This month we acknowledge the Learnihan family from Southampton who enjoy nothing more than taking part in Active Warrior obstacle course races at The Outdoor Sports Centre. We caught up with the Learnihans to find out a bit more about them and the important role that activity plays in family life.
Hi Mark, tell me about your family and the Active Warrior races you’ve all taken part in together recently.
I’m Mark, I’m 39 years old and took part in the Forlorn Hope and then ran the Young Recruits with my kids later in the day. I stayed with Niamh throughout Young Recruits, then ran the main course again with my wife Kirsty, also 39. We have 3 kids; Alexia 13, Ethan 11 and Niamh who is 4. They all loved taking part in the Young Recruits race. In fact Alexia loved it so much she did it 3 times!
How did you all find the Active Warrior event?
I found the course very rewarding, I love the fact that it is obstacle intensive, there were a number of new obstacles this year such as the water pull, tunnels and good use of the boating lake, The natural landscape of the facility is fully utilised in the course layout with a great mix of everything you would need from an OCR, the water slide was great although I will not go down on my stomach again!
Kirsty found the course challenging but great fun, she ran the course with one of her friends who had never taken part in an OCR but she absolutely loved it, the mudzone was one of their favourite obstacles and the length of the course was just right for them both.
Alexia loved running the young recruits course but in hindsight she would have been better suited to running the main course as she found the obstacles a bit too easy on the young recruits.
Ethan found the course perfect and it suited his level of what he wanted to achieve, he ran the course twice but I think this was a good distance for him and one which he could get the most out of.
Niamh LOVED it, she had been looking forward to it all week, even counting down the number of sleeps, she went off like a rocket and it was great to see her energy and enthusiasm. The obstacles were tricky for her but she managed, with a little help, to get through them all. She really did have a huge sense of achievement from completing the course and the medal is taking pride of place in her bedroom.
What does it mean to you to be active together as a family?
There is no better feeling for me than to be active with my family. I am passionate to ensure that my children do not have sedentary lifestyles, I am well aware of the dangers that they will face from sitting at desks, playing video games and being drawn to phones and tablets from an ever earlier age. An event like this really helps to bring the family together, there are very few activities where you can all compete and do it together especially something that can challenge and test you. To see my children and my wife all exercising together brings a sense of pride and achievement on its own, and when its muddy it makes it loads of fun, I cant think of many better ways to spend time together than by doing Active Warrior and Young Recruits
What did you all enjoy the most about the event?
I enjoyed the fact that I could do this with my family and friends, water slide was epic. Kirsty enjoyed the mudzone the most and has great memories of the event village as well as sharing experiences with others. Alexia liked the fact that she could race boys around the course and do it together rather than being split into girls / boys races. She also loved the fact she could do the course a number of times. Ethan enjoyed getting wet and loved the water slide. Niamh just loved everything, but most of all her medal at the end and being able to finish with the “grown ups”.
Would you recommend this to other families?
Absolutely, if you’re looking for something to challenge you but is an absolute bundle of fun then book this right now, you will not regret it.
What are you planning to do next?
Santa Dash is being held at the Outdoor Sports Centre next and again this looks like a lot of fun. We will hopefully be taking part in this and all doing it together, its not a race for us, despite the cliché it is about taking part as a family and whether we run, jog or walk, I know that we will enjoy it as we are doing it together.