foot-and-mouth & bovine tuberculosis

Xrunner is working with the environment to preserve nature as obstacle racing takes over the UK’s countryside

Reports state that approximately 5 million people took part in the obstacle race phenomenon last year. That number is only going to grow with the success of the events but at what cost to the environment?

Cross contamination is a huge factor in the spread of diseases. Foot-and-mouth, bovine tuberculosis, aphanomyces astaci aka crayfish plague to name just a  few. These all affect our wildlife, farm animals and human friends that enjoy the countryside.

XRunner insists that all competitors takes minimal, but necessary steps to help reduce this risk of contamination. By simply washing and drying all running gear and shoes that have been previously worn outdoors. These simple steps greatly reduce the risk of cross contamination. All competitors must wear clean dry kit otherwise you will not be allowed to take part in our events, sorry.

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the rise of the mud run

In order to create the ultimate mud run and obstacle course you need the ideal location. In most cases that means using the natural terrain of the countryside. This provides the perfect ground on which to stage your muddy races. XRunner now in its tenth year, have successfully staged over thirty mud runs and obstacle races. We have learned a great deal about the environment and the potential implications involved.

The rise of the mud run & obstacle race events is a story of extreme success. Over the last three years we are seeing increasingly more race events springing up all over the country, with some of the leading race organisers reporting a 2,400% increase in entrants within this short time.

These numbers will have an effect on the countryside and its important that we minimise any negative effects.

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environmental agency survey

At Xrunner’s latest location, we used the local environmental agents to survey the area well in advance of the forthcoming Wild Mud Run event, we found a colony of rare and endangered British White Claw Crayfish residing in one of the lakes.

These Crayfish are officially a protected species and high on the endangered list with possible extinction in less than twenty years. We have taken every precaution to get the best advice from the relevant authorities. One of the biggest risk to these crayfish is cross contamination from other waters that carry their killer disease the Crayfish Plague, aka aphanomyces astaci. These spores kill our UK species, however the American Signal Crayfish (pictured) are immune and are taking over our countryside.

Crayfish plague spores can spread on damp equipment, shoes and clothing. The solution is simple make sure you wash and then completely dry all equipment.

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positive effect on the environment

It is important to try and encourage a positive effect on the environment and to preserve the areas we are using. For example, at an Xrunner location we used for the first time, we created an obstacle in what was effectively nothing more than wet muddy area with swampy terrain.

After 15,000 Xrunners negotiated this obstacle we have now contributed to creating a natural lake where brown trout now reside, so happily they are breeding successfully again.

Having a positive effect such as this on our countryside means that we are accepted and supported by our local community. Its important to think about what happens to the land and environment when we leave. Re-instatement and preservation is important to Xrunner as we want to continue to enjoy the benefits of our British countryside, maintaining a good relationships within the community we live in.

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dogs poo cause abortion in cattle

A Dog Disease has caused ‘Abortion Storms’ across the UK.

Neospora is a parasite found in dog poo. When pregnant cattle graze on the grass that dogs have crapped upon, they can ingest the parasite, causing them to spontaneously abort or give birth to calves infected with the disease for life.

Dog attacks on sheep are also becoming more common. The National Sheep Association believes dog attacks on sheep are becoming more frequent and estimates that 20 to 25 per cent of its members have experienced dog attacks on flocks.

SheepWatch UK – a voluntary body that is encouraging farmers to report all cases of dogs worrying sheep – provided MPs with an estimate that some 15,000 sheep are killed by pet dogs every year. The cost of this – in terms of value of sheep, veterinary management, disposal of bodies and lost income (loss of lambs) – is estimated to be more than £2 million.

But there is also the emotional cost – it is distressing for farmers to deal with any animal that has been ravaged by another. It’s also distressing – and depressing – for any vet called out to assess the damage, treat or euthanase any sheep involved.

Both of theses issues can be easily avoided. Dogs are welcome but please keep them on a lead at all times and ensure you clear any dog waste and put it in the bins provided.

 

 

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do not litter

Xrunner has a policy of ‘maximum effect for minimal impact” and the post event re-instatement of the event area is as important as the mammoth task of event creation.

Litter can be a big problem, with thousands of people defending on what was a pristine farmland location there is inevitably going to be litter. Wherever possible X-Runner uses bio degradable materials and is committed to reducing packaging.

Please take all litter home or leave it in the bins provided, the only thing you should leave behind are your footprints.

While out in the countryside remember you are in areas where people live and work.

Xrunner’s roots are firmly planted in the heart of the British countryside and we care about minimising the impact, it is safe to say that if you take part in an Xrunner event then you are an environmentally responsible obstacle mud runner!

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