Richard Allen - Hard As Oak

After graduating from the University of Ulster with a degree in Sports Exercise and Leisure Richard travelled the world before returning in 2006  to his run his family farm . Instead of the traditional farming his family had done for the past 100 years Richard diversified the business and began Oakfire Adventures a multi activity Outdoor Centre in Faughan Valley closed to Derry- Londonderry.

The highlight in Richard’s Adventure centre is  Hard as Oak – a 10km 50 obstacle course challenge he built on his farmland . Even better he has teamed up with Children in Crossfire do two amazing days in June. We met up with Richard  today to find out more about this unique challenge.

  • What inspired you to set up Hard as Oak

We wanted to create a challenge to showcase the amazing terrain that we are lucky to have. I have been to many other ‘obstacle course races’ and when participating I thought we can do this. We were always blessed with stunning woodlands and rivers in the Faughan Valley and never really knew how we could get people to enjoy it, until now.

  • The banners say Hard as Oak is the Hardest! Explain

We are the hardest as we have the highest jump, the longest slide and the most obstacles. After counting our obstacles we were well over the 60 mark so you had better be ready.

  • What’s your favourite obstacle?

My favourite obstacle is the ‘Slip’n’slide’ , we had some fun building it and must say it is really good. It is approx. 30m in length and you absolutely fly down it, this year we are adding something extra so watch this space.

  • I believe there’s a brand new obstacle being created. What’s this all about?

We are running a competition where participants can share their favourite obstacles and if their entry is chosen they get two free tickets and the obstacle built.

  • Lots of people keep asking how fit they need to be . What’s your advice to prepare for it.

We get people who are all shapes and sizes, all different levels of fitness but as this is not a timed event you can go as fast or slow as you want. We are all about having fun and getting muddy, you do it your way. There are many ways to prepare, from circuits, running, cycling, weights, playing sports, and boot camps, basically be active and get busy.

  • Is it true there’s warm water to shower off the mud at the end?

Ohh yeah, I would say more of a wash down area than showers as they are open air, mixed and most importantly warm. Get yourself cleaned down and changed into dry cloths and head to the festival area for music, warm drinks, fire, gourmet street food from our very own Pykes’n’Pommes and beer cabin by the Walled City Brewery.

  • Let’s hear about at the end! What’s all the noise about The Après mud Party

After the event, participants, spectators, families and friends are invited to attend our Apres Mud Party in the award winning Walled City Brewery. You can sign up via our website and for £10 you get a locally brewed craft beer, chips and gourmet burger. There will be music, beer and some games on the night so be prepared for some serious craic. Numbers are limited so get in early to avoid disappointment.