Ripple Runner. Here you run along the pathway, which is raised and lowered so you run across an uneven path, scale a wall and then slide down to finish the obstacle. Even though the ripples don’t look that bad, they can be difficult to run across. The wall was easy enough to get up and there is also a rope to help you for grip if you struggle.
The next obstacle was one that I wasn’t looking forward to… the Crawler. An inflatable tunnel that you have to crawl through to reach the other side; simple enough, but I don’t like the dark or confined spaces, so I dived into it and crawled as fast as I could to the other side. It wasn’t as dark as I had expected, which was a bonus.
Just before obstacle number five, there was a High5! Water station, where we were given a High5! Nutrition bar (which was actually not horrible, just a bit chewy) and a cup of water.
Obstacle number five was a fun one, but I did hurt my arm doing it; the Hurdles. The Hurdles were actually quite high, I’m 5 foot 5 and had to throw my body over them as they were just below shoulder height. I enjoyed this obstacle but be careful not to get over them too aggressively!
The Gauntlet was number six, and it was comprised of a few elements – a tunnel, an under and over, a ball dodge and a climb. It was a simple obstacle, and could have been a little longer.
My least favourite obstacle was the Bish Bash; this is a new obstacle which I believe replaced Oh Balls!. You have to run through five rows of inflatable punch bags and then either jump over or run around a number of X shaped obstacles. This felt like a pointless obstacle, and was annoying to run through if you were following someone, as the punch bags ended up bouncing at you.
Next up was Storm the Walls. I enjoyed this obstacle, but it made me realize how weak my upper body is! You have to scale two walls using the hand and foot holes provided – each wall has a small section and a taller section, so you can choose how far to climb depending on strength. Gripping onto the holes was quite tough and did require more upper body strength than I imagined.
Mega Mountains was the penultimate obstacle; climb to the top of the mountain and slide down, three times. It was a fun obstacle that I definitely felt in my legs. The one thing I did struggle with was the slide technique… trying to slide down the obstacles comfortably without getting your ankle caught or ending up with friction burn. I slid down the first mountain and my ankle got dragged behind me, which was a little sore.
Then we have the final obstacle, and the choice of the Plummet or the Leap of Faith. Before we started I had said that I would like to do the Leap of Faith, as I am scared of heights and it would be a real challenge, and now that we had tried all of the other obstacles, neither of us really fancied attempting the Plummet due to the slide. The queue for both obstacles was quite long, but the event staff were bringing around Yazoo! Milkshakes for free, which was greatly appreciated, especially as it was a hot day. After around 45 minutes it was our turn to start the climb up the Leap of Faith. My heart was beating out of my chest, I told myself that when it was my turn, to just run and jump, no looking down or hesitating… but the moment came, I stepped up to the top, and froze. The drop looked massive. So many other people had struggled, and some even went back down and queued for the Plummet instead. My fiancé was trying to convince me to jump, the two event staff were giving me tips, and everyone in the queue behind me started shouting “Jump! Jump! Jump!”… I stepped back to get a run up, started my run, and then froze at the last moment. It felt like I had been up there an eternity, but it had only been a few minutes. Eventually I just told myself that I had to do it, and off I went. The relief of hitting the airbag at the bottom was immense, and I just lay there for a second, my legs too shaky to move. I crawled off the bag and waited for my fiancé to jump; he was a lot quicker than me!
We then walked towards the finish area where we were given our medals and a t-shirt, and asked if we would like a photograph together, which we did.
All in all, we both really enjoyed the Inflatable 5k and dropped lucky that the weather was sunny and dry, so it turned into a nice day out together. I think it’s something that I’d only do once (we’ll see next year, also depends if they change the obstacles), but would definitely recommend to people who haven’t done it before. I think we paid £26.50 each, including the booking fee, because we got early bird prices, so it wasn’t too bad considering we got to race ten obstacles, water, snack bar, milkshake, t-shirt and a medal. The t-shirt could have been better though; it’s just a standard cotton t-shirt with “Inflatable 5k” printed on the front – I’d have preferred a technical or wicking t-shirt. I purchased two photographs from the event, which were £5 each – so not a bad price when compared to other events. We also had to pay £3 for parking. It’s definitely a fun day out, and would be even better if you were to enter with a group of family or friends!